Sam Smith and Calvin Harris have seen some of the biggest hits of their respective careers come from collaborations (Smith with Disclosure on “Latch,” Harris with just about every pop star), but the two Englishmen have yet to work together. That changed in August when the pair dropped their retro dance track “Promises.”
Casting monogamy to the side and promising only one night together, Smith and Harris’ “Promises,” which was co-written by the two men and Canadian singer Jessie Reyez, now has a dance-heavy music video to go with the disco-inspired track. Paying homage to ball culture, director Emil Nava opens the video with dancers revealing what the ballroom scene and voguing has meant to them.
“You really can do anything in that world and be accepted,” says one dancer. “Be celebrated, not just accepted.”
“Growing up in the Bronx you have to carry this tough skin,” adds another dancer. “Finding Vogue, it allowed me to express myself in a way that I couldn’t express myself anywhere else.”
Smith joins in on the dancing and runway walking, as does Canadian model Winnie Harlow, who poses and struts throughout the video. Harris also appears in “Promises,” posing for the camera and keeping his expression deadpan as people dance freely around him.
Released on Tuesday, Smith posted about the video for “Promises” on his Instagram account, saying that he’s “never had so much fun shooting a music video. Felt like a normal horse meat disco Sunday night in Vauxhall haha!”
Ballroom culture was first brought to mainstream media in 1990 with the documentary Paris Is Burning and Madonna’s iconic single “Vogue” and its accompanying video. The spotlight returned to the New York dance scene once again this year, thanks to Ryan Murphy’s latest creation Pose, a fictional TV series about the creation of the ball scene in the 1980s. Now with Smith and Harris’ latest video, the often overlooked but highly influential ball scene is once again receiving its proper credit.