I recently had the pleasure of traveling to India this past March. I have to say, I fell in love. The people of India are so kind and warm that they make you feel like you are surrounded by family. I hired Alexandre Suplicy from Sao Paulo, Brazil to accompany me to India to film two music videos for my upcoming debut solo record titled “Extraordinary World”.
Filming in India
Here are a few notes about filming in India. First, even if you get permits and permission from the local police or blessings from the Indian Gods themselves, you will have to dig into your pockets at times to not be shut down by neighboring shop owners and security guards.
Secondly, you have one take to get your shots. Things change every minute in India, the weather can shift, or an empty street can become overpopulated in minutes. Thirdly, expect your plans to change and be open to adapting. Finally, If you want to film with a drone in rural areas be wise, be cautious and be ready to put some green in some palms.
Why I Chose India
I chose India for many reasons. India is known for its yearly Holi Festival. It’s an amazing celebration of life that is full of color and vibrance resonating throughout the country.
I wanted to film in locations that were majestic and breathtaking. I knew that locations like the Taj Mahal and Hawa Mahal would live up to my expectations, but I never imagined that everywhere I turned I would find something else worth filming. (note: filming in the Taj is completely prohibited, so I recommend the DJI handheld Osmo Pocket video camera to get some quick shots)
I decided to film “Dirty Your Soul” during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan. The song is about how life is a constant struggle but to try to always maintain a positive mindset and to not ever lose hope.
I imagined singing this song to my younger self to prepare me for how life would “dirty my soul”, but to remember to welcome the challenge ahead and make the best of every situation.
Since I could not time travel, I thought that being surrounded by adorable Indian children throwing colored powder at me would be the next best alternative. We also decided to film in front of one of the most colorful temples in Vrindavan called Sri Ramanuj Mandir.
The most interesting part of the filming for this video was when I sat in the back of a Fruit and Nut Carrier and went around Old Delhi Spice Market singing and interacting with the people in the streets. You can clearly see the energy of the city and the love from the people watching the Dirty Your Soul video.
For the second video “This Majesty” we needed to film in locations that we knew would take the viewers breath away.
We had a difficult time filming in the locations for this video because some of the places we filmed were super restricted. Like the Taj Mahal and Nahargarh Fort. Filming with a drone is strictly prohibited so it took some effort to persuade security guards to turn a blind eye for 4 minutes.
The amazing thing about these two videos is that India is so large and so unique that you can barely tell they were both filmed in the same country.
We filmed in Agra, Vrindavan, Alwar, Delhi, and Jaipur(also known as the pink city). I would recommend you stay as much time as possible in Jaipur. It was by far my favorite city in India.
About the Artist: While singer/songwriter Sami Chohfi is based in Seattle, he is undeniably a modern citizen of the world.
His debut solo album, Extraordinary World, was written across six countries over the last two years. From his journeys across the globe, as a brand ambassador for the apparel and lifestyle company, Be Good to People, to tours with his band Blue Helix across his family’s native country of Brazil, Chohfi’s songwriting takes a rock upbringing and spins it with musical influences from around the world.
Blending alternative rock, folk and acoustic songwriting, Extraordinary World showcases Chohfi’s ability to inspire his listeners by transporting them into the majestic scenes he’s witnessed over the past few years, whether in Brazil, Cambodia, France, India, Kenya or The Philippines. Sami’s music videos “This Majesty” and “Dirty Your Soul” both filmed in India were recently featured on the Rolling Stone.
“With every song being born in a different part of the planet, the one thing I can tell you is we are not as different as we think,” Chohfi says. “I am constantly reminded how all people just want to fit in, be loved, and be understood. This album is a culmination of the last two years of my life and the beautiful interactions with people I have treasured.”