Los Angeles-based music video director and visual artist Hannah Lux Davis has worked with some of today’s hottest acts. With a diverse range of artists under her belt, she has proven that she’s right for any genre. She's contributed to the hip-hop community working with big hitters like Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Future, and Jason Derulo. She's also lent her abilities to the pop world, making artists like Miley Cyrus, Ciara, Paris Hilton, and Cher Lloyd sparkle and shine. Known for her exciting world of color and fashion-forward styling, her involvement is seen in each one of her videos. She is heavily influenced by the world of high fashion, and her passion and attention to detail have created looks and refined the images of countless artists.
Get to know Hannah Lux Davis, one of the industry's most in-demand directors:
Take us through your day, starting from when you wake up.
My day varies depending on what I have going on at the time, and I usually don’t know my schedule more than a day or two in advance. My job consistently keeps me on my toes and while I love it, it can quickly become overwhelming. I find that maintaining a bit of a “routine” keeps me grounded, focused, and able to keep the creative juices flowing. I've become used to taking each day as it comes because it’s impossible to predict! This lack of predictability is something most of my friends outside of the industry have finally gotten used to (thank god).
Here is a typical "day in the life":
Usually I'll wake up around 8:30am to work out. That's "me" time. Once I sweat it out for an hour, I'll follow up with a nice protein shake while I get ready for my day. From there, my day forks in one of the following directions.
Treatment writing— I have a few coffee spots around me on the west side that I like to visit, depending on which stage of the treatment I am in.
Prepping a job - YAY! Prepping consists of creative meetings with my team, scouting, tech-scouting, casting, fittings, rehearsals, etc.
Post production - if I’m in post on a job I’m either editing off my laptop at home or at the office editing, giving notes on an edit (if I’m not editing the project), at a color session, or approving VFX.
Usually, these all overlap in some form or another so I’ll be doing a lot of these things at the same time.
One thing I’ve learned over the past year that helps me stay sane amidst the lack of structure is to maintain an organized living environment. When my shit is in order, my creativity flows more organically. Road blocks disappear. So, making sure I stay organized (my apartment, car, and computer!) is something I work on every single day.
Best part of your job?
The best part of my job is something I actually have to remind myself of from time to time. It’s so easy get lost in the industry bubble, especially at this stage of my career. To make a project that is received well by my peers, who I respect so much, means the world to me. But sometimes I forget these projects are made for a much broader audience. As a kid who was obsessed with music videos, and pop culture in general, I know what an impact these videos can have! I love being a part of setting trends and influencing culture.
One of the most surreal moments in my career happened quite recently. I was shopping at LF on Abbot Kinney and there was a crop top with the number 23 on it. It looked like a total replica of one of the outfits Miley wore in my “23” video. At first I didn’t think too much of it. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask what the girls at the store thought when they first saw the top. They all said “Miley in the ’23’ video!” That was pretty cool. Something I was responsible for creating had that kind of a cultural impact and it was staring me right in the face!
Another part of my job that is incredibly rewarding is collaborating with talented people. Everyone from the artist to the DP to the production designer...and even the producer who manages to put all the chaos together! Executing an idea is challenging and exciting at the same time. I love working with artists who want to be pushed and enjoy taking risks!
When did you get your big break?
My big break...haha. For so long I’ve always felt like I was on the cusp of the cusp! There have been a couple jobs specifically that I felt kind of put me on the map, or at least helped me book other work:
Cher Lloyd, “Oath”— this video was my first taste at a bit of a budget to play with and an artist who had a serious glam! It was beauty, it was pop, and I got to actually execute a full idea and felt like something with a beginning, middle and end.
Lil Wayne, “Bitches Love Me”– this was a perfect combination of things for me: a group of marquee artists, a different genre for me completely (one that not many female artists get to play with), and there was a lot of creative trust!
For both of these videos, the video commissioners (Leah Harmony for Cher Lloyd and Jeff Panzer for Lil Wayne) not only took a risk on me, but had complete faith in me as a director which allowed for my whole creative process to flow smoothly and make its way to screen. The “Bitches Love Me” video showed a side of Lil Wayne that people hadn’t seen before and it showed another side of what I could do...and people responded to it.
Who is your childhood music inspiration?
I’m a kid of the late '90s and early 2000s. I was influenced by all things pop and pop-rock. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne...they were JAM! It’s crazy that kids today can see what their favorite artists are up to whenever they want! We didn’t have Twitter and Instagram to check in on what they were wearing or what they were up to...we had to eagerly wait for their next music video!!! I’m glad I grew up when I did. I loved my MTV.
What is your high school make-out song?
My high school make-out song? HA! Probably Yellowcard or Story of the Year.
What is the most memorable video you have created and why?
The most memorable video I’ve done is...well, I wish I was being asked this a week from now because I’m shooting my biggest video yet THIS WEEK! Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj - “Bang Bang”! This video is going to be bananas. Three huge artists, two-day shoot, and tons of moving parts! Beyond stoked. I’ve also had a lot of welcomed prep time for this video, which is a luxury most music videos don’t normally have! Stayed tuned for that video because that will most likely be my most memorable.
Something I’ve done in the past that’s been incredibly memorable is probably a tie between “Bitches Love Me” and Ciara ft. Nicki Minaj - “I’m Out.” I was beyond nervous on the “Bitches Love Me” set, and I remember I was such a dork when I first met Future. My EP (and great friend) Luga Podesta was a witness to that! “Hi Future, I’m Hannah!” as I reached out to shake his hand like a total nerd. THAT video was a trip with all those heavy hitters. For Ciara it was my first experience really COLLABORATING with a big artist. She knew what she wanted and she knew it was my job to execute it. She was incredibly hardworking and passionate and it was really cool to watch and WORK with someone of her talent level. Funny story, she came by the “Bitches Love Me” shoot to cheer on her boyfriend at the time, Future. Glad she made time, haha! She’s probably one of the nicest, most sincere people I’ve ever met. Directing the “23” video was also quite memorable, and working with Miley the day after her infamous VMA performance was pretty crazy. She was so easy to work with and extremely professional and personable. When she met me she said she was expecting someone much older than me and thought it was pretty cool that I was a young female director doing what I was doing.
What is the craziest thing you’ve seen at a music video shoot?
The craziest thing I’ve seen at a music video shoot was probably back when I was an intern at Revolver Film Company on a Floria Sigismondi set. She was directing the Christina Aguilera “Hurt” video. (Um hellooo... Christina Aguilera + Floria Sigismondi?! I was obviously stoked.) A moment of filming that will always stick with me was when they were shooting the scene where Christina was with the elephant under the big top and everyone in their 1940s attire was cheering her on. I was so wowed by the whole setup—how perfect she and all the extras looked. Every detail was meticulously styled and curated. The scene felt incredibly magical and authentic, like I had been transported to the 1940s! It really left an impact on me—the devil is in the details.