VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘Dawn’ by Laura Boswell

DUALITY OF NATURE: Though Laura Boswell notes “you feel like you’re on Mars” while atop Haleakalā National Park in Maui, where the video for her song "Dawn" was shot, visitors are also literally in and above the clouds. Photo by Melanie Eugenie Nunnink

When you hit “play” on a Laura Boswell video, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some stunning environmental scenery.

“Nature and the human experience are where nearly all of my inspiration comes from as an artist. The outdoors are where I feel most inspired, at home and in my body, so I think it always feels natural to me to film in outdoor locations,” Boswell says. “Maybe one day I’ll storyboard and have more of a theatrical concept for a music video. But being outside and letting the unexpected, serendipitous elements of weather and the natural landscape dictate and guide the process feels best to me.”

That commitment holds true for the Asheville-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s latest work, “Dawn.” Filmed in January while Boswell was visiting family and friends in Maui — where she lived for nearly three years before returning to the mainland U.S. in 2018 — the visuals find her atop Haleakalā National Park, a frequent destination during her Hawaiian days. Though she notes “you feel like you’re on Mars” while up there, visitors are also literally in and above the clouds.

“There’s something very profound, surreal and powerful about traveling [Haleakalā Highway] from the ocean to 10,000 feet in elevation in less than two hours,” she says. “It’s a magnetic place with immense cultural and spiritual significance and an incredibly unique, fragile ecosystem that is home to plants and animals that live nowhere else on Earth.”

Boswell adds that she and cinematographer/co-director Melanie Eugenie Nunnink both feel deeply connected to Haleakalā. The name means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian — a fitting place to shoot a video for a song called “Dawn,” an event governed by that same celestial orb.

Though the national park was not affected by the summer’s deadly wildfires, Boswell was shaken up by the blazes and felt called to action. In late August, she organized a benefit concert at The Grey Eagle featuring 12 musical acts and a silent auction of donated artwork and services.

“We raised over $4,000 in one night and funds went to a non-profit called Chef Hui that has been cooking meals and feeding those displaced and affected by the fires,” Boswell says. “I was humbled by the outpouring of support from our community.”


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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