- Written by Gillian Smith
- Published: 03 April 2014
It’s not every day that two high school students decide to produce an entire music video, but that’s just what Iva Briggs and Dalton Letorney did, and it’s turned into an internet success.
Briggs and Letorney first met through their music les- sons at South Shore Conser- vatory, where they have the same vocal teacher. After spending time together at Conservatory functions and playing together at an open mic night, the two became friends and shared their passion for music.
After hearing Letorney’s cover of One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” Briggs got in touch with him, and suggested they pair up for a cover of A Great Big World’s “Say Something” duet with Christina Aguilera.
“It was one of the most fun things I have ever done in my entire life,” Briggs said.
While it was Briggs’ first time ever recording her voice, it was business as usual for Letorney, who performs as a duo with his younger brother, Dylan. The production process for the video was quite extensive, Letorney said, as he had to first arrange the music, transposing the well-known song to better fit his and Briggs’ voices.
“I play piano by ear, so I had to listen to the original song and figure out what ar- rangement of the music would be more interesting,” Letorney said.
Once he had the arrangement all set, Letorney had Briggs come over to record her portion of the duet. Without rehearsing, Briggs spent an hour recording the audio and Letorney then took over the mastering and editing of the piece, adding in violins and other instruments to make the piece sound more “full.”
“Overall, I’d say I spent about 40 hours mixing and mastering the audio,” Letorney said. “The audio has to be perfect before we can begin shooting the video.”
With the audio perfected, the pair got together with Letor- ney’s parents, who filmed and directed the music video. With no professional experience to er and my dad is good with gadgets, so it works well,” Letor- ney said.
Letorney and Briggs spent about six or seven hours filming for the music video, lip-syncing the song multiple times in different locations on Duxbury Beach.
“It was very new to me; I had never acted on video be- fore,” Briggs said.
Part of the learning curve for Briggs was figuring out how to maintain a level of seriousness throughout the entire video, as the song is a somber, break up song.
“It took us probably twice the amount of time as usual be- cause we spent half of it laughing,” she said. “It was really hard to get into a serious face because we were having so much fun.”
Briggs said the entire process was much less stressful and difficult than she had anticipated. After completing the video, she said its something she’d like to pursue in the future. As a sophomore at Dux- bury High School, Briggs has participated in productions of West Side Story and Candide, among others, both on stage and back stage.
“It’s my escape from the real world,” she said. “I’d love to sing and act for the rest of my life.”
Once finished, the video was posted to Youtube and garnered several hits as Letor- ney’s and Briggs’ family and friends passed it around on social media. As of Tuesday morning, the video had nearly 2,000 views.
“We are over the moon about the success of the video,” Briggs said.
Letorney, a freshman at Milton Academy, said producing the music video was a lot of fun. He and his brother Dylan have done several videos and projects together.
“I love the benefit of having a brother that shares the same interests and talents as I do,” he said. “The things we can produce together are much better than what I could do alone.”
As he and his brother look forward to making another vid- eo, possibly a cover for a Bruno Mars song, there are a couple things he learned from his ex- perience with Briggs that he will use in the future.
“Sometimes I felt like the video was distracting from the vocals, so next time I think we will focus on a simpler video,” he said. “I’d like the music video to showcase how majestic the vocals are.”
Letorney said he “had a blast” working with Briggs and looks forward to working together again.