Bibi Bourelly Frees the Real with New Video For “Sally”

Photograph by Ryan Jay

Yesterday, singer-songwriter Bibi Bourelly released her new video for “Sally,” the latest single off her forthcoming EP, FREE THE REAL.

The video, directed by Sebastian Sdaigui and edited by Nathan Smith showcases Bourelly and her fellow “Sally’s” (a term that applies to anyone who has “freed themselves of hate, fear, and are comfortable in their own skin”), as they emancipate themselves from society’s falsely prescribed constraints and basically anything that isn’t badass.

Those Sally’s include the likes of UK rapper Little Simz, Orange is the New Black actress Jackie Cruz, social media star Larsen Thompson, as well as various other burgeoning arts and culture figureheads. The video’s most notable Sally’s, however, are also perhaps the least recognizable—members of LA’s “Break It to Make It” program, a laudable joint effort launched by Los Angeles City College and The Strindberg Laboratory that aims to reduce recidivism of formerly incarcerated individuals by “build[ing] bridges between educational institutions, criminal justice agencies, and community-based organizations.”

Bourelly’s name may ring bells to some, as the 21-year-old crooner and Def Jam Recordings signee made news this time last year as the mastermind writer behind major hits like Rihanna’s “Better Have My Money” and “Higher.”

Not long after tearing down stages at this year’s SXSW festival, the breakout star made her debut television appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I got a chance to shoot the singer out in Austin, where a troupe of Sally’s trailed the sassy songstress, passing out Bibi bubblegum wherever she went—a move that screamed Spice Girls circa 1997.

But there’s nothing bubblegum about Bourelly. Just when we thought there was no room for that old soul sound in a pop world, Bourelly strikes hard, bellowing impassioned, bluesy lyrics and catchy hooks reminiscent of those times we didn’t even know we were missing.  

Though Bibi Bourelly has already proven herself as a bonafide hit-maker for others, it’s now her turn to take the stage. 

Watch “Sally” bellow.

Alex Oka