Listen to Donna's music here: http://www.donnamissal.com
Donna Missal is an up and coming bi-coastal recording artist voice and style Billboard Magazine has compared to Lana Del Rey, Brittany Howard, and Janis Joplin. I had the pleasure of driving with her to Long Island and photographing her with stylist Michelle Sylvester, Makeup Artist Alyne Halvajian ( http://aworldofillusion.com), and hair stylist Erica Zimmerman. (http://pinmeuphair). Read about Donna, the shoot, and my history working with her.
I met Donna a few years ago when Denny Balmaceda recruited her to be featured in a fashion editorial that he and I produced for Cadillac. The images featured the two in some sort of romantic encounter in the wintery wastelands of northern New Jersey. They are beautiful and sad which in hindsight is where Donna's music resides. http://dennybalmaceda.blogspot.com/2015/01/denny-x-cadillac-x-project-blogger.html
It crept into my mind that I'd seen and heard her before. Two or three years earlier, on a particularly dark and musky night in the basement of the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, Rocky Catonese had invited her onto the stage to sing with him. Even then her rich, disciplined vocal style stood out, as did her pouted lips and bashful eyes. It all had apparently left an impression.
In 2015, I moved my office/studio to the Tenmarc building and the first thing I shot there was a video for Donna. She had recorded a re-imagined rock and roll version of the 2015 Drake smash hit song 'Hot Line Bling' and asked if I'd shoot a concept video as a vehicle for the songs circulation. We spent basically the whole night playing the song on repeat as she danced on around the studio spot lit with various colors. It annoyed my new neighbors but I really appreciate the way it came out.
Donna's everyday personal style is actually pretty relaxed. She usually dons jeans, t-shirts, and oversized sweatshirts for but for this shoot we asked her to step outside of that comfort zone. In the end everyone on set added something. Consistent with the retro location (which is hairstylist Erica Zimmerman's amazing house) we wanted Donna to be herself but in another time and place. Erica's setlist was all soul, garage rock, and of course some prerequisite 70's horror punk. Donna tapped into the whole thing perfectly. The resulting images effectively exploit Donnas natural beauty as she becomes someone else, yet it all reflects the melancholy energy in her music.