There’s such a lovely ebullience to Toronto-born Joanie Wolkoff’s single “The Homecoming,” which rules. Staccato beats stretch crisply below her vocal, earnest and true with a teensy level of grit to it—you could imagine the accompanying video would come full of flashing lights and neon lines to connote the futurism within its folkiness.

What we actually get, though, is a creative vision that feels special and, sorry for the word, artisanal, a document that doesn’t resort to dance-music clichés and instead attempts to convey the emotion in it. “The Homecoming” video, debuting below, is a product of a trip to Wolkoff’s present residence in Brooklyn, in which Italian artists Era Ora Ivana Gloria handcrafted a mother-lovin’ border collie mask and set her loose unto the streets. (As an admitted and totally unembarrassed megafan of SYFY’s special effects make-up competition show Face Off, you know I love this shit.) The artist duo even named the collie—Sheila the Dog Woman, played by Giulia Paradell—and documented her journey from an unhinged party populated by Wolkoff’s friends to some kind of seaside spiritual revelation, a reckoning with a Betta in a plastic bag that miraculously transforms Sheila into a mermaid.

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We’re all fuckin’ mermaids might be the positive moral of this story, but Joanie Wolkoff explains, “I think everyone knows what it is to wind up smack dab in the middle of a new situation where the onus is on you to fit in and there’s a pressing sense of having to live out a probationary term with whoever you’re building a fresh relationship with before they’ll stop looking at you like some kind of alien specimen.

“This music video’s plot follows a similar narrative challenge,” she continues. “Thought it was ok to drink face-first directly out of your soup bowl? Wrong. Thought you’d feel at home during a party full of weirdos if you were a naked half-dog, half-human? Try again. While finding acceptance can be very trial and error, look at the interesting turns we take when we come up against these impasses. It’s these situations that drive me to be my most innovative and rub my face right in my own identity until there’s no denying who I really am. I like that.” I like it too! Watch the video below. Shout out to Sheila the Dog Woman.

Wolkoff’s debut album, Without Shame, is out April 15.


Image by Jeannine Dormani