Interview: Carly Simon Exclusive “You’re So Vain” Music Video Interview.
by Michael Menachem
“’You’re So Vain.’ I think it’s a hit!” exclaimed Carly Simon. The singer received a response of laughs and cheers at Chelsea’s 1 Oak nightclub Thursday night (April 30) among an intimate crowd of fans and industry executives celebrating the first-ever video for the early 70s classic at the 9th Annual Tribeca Film Festival. Filmmaker Brett Bisogno was awarded a $10,000 check from Carly Simon, Iris Records, Tribeca Film Festival and AOL, honoring his winning music video for what is arguably the legendary singer-songwriter’s most iconic anthem.
A glowing Carly Simon welcomed the attendees, channeling her past in an elegant boho-chic dress with metallic boots and thanked Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal for receiving the music video competition so enthusiastically for “You’re So Vain.” Rosenthal addressed the audience briefly and Simon took the stage with her son Ben Taylor for a cover of the blues song “She Caught The KT.” Later, Simon introduced guitarist David Saw prior to a group of musicians playing his tune “Buy My Record,” a bouncy, bluesy, folk-rock song.
John Forte, known for his production and songwriting with The Fugees got on stage for the lively call-and-response song “Dirty” which he wrote with Taylor and performed together with Simon as the audience sang along chanting “dirty” throughout. Later Forte dedicated “More Beautiful Now” which he wrote for Simon and they sang together; it was a refreshing turn for the former rapper who has evolved into a seasoned blues and folk singer-songwriter. Simon also shared some nostalgia with “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” a song she recorded as one half of the Simon Sisters and sister Lucy joined her on stage, full of joy and giving one another a loving glance.
Brett Bisogno was announced as the winner of the music video competition during a brief pause from the live music. “Brett Bisogno made the video that makes me laugh and will continue to make me laugh forever,” said Simon. In the video, shot in the Columbia University vicinity, a disguised Blues Brothers-like Bisogno dances mischievously, sits on a park bench in a slouch and even makes his way to a house where he grabs a freshly baked pie through an open window sill. Carly Simon is seen throughout in mostly black with a gold kimono and fingerless leather gloves with her signature hat look, dancing, smiling and rejoicing as the song’s upbeat, clever lyrics tell the story that has charmed and baffled listeners for decades.
Part of the appeal of “You’re So Vain” is the mystery and confusion that has caused an on-going national and international stir with rumors spreading for years about the mystery man for whom the tune is criticizing. Rumors of possible subjects Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger and David Geffen were hypothesized, but Simon herself told Howard Stern privately in 2008 that it was a combination of three people. The single from Simon’s “No Secrets” album is surprisingly her first and only #1 released in 1972 and gained worldwide attention in 1973, topping the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the Adult Contemporary chart, a feat that seldom occurs in today’s rhythmic-heavy pop music landscape.
Following the event, Bisogno shared “Hanging out with Carly and getting to talk with her and hearing that she liked the video was the best part. It was a lot of fun talking with the other contestants. It gives me a little more exposure than I would normally have. It’s only going to help me. It’s great.” Based in Brooklyn, Bisogno has been creating short films and comedy skits for a while as well as working on performance pieces with comedy troupe Voodoowop with plenty of content available on YouTube. The director and star of Simon’s “You’re So Vain” music video had about two weeks to complete his entry and it was shot around Columbia University and at Morningside Park.
After the ceremony, Simon joked about the fake, life-size check and said “Now you can leave Brett.” Simon had given personalized letters to each of the five finalists as well as vinyl, pictures, bracelets and other heirlooms in a suitcase covered in letters to Bisogno. The “You’re So Vain” video played for the audience on large screens and was received with a lively response. Simon also thanked the director of the green screen footage, Patrik Andersson, whose work was edited by Bravo Media and used as an overlay for the final video.
Simon said, “Anyone who wants to get up on stage who feels confident can come up and sing,” and about 20 fans swayed in unison with Carly Simon and the other musicians thirty-seven years after her inspired hit.
Among the finalists were Georgia Hilton, Peppino Ciraci & Daniele Marzano, Stuart Archer, and Sam Griffith & Andrew Carlberg. Buffie Dupuis’ entry was the most viewed video. Carly Simon most recently released her 25th studio album “Never Been Gone” in October and she is slated to perform three dates this summer at Lilith Fair in New York, Hartford and Boston.