At a diminutive five-foot-zero Kerli may be short in stature, but she is elevated of inner strength, still requiring the occasional spiritual recharging blessedly provided by her mother country Estonia’s enchanting forest. In fact, she was able to acquire timely access to a little-known, unoccupied simple home there, where with only the barest of essentials, a few sets of sweat clothes and musical instrumentation, she settled down to work on her latest releases undistracted by society’s nascent trappings.
“Diamond Hard” would be one of a small subset of tracks she would release on her third E.P. just prior to her 2019 full album Shadow Works, each track decidedly different, edgier if darker expressions of her exquisite inner beauty. This is not to say it was a comfortable experience for her. Kerli had spent a number of years cultivating an inner buoyancy of positivity. Only recently has she attempted to reach out to her darker self and mythologically attempt to integrate the two.
Per Kerli, “Diamond Hard is an audiovisual story about true strength and resilience. Appropriately, this is the first release for which I both produced the music and directed the video on my own, marking an important milestone in my journey as an artist.” Also sharing, “The video for ‘Diamond Hard’ is heavily influenced by the nine months [I] spent in the Estonian forest reconnecting with [my] roots and [my] native homeland’s rich culture. Filmed in the town of Loksa, the imagery within the video alludes to a battle of light vs. dark over a person’s inner spirit and pulls from Estonian folklore and mythology to tell the tale.”
For the video, Kerli wanted to integrate three close-to-heart Estonian concepts. The first, VÄGI is an earthy ancient notion of the soul to be protected and preserved, represented as the white shaman performing sacred songs and rituals. The second is the enemy of VÄGI and is portrayed as the character in black, a manifestation of another’s “evil eye” considered to be the most dangerous thing to one’s own personal power. The final depiction, that of Kerli herself in red, caught between the dark and light and transitioning to the crystal wolf, an Estonian legend similar to the werewolf. This folklore is also known as “run wolf” in which people drape themselves in wolf skin and run rampant in the wild. “I thought it was a really cool sinister epic story and to bring together these elements… where a lot of our legends come from and it’s a magical place.”
Kerli admonishes and expounds, “I think that if there’s something to like get your panties twisted about it’s definitely not a pentacle which by the way is an ancient power symbol just, you know, demonized by religion, and if your religion makes you better that’s great. I personally don’t believe in religion. I refuse to have a religion. I don’t want to define and put myself in the box this way.” “I’m pissed off that I don’t feel safe in the world. I’m pissed off that I can’t do anything about it and I just not really feeling all of these sending prayers and love and light messages right now because you know what, shit is serious and we need energy, we need a force stronger than these tyrants and terrorists and sociopaths that are running the world right now, so I hope you can tap into your craziest strength, and I’m not talking about anger because it’s like hate isn’t gonna solve anything. I’m just talking about some other crystal wolf’s mad-nobel shit fucking strength.”
Becoming “Diamond Hard” in Kerli’s own words