12 Jan 2017

Parris Goebel and Elton John on a talent search

From RNZ Music, 2:58 pm on 12 January 2017

New Zealand choreographer Parris Goebel is teaming up with Elton John to find the next star music video director.

Parris Goebel

Parris Goebel Photo: Screenshot / YouTube

The British pop star has selected the 25-year-old to be on the judging panel for The Cut, a YouTube competition and talent search for music video directors.

“Elton John is basically running a really big competition and inviting any creative to create something for his most classic songs," she said.

“It could be a director, a choreographer or a dance team or even a painter. Whatever it is, you can submit a video set to his music and I was chosen to be a part of the judging panel. It’s pretty big.”

Goebel has worked with some of the world’s biggest pop stars, including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande. The video she directed for Justin Bieber's 'Sorry' won the MTV Award for Video of the Year and has been viewed more than two billion times on YouTube. 

She started her own hip-hop dance company, The Palace, when she was 18 and her dance crews have won 18 medals at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships. 

Goebel said she was specifically interested in Sir Elton's ‘Bennie and the Jets’ and would be looking specifically for the freshest and most unique dance video. However, the most important thing was to find someone who could make art that was timeless, she said.

For a young New Zealander who has achieved so much already, this could be viewed as merely another feather in an already well-plumed cap - and Goebel, in her typically grounded style, was keeping her focus firmly forward. 

“You can always top yourself. I feel like there are so many things we can do in our lives.

“It’s about you outdoing yourself. It might not necessarily be in such a big glossy way, it can definitely be a smaller more personal thing. So I definitely have my own personal goals, and sometimes no one else will ever know them, it may just be between me and myself.”

That, though, was not the same as having modest dreams.

“I want to do a movie, I want to do a hip hop inspired Broadway show. I want to write a book. Hopefully I’ll have my first album out this year. I’d also love to do my own fashion line; that would be really good, I think. I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to tick off a list. I’ve got a lot of work to do.” 

Parris Goebel features on RNZ Music’s Mixtape on Saturday.