music videos direct by musicians, poppy, japanese breakfast, waterparks, melanie martinez
[Photos via: Poppy/YouTube, Japanese Breakfast/Spotify, Waterparks/Jawn Rocha, Melanie Martinez/YouTube]

To some musicians, the aesthetic portion of their art is just as important, if not more than the music itself, in conveying their message. 

Music videos are the ultimate form of expression. Bands have truly taken music video concepts to the next level—hiding Easter eggs, raising awareness to causes or even telling their own personal history in a highly artistic way. 

Read more: 40 new artists you need to hear in April

And sometimes, artists don’t trust anyone else to get their vision across in a visual, so they put on the director’s hat themselves. And it usually results in some seriously wild videos. 

We decided to highlight 10 music videos that were directed by the musicians themselves. You can check that out below.

Japanese Breakfast – “Posing In Bondage”

Japanese Breakfast perfectly encapsulated the feeling of loneliness in the video for “Posing In Bondage,” which was directed by Michelle Zauner herself. It takes place in a grocery store and is a hauntingly accurate portrayal of unrequited love and uncertainty.

Melanie Martinez – “K-12”

Melanie Martinez really showed off her directing chops when she created an accompanying feature film to her album K-12. Martinez helmed the entire pastel-colored dream concept, which reinforced the creepy yet cute grade-school aesthetics of the project.

Billie Eilish – “everything i wanted”

Billie Eilish has only released one full-length but has already proved that she’s a full-fledged artist with huge creative ideas. At the tail end of 2019, she released “everything i wanted.” Its accompanying heartbreaking music video dropped at the top of 2020, which she directed at just 18 years old.

Waterparks – “Watch What Happens Next”

Awsten Knight made his directorial debut in this demonic video for the Waterparks track “Watch What Happens Next.” The video is complete with an alligator, secret agents and plenty of flames to fit the chaotic and high-energy track.

Halsey – “Now Or Never”

Halsey has always been known to embed huge concepts into her albums and is a driving force of the artistic vision. Back in 2017, she turned the music video for “Now Or Never” into a full-blown action film. It incorporates shootouts, creepy characters and Halsey donning a long blue wig made for the main character in any feature film.

Miley Cyrus – “Midnight Sky”

Miley Cyrus has completely embraced her rock side with her latest project, Plastic HeartsShe also sat in the director’s chair for her “Midnight Sky” music video, which is inspired by Stevie Nicks‘ “Edge Of Seventeen.” Cyrus totally embodies the ’80s aesthetic in the video that’s filled with colorful outfits and glam looks reminiscent of Madonna.

Bring Me The Horizon – “in the dark”

Oli Sykes made his directorial debut in Bring Me The Horizon‘s video for “in the dark.” The visual is totally a rip-off of sci-fi movies and highlights the cinematic qualities of the 2019 track.

Poppy – “All The Things She Said”

Poppy is truly a multi-dimensional artist who got her start on YouTube, so it’s no surprise that she’s taken on the role of director once in a while. She directed the black-and-white video for her cover of t.A.T.u.‘s “All The Things She Said” for Pride Month in 2020.

The 1975 – “People”

The 1975 are also a band that aren’t shy about incorporating huge concepts into their music in various artistic ways, including their videos. Matty Healy was one of the directors for the band’s “People” video, which features a ton of trippy visuals and close-up shots of Healy.

Thirty Seconds To Mars – “The Kill”


While the music video for “The Kill” by Thirty Seconds To Mars credits Dr. Seuss’ character Bartholomew Cubbins as its director, it’s really the alias of Jared Leto. Leto took some inspiration from The Shining in the surreal video for the track.

See more: 10 most iconic music video looks