Walking on Air is a song performed by Kerli. It is the first official single from her debut album, Love Is Dead (2008) and the second track on the album. It was originally featured on her now out of print self-titled EP (2007). Kerli wrote the song with Lester Mendez, who also produced it. It's about "following your dreams and just going with the flow."
"Walking on Air" was featured twice on the United States dance competition So You Think You Can Dance (season 5 and season 6). The song was also featured on a season 16 episode of the U.S. dance competition series Dancing with the Stars on May 7, 2013. The song and parts of the music video were featured in a promo for the television series Fringe. It was also iTunes' "Free Single of the Week" for the week of July 21, 2008. It was downloaded more than 550,000 times during its promotion week, and is the largest "Free Single of the Week" download total in iTunes history. The song had received mixed to positive reviews from music critics who praised the storyline of the song.
The music video, directed by Alex Topaller and Dan Shapiro (the team known as "Aggressive"), debuted on May 19, 2008. As of March 29, 2012, it has remained in the iTunes Top 200 Alternative Music Video charts since its release. The video features an inverted house theme where everything is opposite of what it is supposed to normally be.
An EP containing five remixes of "Walking on Air" was released on October 14, 2008. It contains remixes by Ralphi Rosario, Armin van Buuren and Josh Harris.
Background and meaning
Kerli claims when she was younger, her mother would tell her a story: "In the black, black world there was a black, black town and in the black, black town there was a black, black house and in the black, black house there was a black, black cupboard and in the black, black cupboard there was a white box." This is the inspiration for the verse in the song.
The song, in general, is about "following your dreams and just going with the flow" and a "little creepy girl that comes from a little creepy place and she has her big dream and she loves music, but nobody believes in her." The specific details in the song, such as "cats and hats and rocking chairs" are based on Kerli childhood when she would frequently wear older hats.
Kerli had created "Book of Kerli": a book of pictures that she had collected over the years of how she wanted the video and herself in the video to appear. The music video is directed by Alex Topaller and Dan Shapiro (the team known as Aggressive). It premiered on May 19, 2008 on MTV's website.
The video beings with a man dropping off a gift box on a doorstep. After he leaves, Kerli opens the box and finds a ball-jointed doll (painted by artist Lisa Jameson aka Pepstar). After re-entering the house, Kerli turns on the TV which shows a close-up image of an eye staring around the room. She then lights a match and throws it in the fireplace when it then begins to grow lotuses. Next, she activates the ceiling fan which precedes to spin the room around as she begins to dance.
In the next scene, Kerli is in a kitchen where the walls are an open wintry forest and Kerli appears in a more sexualized black outfit. The windows are brick walls and snow is spewing out of an umbrella. She opens the oven which is an extremely cold freezer where a chicken is "roasting". She then takes the chicken and places it in the fridge which is full of flames.
Next, Kerli is now in her bedroom lying on a bed of stones when she starts to cry (although the tears come from the Moonstones under her eyes) and her tears float up and transform into butterflies. Another scene is shown where Kerli is with a bird in a cage and the bird is sitting upside down on a perch. Returning to the bedroom scene, the man has returned and appears to be on the opposite side of her mirror as he pounds on it and instructs her to join him. Next, the ball-jointed doll from before is now a full-sized woman and is controlling the strings of Kerli who is now a marionette. After the Kerli marionette sings the bridge, she is placed in a box where the puppeteer ball-jointed doll cuts the strings and the bricks in the windows are briefly shown collapsing.
In the final scene, Kerli wakes up to discover a cut string attached to her arm. She proceeds to stare at the camera which pans out to reveal Kerli is now in the gift box from before and the full-sized, ball-jointed doll is holding it rocking on a rocking chair.
Concept and creation
Kerli describes the video as being a "dark" Alice in Wonderland. The eye in the TV represents the all-seeing eye" of God. It is also part of the "inverted house" theme, where the TV is watching her rather than her watching the TV. The lotus is the only flower that is able to grow in the mud and "the thicker the mud, the more beautiful the flower is going to be". The lotuses symbolize overcoming obstacles as do the act of Kerli's tears floating off and transforming into butterflies. The wallpaper is an Estonian forest. Kerli used this because her last name, "Kõiv" means "birch" in Estonian  and because it also represents oppression.
Kerli based her "clock dress" on an image she saw on the internet and represents her love for numbers and their messy layout "pisses on the concept of time". Kerli describes her shoes as "fetish shoes".
Directors and creator of the video Alex Topaller said in an interview him and Dan Shapiro were playing around with an idea of "an inverted house, where everything is functionally and, at times, visually the polar opposite of what its expected to be". Kerli's singing face was put on the doll with CGI. The video took 3 weeks to complete.
The video features things that are the opposite of what they are expected or seem to be.
- The window is bricked in
- The wall is open and leads to a forest
- The scenery spins around rather than the ceiling fan
- The freezer is an extreme oven and the oven is an extreme freezer
- The TV is watching Kerli
- Her tears are in bubble form and floating
- There are stones in place of a mattress
- The umbrella snows instead of protection from snow
- The bird is upside down
Among other performances, in 2008 Kerli performed "Walking on Air" at the Greek Theatre on October 22 at the Scream Awards. and in 2009 at The Dome in Munich, Germany on May 22 and at the Estonian festival Õllesummer on July 19 in Tallinn.
Walking on Air was featured twice on the Fox dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. The first was during the 5th Season in a solo danced by 4th place finisher, contemporary dancer, Kayla Radomski. The second was during Vegas Week during the 6th Season when the dancers were taught a contemporary dance routine by Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels. The song was also featured on a season 16 episode of the U.S. dance competition series Dancing with the Stars on May 7, 2013. The song and parts of the music video were featured in a promo for the television series Fringe. It was also iTunes' "Free Single of the Week" for the week of July 21, 2008. It was downloaded more than 550,000 times during its promotion week and is the largest "Free Single of the Week" download total in iTunes history. The song had received mixed to positive reviews from music critics who praised the storyline of the song.
Track listings and formats
12" vinyl promo
CD single / digital download single
- Writing: Kerli Kõiv and Lester Mendez
- Mixing: Neal Pogue
- Engineering John Ewing and Joe Wohlmuth
- Strings: Sonus Quartet
- Arrangement: Lester Mendez
- Vocals: Kerli
- Direction: Dan Shapiro and Alex Topaller (duo known as "Aggressive")
- Direction of photography, gaffer, assistant: Damián Acevedo
- Writing: Alex Topaller
- Production: Alex Topaller and Jp Fox
- Executive production: Dan Shapiro and Cathy Pellow
- Production design and set decoration: Darcy C. Scanlin
- Production assistants: Parker Seaman and Benny Townsend
- Art department: Lisa Jameson (painting), Rolo Ledesma (storyboard) and Fernando Valdes (on set dresser)
- Sound mixing: Josh Harris, Ralphi Rosario, Armin van Buuren
- VFX art: Alex Topaller and Nathan Evens and Joe Gunn
- VFX composition: Dan Shapiro and Alex Topaller
- Editing: Jason Yantz
- Commissioning: Mildred Delamota
- Walking On Air: WORLD PREMIERE!. May 20, 2008. Kerli [Official Site]. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- Kerli - Kerli (CD). Discogs. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- Kerli Interview. November 15, 2007. Pop Culture Madness. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
- Kerli's WALKING ON AIR is iTunes Free Single of the Week!!. July 22, 2008. Facebook. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
- New Video: Kerli, 'Walking on Air'. MTV.com. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
- Behind the Scenes of "Walking on Air". Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
- Walking On Air (Remixes) - EP. iTunes. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
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- Kerli. July 5, 2008. StarShine Magazine. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
- 30 Seconds of Kerli. October 22, 2008. Spike. Retrieved on October 5, 2010.
- "The Dome": Die große Musikparty in der Münchner Olympiahalle. April 28, 2009. Abendzeitung. Retrieved on October 5, 2010. }
- Kerli - Walking On Air (CD). Discogs. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- Kerli - Walking On Air (Vinyl). Discogs. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- Kerli - Walking On Air (CD). Discogs. Retrieved on October 10, 2010.
- Walking On Air [Remixes] by Kerli. Napster. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.