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Totemo Documents Her Chemotherapy in This Intimate Video for "Hits"

The rising Tel Aviv artist turns the camera on herself in this unflinching document of her illness, meanwhile "Hits" is sleek, inventive pop at its best.

Totemo is from Tel Aviv, which is interesting because her music sounds very Scandi-pop, but then there's this Eastern-Asian element to her song "Hits" thanks to what sounds like a Chinese instrument known as a guzheng or a pipa or possibly both, and some truly elegant string arrangements. Any which way "Hits" is a lush, intimate pop song. The beats are clean and assertive, like a newly sharpened cleaver hitting the chopping board, her voice delicate and equally precise.


Meanwhile the video is a raw and intimate document of Totemo's experience going through chemotherapy. You see her smiling and trying on wigs, solemn and hollow-eyed as she cuts and eventually shaves her hair; she sits stoically through hospital visits as she's pumped full of the chemicals that eventually healed her; porcelain pale with her brave face on.

"As soon as we found out, a good friend of mine started documenting everything—choosing the wig, the preliminary haircut before the inevitable shaving, the live shows we were able to hold in spite of the chemo, my time in the hospital," she explains. "I edited these moments in a chronological manner. As much as I'd like to forget, I need to remember. I have to process, and share.

"Upon completion, I felt something disturbing rising inside—a question that is always there—'What will people think'? This fear plagued my mind—a fear that they might think I was cynically using my illness to benefit myself, or that I am oversharing something very private.

"And I understood that I was actually asking myself—doubting myself—maybe I was? Maybe I'm cynically taking advantage of this terrible situation I found myself in? And then, deep and immediate, realization emerges: I have no choice. This is my tool to deal, and I'm thrilled to have it. I'm glad and proud something pretty came out of it."

We couldn't agree more. Watch below and listen to more of Totemo here.