Posted on by Penny L. Sampson

“My vision for the video was to create a mirror between a young, crazy-talented, bold little girl, and link that burgeoning energy to a band of warrior women who have achieved their goal of turning their young talents into something very real and powerful as working musicians and performers,” Tunstall said of the video in a statement ~ Rolling Stone

Eccaia Sampson - Sempai Pink-E

May 26th 2018 started off just like any other competition day. The Gi’s had already been pressed and neatly packed, while the nunchucks, speaker and phone were charged and placed in their familiar position by the front door. All completed the night before.

One of the many time and sanity saving routines you afford your self when your child competes in martial arts. I imagine it to be the same for many sports. We woke that morning at 6am to ensure we were on the road, heading to the tournament by 7:30am. Everything was the same as it had been countless times before. What came next, we could never have imagined.

That evening after returning home, we sent a message to Eccaia’s Father, including the video of her performances for the day.

To explain, her Father works with BNL (Barenaked Ladies) as a Backline Technician and by the nature of the job, he is rarely home. So, in order for him to stay current with her martial arts career, sending videos is the answer.

On this particular day, as he sat watching the video of Eccaia performing, KT Tunstall happened to walk past and took notice.

  • Now, we are huge KT Tunstall fans, however were unaware that she was on tour with BNL at the time. Tours are what they are and to be frank, you stop paying attention to who is on tour with whom after a while. Some may see that as odd but, it is the nature of the beast so to speak.

They discussed the fact that this was his Daughter and he gave her some detail about the fact that she had earned her blackbelt just after turning 8 years old, that she had earned a spot on WKC Team Canada at the age of 6, had performed live onstage with the Barenaked Ladies in 2017 and more.

The following day I received the most heartwarming and inspirational video acknowledgement from KT to Eccaia.

Eccaia lit up, grinning from ear to ear in her humble human way. You see, Eccaia loves to speak up for other people. She loves to support others in need of encouragement and is the first to take a stand when she sees something that she believes in not right or just. She doesn’t however, enjoy the spotlight being shone upon her.

She’s worked very hard to get where she is thus far. Her drive and determination to prove “the doubters” wrong has motivated her during her challenging days. The days when you feel like you’ll just never get it right but, she has never done any of it for the spotlight. Simply to prove that she could and show other girls that they’re truly no limits to what you can achieve if you want it enough.

A few days later, I received a text message from her Father asking if Eccaia would ‘potentially’ be interested in being in a music video with KT. Of course I asked her immediately - I was excited for her and her response was “sure”. No overexcitement, no off the rails exuberance just, a definitive matter of fact ’sure’.

I laughed.

The next step would be getting the “ok” from the record company and so, we put it out of our minds.

Over the next few months we focused our time on planning The #PLEDGEPINK Project™ and prepping for WKC Worlds Ireland.

As summer was upon us, we had more than enough keeping us busy and then…

Thursday - two days before we were leaving for a week up at the cottage (we needed a break) we received word that the record company had said yes to Eccaia being in the video and they were wanting to know if they could fly in to film the following Sunday-Monday.

Wowza was my first thought. That was going to be fast and meant that E was going to have to learn the lyrics (she was asked to lip-sync for the video) and the music plus, create a combination that worked for the piece in a week. All while we were at the cottage.

No problem. She was up for the challenge. To be clear, E really had no idea what was in store for her or what was involved in shooting a video but, in true Eccaia fashion…was simply going to roll with it.

The next day we received the audio and lyric sheet which I loaded to her ‘music phone’ (used in competition) and we set a plan. The plan was…

  • listen to the music on the way up to the cottage
  • follow along with the lyrics
  • lean in and get it done + have a whole lotta fun!

And that is precisely what we did. On the way up to the cottage she listened and learned. She processed the ebb and flow of the piece and planned her performance in her mind.

Come Monday, she was ready to give it a go. I set the music and video to record and she worked her magic.

Upon arriving home from the cottage, at 3pm on Saturday I was told that Alex (manager and producer) and Matt (videographer) would be stopping by around 8pm that evening in order to set a plan for the following two days of filming and so they did.

The following morning we were on the road at 8:30am. All five of us - plus all the equipment, were packed into the car and ready to make some martial art movie magic happen.

The first day, the primary filming took place at Sifu Julian Shamuon’s dojo - Hotshot Martial Arts in Cambridge, On. The aesthetic and atmosphere was perfect and for five hours that morning Eccaia pushed herself. Run after run. Makeup and hair. Then do it all again. Costume change and again. The exhaustion that was featured at the end of the #HumanBeing video is raw and real. She was working for it.

From there we travelled to the Cambridge Mill and wrapped up the day around 8:30 pm. The following day we were back at it bright and early with the majority of the footage being filmed in the downtown London, On. core and on top of City Hall. Our deepest gratitude to those who gave us access.

Once all filming was complete, we stopped for a quick bite. Alex and Matt then headed back to Toronto and from there, onto the UK. We went back to life as usual, falling back into training routines, private lessons, tournaments and daily life. Focus swiftly switched back to finalizing details for the launch of The #PLEDGEPINK Project™ and ensuring that she was ready for WKC Worlds in November.

Fast forward to early October and we were sent access to pre-screen the #HumanBeing video. There were shivers, and happy tears - that was me…lol…while Eccaia watched once, gave it a thumbs up and then was content not to watch again. That humble core once again presenting.

We were given tentative confirmation that Human Being would be release around November 1st. That meant, it would be released while we were in Ireland for WKC Worlds. Relief is an understatement when I tell you that the first came and went, with no video release. Then the second, the third…nothing. I was relieved for a number of reasons, primarily because I feared that the release might overshadow or add undue stress to the already intense experience this level of competition brings.

Add to that, the fact that we were spending an extra few days with her older Sister Morganna exploring the Southern tip of Ireland, before Morganna set off for a year long backpacking trip to New Zealand…you can imagine the emotions that were already present. The lack of release meant that we had the opportunity to remain present and simply enjoy each other in that moment.

We made the long journey home on November 7th and then…November 8th NYLON ran KT’s exclusive and Human Being went live! What a whirlwind of emotion that moment was. Pride for KT and her all-girl band. They were incredible. The spectacular write up that detailed her concept for the video and why she chose Eccaia. It was all so much to take in.

The following day, I received a text message from her Father. KT, Human Being and therefore Eccaia had made it into Rolling Stone! My mind immediately began to race and for a moment I stopped breathing. Rolling Stone! What?! I yelled over to E while she was getting dressed for bed. Her response…cool. It was hysterical and typical of her.

Since the release we have had the opportunity to be interviewed for CTV London and CBC London Morning where Eccaia has been provided platforms conducive to overcoming a bit of her resistance in the area of personal life talk. There is no ego in this pint size powerhouse. She simply is what she is - according to her and wishes to use that to inspire other girls and women around the world. That is her #1 goal!

As she puts it, together we will forge a new feminine normal and create an empowered future for girls globally!

“My vision for the video was to create a mirror between a young, crazy-talented, bold little girl, and link that burgeoning energy to a band of warrior women who have achieved their goal of turning their young talents into something very real and powerful as working musicians and performers,” Tunstall said of the video in a statement ~ Rolling Stone

Eccaia Sampson - Sempai Pink-E

May 26th 2018 started off just like any other competition day. The Gi’s had already been pressed and neatly packed, while the nunchucks, speaker and phone were charged and placed in their familiar position by the front door. All completed the night before.

One of the many time and sanity saving routines you afford your self when your child competes in martial arts. I imagine it to be the same for many sports. We woke that morning at 6am to ensure we were on the road, heading to the tournament by 7:30am. Everything was the same as it had been countless times before. What came next, we could never have imagined.

That evening after returning home, we sent a message to Eccaia’s Father, including the video of her performances for the day.

To explain, her Father works with BNL (Barenaked Ladies) as a Backline Technician and by the nature of the job, he is rarely home. So, in order for him to stay current with her martial arts career, sending videos is the answer.

On this particular day, as he sat watching the video of Eccaia performing, KT Tunstall happened to walk past and took notice.

  • Now, we are huge KT Tunstall fans, however were unaware that she was on tour with BNL at the time. Tours are what they are and to be frank, you stop paying attention to who is on tour with whom after a while. Some may see that as odd but, it is the nature of the beast so to speak.

They discussed the fact that this was his Daughter and he gave her some detail about the fact that she had earned her blackbelt just after turning 8 years old, that she had earned a spot on WKC Team Canada at the age of 6, had performed live onstage with the Barenaked Ladies in 2017 and more.

The following day I received the most heartwarming and inspirational video acknowledgement from KT to Eccaia.

Eccaia lit up, grinning from ear to ear in her humble human way. You see, Eccaia loves to speak up for other people. She loves to support others in need of encouragement and is the first to take a stand when she sees something that she believes in not right or just. She doesn’t however, enjoy the spotlight being shone upon her.

She’s worked very hard to get where she is thus far. Her drive and determination to prove “the doubters” wrong has motivated her during her challenging days. The days when you feel like you’ll just never get it right but, she has never done any of it for the spotlight. Simply to prove that she could and show other girls that they’re truly no limits to what you can achieve if you want it enough.

A few days later, I received a text message from her Father asking if Eccaia would ‘potentially’ be interested in being in a music video with KT. Of course I asked her immediately - I was excited for her and her response was “sure”. No overexcitement, no off the rails exuberance just, a definitive matter of fact ’sure’.

I laughed.

The next step would be getting the “ok” from the record company and so, we put it out of our minds.

Over the next few months we focused our time on planning The #PLEDGEPINK Project™ and prepping for WKC Worlds Ireland.

As summer was upon us, we had more than enough keeping us busy and then…

Thursday - two days before we were leaving for a week up at the cottage (we needed a break) we received word that the record company had said yes to Eccaia being in the video and they were wanting to know if they could fly in to film the following Sunday-Monday.

Wowza was my first thought. That was going to be fast and meant that E was going to have to learn the lyrics (she was asked to lip-sync for the video) and the music plus, create a combination that worked for the piece in a week. All while we were at the cottage.

No problem. She was up for the challenge. To be clear, E really had no idea what was in store for her or what was involved in shooting a video but, in true Eccaia fashion…was simply going to roll with it.

The next day we received the audio and lyric sheet which I loaded to her ‘music phone’ (used in competition) and we set a plan. The plan was…

  • listen to the music on the way up to the cottage
  • follow along with the lyrics
  • lean in and get it done + have a whole lotta fun!

And that is precisely what we did. On the way up to the cottage she listened and learned. She processed the ebb and flow of the piece and planned her performance in her mind.

Come Monday, she was ready to give it a go. I set the music and video to record and she worked her magic.

Upon arriving home from the cottage, at 3pm on Saturday I was told that Alex (manager and producer) and Matt (videographer) would be stopping by around 8pm that evening in order to set a plan for the following two days of filming and so they did.

The following morning we were on the road at 8:30am. All five of us - plus all the equipment, were packed into the car and ready to make some martial art movie magic happen.

The first day, the primary filming took place at Sifu Julian Shamuon’s dojo - Hotshot Martial Arts in Cambridge, On. The aesthetic and atmosphere was perfect and for five hours that morning Eccaia pushed herself. Run after run. Makeup and hair. Then do it all again. Costume change and again. The exhaustion that was featured at the end of the #HumanBeing video is raw and real. She was working for it.

From there we travelled to the Cambridge Mill and wrapped up the day around 8:30 pm. The following day we were back at it bright and early with the majority of the footage being filmed in the downtown London, On. core and on top of City Hall. Our deepest gratitude to those who gave us access.

Once all filming was complete, we stopped for a quick bite. Alex and Matt then headed back to Toronto and from there, onto the UK. We went back to life as usual, falling back into training routines, private lessons, tournaments and daily life. Focus swiftly switched back to finalizing details for the launch of The #PLEDGEPINK Project™ and ensuring that she was ready for WKC Worlds in November.

Fast forward to early October and we were sent access to pre-screen the #HumanBeing video. There were shivers, and happy tears - that was me…lol…while Eccaia watched once, gave it a thumbs up and then was content not to watch again. That humble core once again presenting.

We were given tentative confirmation that Human Being would be release around November 1st. That meant, it would be released while we were in Ireland for WKC Worlds. Relief is an understatement when I tell you that the first came and went, with no video release. Then the second, the third…nothing. I was relieved for a number of reasons, primarily because I feared that the release might overshadow or add undue stress to the already intense experience this level of competition brings.

Add to that, the fact that we were spending an extra few days with her older Sister Morganna exploring the Southern tip of Ireland, before Morganna set off for a year long backpacking trip to New Zealand…you can imagine the emotions that were already present. The lack of release meant that we had the opportunity to remain present and simply enjoy each other in that moment.

We made the long journey home on November 7th and then…November 8th NYLON ran KT’s exclusive and Human Being went live! What a whirlwind of emotion that moment was. Pride for KT and her all-girl band. They were incredible. The spectacular write up that detailed her concept for the video and why she chose Eccaia. It was all so much to take in.

The following day, I received a text message from her Father. KT, Human Being and therefore Eccaia had made it into Rolling Stone! My mind immediately began to race and for a moment I stopped breathing. Rolling Stone! What?! I yelled over to E while she was getting dressed for bed. Her response…cool. It was hysterical and typical of her.

Since the release we have had the opportunity to be interviewed for CTV London and CBC London Morning where Eccaia has been provided platforms conducive to overcoming a bit of her resistance in the area of personal life talk. There is no ego in this pint size powerhouse. She simply is what she is - according to her and wishes to use that to inspire other girls and women around the world. That is her #1 goal!

As she puts it, together we will forge a new feminine normal and create an empowered future for girls globally!