20 Best Music Video Directors That Are Super Talented

Jul 10, 2024 6:34:40 AM

The thin line between film and music videos is becoming increasingly blurred.

And that's a wonderful development!

Fueling this revolution are some of the best music video directors from around the globe.

They are boldly pushing boundaries and venturing into experimental territories.

These visionary directors are responsible for the fusion of diverse styles we see in modern music videos.

From surprise releases to visual albums and cinematic experiences, they are the architects behind captivating visual narratives that complement the music.

In this blog, let's uncover who these visionaries are and witness the magic they create on screen.

  1. 20 Best Music Video Directors
    1. Dave Meyers
    2. Melina Matsoukas
    3. Spike Jonze
    4. Hype Williams
    5. Michel Gondry
    6. Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris
    7. Chris Cunningham
    8. Mark Romanek
    9. Director X
    10. Bafic
    11. Dan Emmerson
    12. Fleur Fortuné
    13. Matilda Finn
    14. Will Dohrn
    15. Lee Martin
    16. Daito Manabe
    17. Dexter Navy
    18. Oscar Hudson
    19. Sarah McColgan

20 Best Music Video Directors

Great music video directors elevate songs, not just illustrate them. 

They are visionaries who can bring songs to life in ways you could have never imagined.

Here are some of the most talented music directors who can breathe life into a video

1. Dave Meyers

Source: RadicalMedia

Who’s Dave Meyers for the 2000s teens?

The man who shaped their taste in pop culture!

For the music industry, his name is synonymous with the prolific creation of high-quality music videos. 

Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Dave's love for filmmaking began to deepen at just 17 while working at a local landmark cinema.

He later studied Film Production and Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University.

After this, over the past 25 years, he has directed hundreds of music videos and commercials.

He mostly works with hip-hop artists and has directed music videos for the music industry’s best and brightest from Kendrick Lamar to Taylor Swift.  

If you observe stills from Dave Meyers' videos, they could easily be mistaken for paintings. 

His cinematography is striking yet dark, often featuring recurring blues, greens, and beige tones.

Dave's talent has earned him billions of views, over 50 nominations, and numerous awards, including 2 Grammys for Best Music Video and 4 MTV awards for Video of the Year.

You can check out one of his recent music videos to understand his craft-

The video has stunning visuals.

One scene shows the rapper singing about a woman in the mirror and then we see a visual of her looking into the mirror. 

Another scene that I liked a lot showed her dancing with headless men wearing suits against a beautiful yellow grass background.

This is just a glimpse of his talent. There are many more feathers in his cap.

Here are some other notable music videos he has directed-

2. Melina Matsoukas

Source: IMDb

Her life story is as iconic as her videos—she's a math whiz turned music video icon! 

She started at NYU studying math but ended up graduating with a thesis project focused on music videos.

Talk about iconic!

In the mid-2000s, she started establishing herself as a music video director by collaborating mainly with Southern hip-hop and R&B artists.

For over a decade and a half now, Melina Matsoukas has been renowned for directing moody, swoony, and sexy music videos.

She surprises viewers by flipping an idol’s image upside down.

She is the one who can re-imagine Snoop Dogg as a keytar-wielding lounge act (“Sensual Seduction”) or transform Katy Perry into a grieving World War II widow (“Thinking of You”). 

Her vision is truly something else! 

She has directed music videos for many influential female musicians today, including Katy Perry, Rihanna, Solange, Ciara, Missy Elliott, Lady Gaga, and Lily Allen.

One of her most renowned music videos is Beyoncé's 2016 “Formation”. You can check it out here-

In this video, Melina portrays the singer as a fierce Aphrodite draped over a sinking New Orleans police car.

The visuals are so striking—they must have left you jaw-dropped and unable to look away. 

The colors are vivid, and the symbolism is stirring, making it impossible to take your eyes off the screen.

Here are some other amazing music videos Melina Matsoukas has directed-

3. Spike Jonze

Source: MUBI

What sets Spike Jonze apart as one of the best music video directors? 

Well, aside from his unique aesthetic, it's the fact that he consistently goes beyond just creating a music video for each project.

Initially, he started out as a skate and BMX photographer. 

But quickly his craft was recognized and he started directing music videos for 90’s music legends like Björk, Beastie Boys, Weezer, and The Pharcyde

He didn’t stop just there and effortlessly transitioned into also making films.

Today, he is known for his off-beat style of visual storytelling in both films and music videos.

In his videos, you often find the use of animation and puppetry in addition to digital effects and live-action 

His videos push the edge–they take the audience to places that seem off the map.

Jonze also sports a deep love for dance and you can witness this deep-etched love in his award-winning music videos.

Here’s his music video inspired by the French musical Umbrellas of Cherbourg, featuring singers and actors showing off their moves.

This music video sets a mood—it starts off with a quiet "Shhh" and a slow-paced song.

Then, suddenly the singer is dancing with different groups of people in various locations.

The scene where she dances surrounded by moving umbrellas is absolutely beautiful.

Here are some other amazing music videos from him-

4. Hype Williams

Source: Billboard

You can instantly recognize a Hype Williams music video.

His style is so unique that you can spot it from a mile away!

He started out as a graffiti artist in New York City, but later studied film at Adelphi University and worked with Classic Concept Productions in the ’80s.

After founding his film company, Filmmakers With Attitude, Hype finally had his breakthrough with Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” in 1994.

With his signature fisheye lens, neon lighting, bright colors, and explosive visuals, Hype dominated the mid-to-late '90s, creating fantastical, distorted realities in his music videos.

He truly has the power to transport viewers into a dreamlike world.

He’s what you call—a director in high demand! 

Artists love working with him. In fact, Kanye West has hired Hype to direct his videos nearly 20 times.

Check out Kanye’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” music video to see what this duo brings to the table-

This black-and-white music video was amazing. 

It transitions from a diamond mine with child workers to a modern city where a woman selects diamonds. 

One powerful scene focuses on the deep black eyes of a child in the mine.

In the last scene, Kanye jumps, his car crashes, glass shatters, and he runs away from the kids.

Experiencing these visuals is something else entirely.

This is what Hype Williams is known for—experimentation.

His use of different colors, angles, and themes like Afro-Futurism always adds an extra oomph to his music videos.

Here are some of his other works where you can experience such unmatched visuals-

Here's another interesting blog about the best music videos from the 1980s. Check it out too!

5. Michel Gondry

Source: Green Hornet Wiki

Michel Gondry is the king of indie!

Every indie film and music lover is attached to at least one of his projects if not all.

This French filmmaker has a childlike imagination.

He often draws inspiration from his dreams and memories to bring that surreal look and tangible feel to his music videos.

He takes inspiration from an idea and brings it to life exactly as envisioned. 

The best music video directors share this trait, but nobody does it quite like Michel Gondry.

In his music videos, he gradually builds a story world filled with unnatural and impossible events. 

These events are brought to life on screen through techniques like simultaneity, repetition, magnification, reduction, duplication, looping, and embedded narration. 

Many of these techniques come together in the master trope of mise en abyme, a recursive form of duplication that creates a non-linear space within the text, repeating the story world on a smaller scale.

To get a clearer picture of his craft, check his iconic music video of “Fell In Love With a Girl”-

This video is truly one of a kind.

Who would have thought you could create an entire music video using Legos?

In it, Lego figures sing, groove, and play guitar.

There's just something captivating about the way the figures move that keeps you hooked.

Here’s a list of other amazing music videos from this director-

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6. Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris


This is a unique entry in our list—the only married couple.

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ dream-like videos were scattered throughout the '90s. 

Dayton went to UCLA Film School and it is here where he met Valerie Faris. 

They became husband and wife, as well as business partners. 

They started by directing music videos for popular rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oasis, and R.E.M. 

While they didn't direct a large number of videos, the ones they did create are unforgettable.

Their videos, though simple, were high concept and left a forever imprint.

In 1996, their video for The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Tonight Tonight" won six MTV Video Music Awards. Check out this video below-

In this video, you can witness impressive elements for its time, such as characters traveling via animated spaceship, encountering aliens, meeting an underwater merman, and more.

Everything is oddly interesting in the video.

A few years after making this, the duo established Bob Industries, a production house for commercials.

They then worked with top brands like Volkswagen, Sony, Apple, ESPN, and IKEA.

Here are some of their acclaimed music videos:

Here are some of the best music videos from the 1990s, you can listen to.

7. Chris Cunningham

Source: flickr

Chris Cunningham, born in 1970, is an English music video director and artist known for his focus on visual style over storytelling.

His videos are both mesmerizing and unsettling, leaving a lasting impact on viewers.

Cunningham's approach is postmodern, rejecting traditional forms and meanings.

Before becoming a director, he worked with robotics, which influenced his ability to create surreal music videos.

He explores a range of genres from techno to electronic and ambient, showcasing his versatility and creativity in music videos.

Some of his most famous works include Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker," where he challenges norms with unconventional portrayals of women and black males.

You can check out Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" music video to understand his style-

One thing about this video—don’t watch it at night!

It’s very eerie and unsettling.

The ghost-like figure in the TV, the tiny men-faced girls, and the alien-like creature at the end not only scared the poor grandma in the video but also frightened me.

However, it’s also a work of craft worth appreciating.

If you want to check Chris Cunningham's music videos, this list will help-

Speaking of Chris's birth year, it reminded me that we've covered a detailed blog about the best music videos from the 1970s that you can groove to. Check it out!

8. Mark Romanek

Source: Wikipedia

Mark Romanek's passion for filmmaking began with a stint as a 2nd assistant director for Brian De Palma on Home Movies. 

This experience paved the way for directing features and music videos, although he later focused on screenwriting.

Ultimately, Romanek returned to directing music videos, where he excels in the medium.

He famously directed "Scream," the most expensive music video ever made, for Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.

Check out the music video here -

In this video, the black-and-white theme and various symbols effectively convey Michael Jackson's intense frustration with the media.

The song's lyrics are enhanced by smooth transitions and the use of fitting elements and actions.

Besides this music video, here are some other works by Romanek:

9. Director X

Source: Discogs

Julien Christian Lutz, known as Director X or Little X, is a director, filmmaker, and mental health advocate born on October 31, 1975, in Toronto, ON. 

Lutz began directing music videos in 1998, starting with the track "Northern Touch."

This was a collaboration featuring Vancouver hip-hop group Rascalz and Canadian artists Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust, and Checkmate. 

The song earned the Juno Award for Best Rap Recording the following year.

He has since then directed over 100 music videos for major names in hip-hop and popular music. Check out his iconic work Destiny’s Child’s “Bootylicious”-

The video features vibrant settings and eye-catching costumes, along with a troupe of backup dancers.

Visually, it must have been stunning when it was first produced.

Apart from this fantastic music video, Director X has also worked on the following videos

Beyond music videos, he has also ventured into feature films and art installations.

10. Bafic

Source: the B-SIDE

Bafic, a filmmaker and photographer based in South London, boasts a diverse portfolio spanning music and fashion.

His work delves into connecting with beings from the past and future.

It offers a fresh perspective on both familiar and unknown realms.

This approach of cultivating intimacy through deep curiosity and fearless innocence is what makes his work so genuine yet sophisticated.

With an impressive client list, he has created shorts for major brands like Nikelab, as well as for artists such as Neneh Cherry, her daughter and rising pop star Mabel, and emerging fashion designer Kiko Kostadinov.

His videos often feature split four-way screens and use fast-paced, evocative visuals to weave intimate and compelling narratives.

Watch his My Boy My Town (Mabel) music video to understand his style-

This black-and-white music video is quite artistic. 

It features the main singer standing still at the center, while blurry figures in black pass by against a white background.

The video also uses lighting effectively, with the background shifting from completely black to suddenly white at times.

Here are some other music videos from Bafic that you can check out

11. Dan Emmerson

Source: Tefl.NET

Emmerson’s works immerse viewers in northern culture and often explore social disparities in various subcultures and the impact of Instagram.

Delving deeper, you’ll find a humanistic quality in his visuals.

Yes, it exists!

It is centered around connectivity and empathy.

Music is a key element that drives his narratives.

To understand his artistry, watch this music video directed by him.

This video has a blend of modernity and nostalgia, crafting an atmosphere that is both haunting and hypnotic. 

Its scenes primarily take place in an enigmatic corridor filled with shifting light and shadow. 

The corridor appears to stretch infinitely, adding to the surreal and dreamlike quality of the video.

Here are some of his other music videos to explore-

12. Fleur Fortuné

Source: IMDb

Fleur Fortuné started her career as an art director at the Paris-based H5 graphics studio. 

As a music director, she is known for seamlessly switching between different video formats, making her work compelling to watch. 

Fortuné is an idiosyncratic filmmaker.

What’s that?

Well, it’s someone who pushes the boundaries of conventional music videos.

She shows what can be achieved when traditional rules are ignored.

To understand how she directs, watch her work in Travis Scott’s "Birds in the Trap” music video.

Here she has blended cinematic grandeur with a neo-futurist, dystopian narrative, creating quite a unique style. 

To better understand her style, go through these videos as well-

13. Matilda Finn

Source: onepointfour

Matilda Finn is a London-based director and photographer known for her visceral and visually striking work. 

Her storytelling style is cinematic, provocative, and often surreal. 

She won the Best New Director award at the 2019 UK Music Video Awards and has made a significant impact in the industry. 

Her portfolio ranges from the surreal, frenetic world of Danny Brown’s "Lost" to the tense narrative of Bicep’s "Aura." 

To understand an artist's craft, look at their art.

So, examine her music video

Who would have thought this music video would kick off with a girl vomiting, followed by a zoomed-in shot of the singer rapping from a peephole? 

The entire video is filled with bizarre scenes like boiling dollars and a man singing with a knife in hand.

Never seen storytelling like this before in the history of music videos!

Thanks to her uniqueness, Finn has directed numerous videos for high-profile artists such as The Weeknd, Jay Rock, Obongjayar, Danny Brown, Bicep, and Brodinski.

In the music industry, she is seen as a trailblazer, known for her innovative approach.

Here are some more of her works-

14. Will Dohrn

Source: The Face

Will Dohrn is a self-taught director from Bristol.

Initially, he started his career in television as a runner in a post-production house. 

Later, he joined the BBC's innovation department, where he collaborated with natural history program executives to explore innovative storytelling techniques using new technologies.

Dohrn's journey into music video directing started with Club Kuru’s "Ribbons". You can watch the music video here.

In this ethereal sequence, Will showcased his talent and translated the musician's themes into imaginative realms.

He used unconventional angles, hazy shots, and intimate portraits, all bathed in dreamy visuals. 

Despite the surreal atmosphere, Dohrn infuses his work with deeply emotional themes that resonate universally.

Here are some of his other famous music videos-

15. Lee Martin

Source: Lee Martin

Lee Martin isn't just your typical music video director—she's pushing the boundaries of what a music video can be in today's digital age. 

Instead of just directing videos, she's known for developing websites for rock 'n' roll bands.

Martin's focus is on creating immersive online experiences that tie closely with the music. 

These experiences let fans interact with the band's story in innovative ways, hinting at exciting possibilities for the future of music videos in the era of social media sharing.

Martin undertook an interesting project for Marilyn Manson that caught attention.

She sent personalized emails to 25,000 fans, each featuring an image of their own home. 

The track titled "WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE"  reflects her provocative and boundary-pushing approach to digital storytelling.

You can watch this music video here.

To better understand her style, go through these videos as well-

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16. Daito Manabe

Source: Resident Advisor

Daito Manabe, based in Tokyo, is not your average artist.

He describes himself as a "media artist, interaction designer, programmer, and DJ."

He's a multi-talented figure blending technology and creativity to—redefine the music video experience. 

Manabe is known for his work on digital projects and live installations, collaborating with artists and institutions such as Sonar, Björk, Nosaj Thing, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. 

His expertise lies in creating immersive sensory experiences that push the boundaries of what's possible in visual arts.

Using advanced tools like HTML5, he crafts visually stunning and imaginative products that transcend traditional music videos.

To understand how unique his videos are, watch this-

Right from the beginning, it's clear this video is something unique.

You'll notice small dots merging and transforming into mountains, and girls appearing mechanically and dancing along the video's edge.

Even water takes the shape of girls at times.

It's an experience that's hard to describe—you really have to see it to get it.

In this music video, Manabe introduces fresh ways for people to connect with music using technology.

Here are his other videos, you can see

17. Dexter Navy

Source: Dazed

Dexter Navy, a London native, launched his career at 18 when i-D Magazine discovered his photos on Tumblr and invited him to shoot for them regularly. 

Through i-D, he connected with musician A$AP Rocky, which proved pivotal for his career. 

Their collaborations, including the video for Rocky's "L$D," garnered Dexter acclaim.

This video earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Video and an MTV VMA for Best Editing. You can watch the video here.

This video features some incredibly trippy camera transitions. As you watch, it almost feels like you're a bit tipsy, moving through each transition.

The vibrant patterns with bursts of color are also quite eye-catching.

Overall, it's a very stylish music video.

Dexter consistently blends videography and photography in all his videos to craft captivating visuals.

Be sure to check out some of his other music videos-

18. Oscar Hudson

Source: East London Arts and Music

Oscar Hudson is known for creating some truly bizarre and captivating music videos. 

Hudson's journey began with skate videos and films for online magazines and musicians. 

He has also written and directed short films.

He has a quirky style of visualization.

He turned Young Thug's "Homie" upside-down in a trippy promo, captured Thom Yorke in an elevator for Radiohead's "Lift," and used thermal imaging in the Scottish highlands for Young Fathers' "Holy Ghost," resulting in an eerie black-and-white masterpiece. 

His music videos also carry the spirit of experimentation.

Whether it's playing with perspectives, using unconventional equipment, or pushing creative boundaries–he tries it all.

One of his standout music videos is the Alice in Wonderland-inspired video for Bonobo's "No Reason." See it here

This video is extraordinary and surreal, which has led to nearly 6 million views on YouTube.

Shot from a lower angle, it creates the illusion of seeing enormous people alongside large animated objects like tomatoes in an ordinary room.

For me, the most captivating aspect of the video is how the camera continuously enters room after room after room.

Here are some other amazing videos from this music director-

19. Sarah McColgan

Source: Canal180

Sarah McColgan creates glamorous and polished music videos infused with a modern edge. 

Her breakthrough came with the co-directed video for Charli XCX’s "Boys," which effortlessly highlighted her originality.

She has also directed videos for artists such as Miguel, David Guetta, and Tinashe, each blending high-fashion aesthetics with unexpected and quirky elements.

For example, in David Guetta and Afrojack’s "Dirty Sexy Money," the video opens with the artists wearing unsettling latex baby masks, adding moments of eccentricity to these mainstream blockbusters.

Watch this video to understand what I am talking about

Here are some other amazing music videos she has directed:


So, that wraps up our list of the top music video directors out there.

This list has shown how diverse perspectives, ideologies, styles, and stories come together in creating music videos.

Some directors are all about neon lights, explosions, and hip-hop vibes.

Others leverage their expertise in robotics to showcase innovative concepts.

Some gravitate towards eerie aesthetics, while others prefer a tranquil, surreal approach.

One thing is certain—these visionaries are continuously pushing and refining the art of music videos.

Do you know any other quirky, innovative music video directors who should be on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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