Behind the Scenes of Wiz Khalifa’s “Oh Wow” Video with Li Liu

Li Liu with Wiz Khalifa during the Oh Wow video shoot
Li Liu
Li Liu

For many of us, we feel fortunate to have a career and support ourselves and our family. For others, the desire for adventure supersedes comfort and security. Li Liu was about to graduate with a degree in environmental design and step in to the work force with her path clearly laid out before her; an idea that shook Li to her core. She wanted excitement and adventure. Fate stepped in to offer her a sharp left turn in the form of producer Satien Mehta.

Recognizing an adventurous spirit and a natural inclination to understand the workings of production design, Satien enlisted Ms. Liu to collaborate on a number of successful projects. Perhaps no production displays this more clearly than their work together in late Summer of 2021 (while most of the country was still reeling from the pandemic) than the music video by Grammy and Golden Globe nominated recording artist Wiz Khalifa’s “Oh Wow” Feat. Young Deji and Feezy. With nearly 2 million views, this lighthearted summer party atmosphere belies the tense state that so much of the US was in at the time and did so without incident.

At the risk of sounding grandiose, “Oh Wow” is inspiring with its “return to normal summer fun” attitude and appearance. It’s almost enough to make one forget that the world seemed on the brink of perpetual anxiety; that’s no small feat to achieve for production designer and art director Li Liu.

Li Liu with Wiz Khalifa during the Oh Wow video shoot
Li Liu with Wiz Khalifa during the Oh Wow video shoot

Talent recognizes talent. Wiz Khalifa wanted to co-direct “Oh Wow” with Taj Stansberry who is known for his work on music videos with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Rick Ross, Usher, Ludacris, John Legend, and more. Stansberry and producer Satien Mehta wanted to work with Li liu. Ms. Liu’s multifaceted background gives her a unique perspective in the production community and imbues all of her work with a sincerity and authenticity, making her the first choice of many producers. Though the desired atmosphere for “Oh Wow” was one of a casual carefree day with friends, manifesting this on camera required immense planning and preparation.

The story follows Taylor Gang as they spend the day at an outdoor pool party complete with bikini-clad ladies, water gun fights, and booze, with the goal of creating West Coast summer vibes. The color palette immediately evokes summertime touchstone emotions and the simplicity of the art design is calculated with extreme precision and great results. Ms. Liu and the entire production team have established a world that we all would like to inhabit, one steeped in simple fun and simple pleasures. There’s an influence that is decidedly unique in “Oh Wow” and this is in no small part due to the contributions of Li Liu. 

Even though her career has placed her in working situations with the famous and talented, Li always reminds herself to pause for a moment and take in the environment. She relates, “It’s so rewarding to work with Wiz and all these talented people. I remember one of my colleagues saying to me on the day of the ‘Oh Wow’ shoot, ‘Can you believe we’re listening to Wiz’s unreleased track and working with him?’ It’s easy to think of these artists as someone who only exists on TV until you find yourself working with them. It’s a surreal moment when that happens and I want to keep that excitement for as long as I can.” 

Writer: Coleman Haan