Brantley Gilbert is known for peeling back the layers, getting to the raw grit of the matter – and an uncompromised personal integrity. That unwavering sense of self, passion for music and a personal brand of songwriting torn from his own life drew Apple to enlist the CMA Song of the Year nominee as only the second country artist to be their face.
Drafting noted film, video and advertising director Anthony Mandler, the man behind signature clips for Jay-Z, Rihanna, Eminem, the Killers, Mary J. Blige, Lana Del Ray, Snoop Dogg and Drake, the Georgia-born and –raised Gilbert is featured in a clip that captures him on a motorcycle ride through the heart of the country. Capturing the intense performer’s need for stillness and motion, it celebrates the small town ethos that forged his songwriting and the power he finds in the open road.
“I’ve never been one for commercials,” says the man who’s certified back-to-back Platinum for Halfway To Heaven and Just As I Am. “But when we started talking to the folks at Apple, they were saying, ‘We want to capture you, the way you live and the values you hold. We want people to see your world, show themwhat you hear and respond to. If they see you, it says everything.’”
“We’re always looking for the right moments to crystalize careers. Moments that represent the artist and the artistic vision. Apple Music’s vision for Brantley and his music aligned perfectly with his own,” says Big Machine Label Group President and CEO Scott Borchetta. “He represents so much more than even any single song; he’s emblematic of a slice of America that can’t be bought, or sold, or stopped. It’s heroic, and whomever we teamed with, the alliance needed to represent that.”
Shot over two days outside Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, the spot gets inside the “Country Music Be Country Wide” and “One Hell of an Amen” singer’s head and heart. Decidedly rural, yet most definitely urban and rocking in its lean, the 30 seconds of documentary footage touches on every aspect of who the guy selling serious hard tickets in America’s arenas and amphitheaters with his The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour.
“We had so much fun shooting with Anthony and his crew,” Gilbert says, “it really wasn’t like work. Getting to ride on the open road, see some of those people, places and highways, it’s everything I love to do. To me, when you’re being real, that’s the best way to chase the music. When you’re doing that, you’re hitting right up in the place where the songs come from.”
Given the iconic nature of the Apple commercial, it was imperative that the spot debut somewhere of equal stature. With this year’s Brickyard 400 bearing Gilbert’s name, Sunday’s NBC network broadcast seemed like the perfect place to world premiere it.
Headlining the iconic Frontier Days Festival in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Friday, Gilbert will be on-hand at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 24th running of the legendary NASCAR race. For fans of the man RollingStone.com deems, “the soundtrack to Friday night in small towns everywhere,” there are now two ways to see Gilbert during Sunday’s broadcast: performing a single song and the debut of the Apple Music spot.
Gilbert, for local fans, returns to Indianapolis for a full show August 5 at the Klipsch Center.
The spot will air on NBC on Sunday, July 23 before the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at 2:30 PM Eastern.