Gwen Stefani made history Monday night during the Grammys as she — with the help of Target — filmed the first ever live music video. She turned an entire commercial break into a retro beauty-parlor-roller-skating-rink-barroom to bring the world her new single, “Make Me Like You,” come alive. A day after successfully completing it, the singer was beaming.
“I’m on cloud nine,” she tells EW. “I don’t do choreography. I memorize lyrics, but I don’t know how to do anything else twice,” she says with a laugh. The intense routine then, “was a lot for me — and something I never thought I could do.” The advertiser echoes her thrill. “Gwen is a style and music icon, and she has been a fearless partner. We made music history, and are thrilled Gwen and her team trusted Target to take this risk on live television together,” Jeff Jones, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Target tells EW in a statement.
She didn’t come out of the shoot completely unscathed, though. “I have a massive bruise on the back of my leg,” she says. “Could you see that?” No, you couldn’t — and no, it wasn’t from that fall. “That was not my butt,” the singer assures, referring to the stunt double who intentionally takes a tumble before the final scene of the video. “If you look at the whole thing, the circle is the Target logo and the center of it was called the inner sanctum — where I ended in the red dress. When I’m going around the roller rink, I slide into the middle and the stunt double comes out and she does the fall while I’m changing into the dress.”
The bruise potentially came from practicing the switch-off. “We practiced so many times,” she says. “The two takes before the live one, I fell on my my head. It was crazy.” In fact, Stefani says it wasn’t until just the take or two before the live filming that she even felt like they had gotten the routine down. “It’s really weird how things came together at the very last minute.”
Target and Stefani came together on the project via a third party, marketing wiz Gary Tobey, says Vice Chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M, Steve Berman. “He is the heart and soul around all these Target campaigns built around great creative. We worked with him as far back as Black Eyes Peas.” More recently, they worked together on last year’s Grammy stunt with Imagine Dragons.
When Tobey and Target began speaking about doing another live stunt, Berman says the label put Stefani forward immediately. “We’re so excited about what’s going on with Gwen,” he says of the singer who will release her next solo album This Is What The Truth Feels Like. “She’s in such a great space. She’s so strong right now mentally, creatively, and physically. Seeing her this focused is such a tremendous joy. It was a no-brainer, especially for the brand of Target.”
For Stefani, the Target opportunity comes in the middle of a professional rebirth. “A year ago on Valentine’s Day, my whole life blew up. And before that, things weren’t great either. I had a lot of things going down and I was in a place where I wasn’t being creative.” (Stefani split from her longtime husband, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, late last summer.)
Since, she’s been a coach on The Voice, embarked on a new relationship with Blake Shelton, and recorded a brand new album. “I gotta be honest, like, what the f–k is going on?” she says. “I can’t believe and of this right now. I guess I had to go through what I went through: Tragedy.”
That “tragedy” will appear on the singer’s third solo album, out March 18. After the divorce she says, “I started writing again. And to be able to write and be so honest and pure and truthful — and not to be chasing anything but just writing and going in and saying, ‘I’m not doing this for anyone else. I’m doing this because I have to be here or I will die.’ I can’t tell you how good it feels.”
Of course it’s not all down in the doldrums. “Make Me Like You,” the song featured here, is undeniably peppy. “When were were picking songs for the record, it kind of happened in two chapters. The first half was very sarcastic and kind of dark, mad, and angry.” She wrote about 15 songs that way, she says. The last was her heartbreaking first single “Used To Love You.” “That’s when we kind of flipped over to this happy, excited, new phase.”
“Make You Like Me” was one of those happy songs, written just three weeks ago. Check it, and the new music video, out below.