In Blake Shelton’s latest single, “Minimum Wage,” the superstar espouses how the right kind of love can outweigh material possessions, as he paints lyrical portraits of dates at Waffle House, one-bedroom apartments, and a life playing tiny stages for tips.
The video, directed by Gwen Stefani’s brother Todd Stefani, finds Shelton returning to his small-time club roots with a full-band performance in front of a tightly-packed, enthusiastic crowd that is sure to make viewers feel the nostalgia of a live concert.
The song, penned by Nicolle Galyon, Corey Crowder and Jesse Frasure, recently garnered controversy as some listeners felt the lyrics about “you make a man feel rich on minimum wage” were insensitive those who have lost jobs during the pandemic.
Shelton recently told cmt.com about the issue, “No matter what your intention is, no matter what the truth is, they want it to be something that they can be upset about so that they can get on social media and try to grab a headline. With ‘Minimum Wage,’ at first I thought, “Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.” And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real.
“Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music,” he continued. “They clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics. If they had, they couldn’t feel this way about the song. It’s literally a love song about how if times are tight and you ain’t got much money — as long as you have love and you’re happy — at the end of the day, that’s all any of us can really hope for. You got it if you got that. That’s all that matters. And if that’s offensive to you, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
Shelton recently opened up about the strict COVID-19 protocols that came with making the video, and conjuring up the intensity of a live show for the new clip.
What do you remember most about the day/night you shot this video?
What I remember most is we had a lot of Covid protocol in place! I really felt like the video needed to be a live performance so we had a few fans at Ole Red in Tishomingo. Of course every one had to be pre-tested and re-tested and temperature checks and social distancing. And every time the camera stopped rolling someone would yell, “Masks Up!” There’s a lot of camera magic happening too because it looks like the place was packed.
How does the video bring your song to life?
“Minimum Wage” has such great tempo and I can’t wait to be able to get back out on the road and play it for fans. So I felt really strongly that the music video needed to be a live performance with the crowd having fun!
What message do you hope your fans take away from the video?
What I hope people take away from the video is that live show feel. That sense of fun and community we have out there on the road. I’m ready to play shows, I’m ready to go see shows and I know music fans everywhere are, too.
How did it feel to see the finished product for the first time?
When I watch the music video I’m still amazed by the camerawork and how it looks like Ole Red is packed with people knowing there were just a handful people actually on site. Gwen [Stefani]’s brother Todd directed the video and he captured exactly what I wanted to it to be!