It takes a courageous risk taker to use the power of music to spark difficult dialogues. Mae Estes is a country newcomer playing a vital role in reshaping the genre with her truthful and non-surface-level storytelling. Estes recently released her single "Thinkin Bout Cheatin," where she touches upon infidelity from a female perspective.
While many legends have produced chart-topping tracks about cheating – Estes tackles the sensitive topic in a unique way. The songstress proves that battling unwanted desires is all-too-common among women.
Within the ear-grabbing melody, Estes flawlessly delivers a narrative about a wife faced with an internal conflict. Instead of being unfaithful, the protagonist turns to her husband and declares her conflicting sensations. The mid-tempo temptation track emphasizes that an honest and open conversation can go a long way – verifying that Estes is wise beyond her years.
"I been thinking, thinkin' 'bout cheatin'| Though I don't have a reason to cross that line I just had to tell you | Cuz it's something I never thought I'd do | Ain't thinking about leaving | But I been thinkin' 'bout cheatin'," the budding vocalist sings.
Estes penned the hard-hitting, yet relatable single alongside songsmiths Autumn McEntire and Alex Kline. To paint the picture and to stress the importance of transparency within a marriage, the Arkansas native called in video director Emma Golden.
The video begins with Estes pouring whiskey in a coffee mug, gearing up for the necessary conversation. As she sits at a kitchen table with a stoic face – the sun beams through the windows creating an unsettling ambiance. Viewers will witness the exchange unravel and as Estes starts to reveal the temptations weighing her down, her husband visibly acts out.
The singer-songwriter told CMT that filming the music video served as a career milestone and became a memorable moment with her husband.
"This was my first video to ever shoot actually, so it was a dream come true! I got to bring my husband on set, too, and he's actually the actor you see in the video with me. It was difficult to look mad at each other and not laugh during the talking scenes," she exclusively shared. "It's pretty funny to me to think about how uncomfortable this song will make some marriages and how my husband just sat at the kitchen table and let me sing it to him! He's a dream come true, too," he added.
When Estes described her vision to Golden, she pointed out that she wanted a video that embodies her sound – old school country.
"I wanted the video to look aged as I've been told my sound is also that way. Emma (director) brought a smoke machine and all kinds of amazing lighting and gave me the 'Urban Cowboy' vibes I asked for. Otherwise, I was just trying to recreate some of the uncomfortableness of the topic visually without straying from the simple."
The videographer perfectly executed the task, as the video unintentionally invites the viewer to pull a seat up and listen to the heated banter. When the soloist received the final cut of the music video, she was pleasantly surprised by the high quality.
"I thought it looked way too professional to have me in it," she said while laughing. "I could immediately see it as one of the videos I used to watch of all my favorite singers growing up. I'm still incredibly awkward in front of and not in front of a camera though, so I made a lot of fun of myself also."
Since stepping into the country music scene, the vocalist has been experiencing several career firsts. In 2020 she received a publishing deal with Plaid Flag Music and was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2021 Arkansas Country Music Awards. Now in 2022, she created her first music video.
"I hope everyone is as excited as I am that we have our first video released, and with CMT at that!" says Estes full of enthusiasm. "So many people have supported me in getting to the place I am now with my music, and we all used to dream of the day things like this would happen. I hope we all take the time to truly celebrate this sweet memory!"