Country music artist Cody Belew fled his rural Arkansas town in 2012 to pursue music in Nashville. As he quickly immersed himself in the country music landscape, he never lost sight of where he came from. While his love for the South runs rapidly through his veins, it's also evident in his recently released music video "Rodeo."
Alongside songsmith Autumn McEntire and producer Dustin Ransom, Belew pays homage to his unique upbringing in a "rodeo family." The mid-tempo track infused with traditional country elements shines a spotlight on Belew's gritty, yet soulful sound. Belew's descriptive wordplay perfectly paints a picture of a rowdy American-style cattle competition.
It was a gamble | It was a pull my hat down and hold on tight I can handle this| I tied myself to the very part of you that would come unhinged |Did what I could to not get thrown | It was a hell of a ride | Put on a real good show | It was a rodeo," he sings with a captivating charisma.
Belew exclusively told CMT that he had a clear vision going into the writing process for "Rodeo." The lyrics came naturally, as Belew and McEntire simply pulled from real-life experiences.
"When Autumn McEntire and I initially sat down to write this song, we both brought our shared experience of growing up in rodeo families. It's such a unique point of view, and I wanted to drive that point home by taking the lyrics literally with the visual of riding the bull," he explained. "My dad was a bull rider- so I wanted to pay homage to him as well."
To rope in listeners and transport them to a wild rodeo, the breakout artist teamed up with videographer Brandon Vestal and video producer Marco Mendez.
"At its core, a rodeo is a show," Belew pointed out. "I wanted it to look and feel like a poster for a "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" show from the turn of the century. So the colors needed to be vivid, like fresh paint."
The singer-songwriter not only executed his idea with vibrant colors flawlessly, but also sported a vintage equestrian attire that matches his old-world pipes to a T.
Throughout the clip, Vestal captures the artist holding on tight as he rides a mechanical bull. The whiplash-like motions emphasize the song's underlying meaning – that life full of love and heartache tends to be a wild ride.
"Seeing the set come together for the first time- it's one thing to draw something up on paper, but it's a whole other thing seeing all the various pieces falling into place," he said. "We weren't sure we would get a mechanical Bull until right up to shoot day. So it was just a big exhale of gratitude in knowing that it all looked so good."
Although Belew was pleasantly surprised by the outcome, he revealed that a wave of imposter syndrome had come over him after watching the clip.
"Well, at the end of the day, I'm an artist- so I'm always battling against my inner self-saboteur. Is it good enough? How will it be received?" he thought until he came to his senses. "But, I'm generally good at seeing that for what it is and moving on. I'm extremely proud of what we were able to achieve in such a short span of time in preparation. It turned out exactly as I hoped it would."
Belew hopes that the music video reminds fans to look onwards if faced with sudden obstacles or defeat – whether in a sport, with love, or simply in life.
"Losing in love is just a dream. You eventually wake up and realize that you've got a whole life left to live. Heartache is a crazy ride of a thing. What feels like an eternity was really just 8 seconds- a blink. You've got to dust yourself off and walk out of it with your head up and your heart ready to ride another day," he concluded.