Hailing from New York, NY, singer-songwriter and pop-rock recording artist AJ Smith realizes that he doesn't have to be "Cooler" to win hearts in his latest music video.
AJ Smith won us over with his relatable emotion, which he wears so vulnerably on his sleeve. The flashy and classically trained pop-rock artist has a knack for creating narrative dramas within the three-minute pop song. He's a believer in the classic hook, the perfect tune, the beautiful singalong chorus, and the song you can't get out of your head.
Now releasing his engaging music video for "Cooler," AJ Smith promises a girlfriend that he'll be cooler, smoother, and relieve the jitters next time around. Later, he makes the empowering realization that he doesn't need a leather jacket or badass vibe to do so.
In the new music video for "Cooler," the scene is set in the 1950s at a nostalgic drive-in where two anxious and albeit nerdy lovers embark on what seems to be the first date. As AJ Smith becomes so overwhelmed and leaves his car, he quickly changes into his leather jacket and heads back to the car, only to watch another suave version of himself playing on the big screen.
The same situation occurs with AJ Smith's counterpart, which just so happens to be his lovely fiancé in real life. She jitters with nerves and makes her big return with a suggestive leather jacket. With a group dance break straight out of the 1950s, the video later ends with our nerdy protagonists sharing a kiss and realizing that facades won't bring them love, but authenticity will.
Get your dose of nostalgia and empowerment with AJ Smith's latest music video, "Cooler," now available on YouTube.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, AJ Smith. We can't get enough of the concept and theme of your latest music video for "Cooler." What inspired you to create the song itself?
Thanks so much for having me! And thanks so much for listening to “Cooler” and the kind words. The song is inspired by the internal dialog when meeting someone new. The second-guessing, imposter syndrome, overthinking brain on a first date. I’m an enneagram type 3, which means I almost can’t help worry about what other people think or feel ALL the time. As a result, I’m always trying to make the best impression possible because of that fear of rejection. So I wrote this song to tackle that voice in my head that creeps in when I’m aimlessly wondering if people are laughing with me or at me or think I’m corny or sweet or something completely different.
Why did you choose to go down this nostalgic 1950s route for the "Cooler" music video? How did you come up with this concept?
Originally, I wanted to film a bunch of first dates in a diner, but COVID and the delta variant threw us for a bit of a loop and we opted to go for an outdoor location to be extra safe during filming. The concept of the song made me think so much of Grease and Back to the Future - how characters sometimes get so wrapped up in what’s “cool” or “not cool” that they lose sight of what’s happening around them. I played Danny Zuko in a school musical production growing up so once Whitney (the director) and I heard back that our friend, Grant, could borrow some classic cars from his uncle, I knew a drive-in had to be our backdrop. And from there, we created this concept of the version of myself that I want to be is up on the big screen. Which leads to transformative outfits and overall a more confident me by the end. The piece that I was excited to show though was that it’s not just me getting in my head, but Brianna (my fiancée who starred opposite me) was having similar doubts and worries as well! But we learn not to hold ourselves back by the end.
Was it easy for you to work with your fiancée when shooting the video for "Cooler?" Would you say that the chemistry between you two was present on set?
Working with Brianna is so effortless. Her talent, demeanor, charm, sense of humor, everything about her makes her the dream collaborator. And we don’t just work together on set, but in production as well. She’s the first person I show costume ideas to get another opinion. She’s the first person usually to be the sounding board for all of my ideas, to be honest. It was fun acting nervous around each other though because as far as chemistry goes, we’re so comfortable with one another. So that was a lot of fun.
What do you want your audience to take away from the concept within "Cooler?" What impact did you want the song and video to make?
When we spend so much time worrying about what other people think of us, we often invent narratives and critiques that don’t even exist. And so these thoughts that we think other people are having…which are our own!…hold us back. Let’s not do that to ourselves. Let’s be bold, let’s be brave, let’s be true to who we are. In the end, we weren’t left in our “cool” outfits because we don’t always need to change who we are to be who we want to be. We just need a little confidence in ourselves.
What can listeners anticipate next?
I’m dropping a new song in mid-December (go find my socials and follow me on Spotify to make sure you hear about it first)! And another grand music video and tune are coming in January as well!