After a national tour together in 2017, Country Music’s Brook Chivell and Natalie Pearson have teamed up again to release the catchy, feel-good release I Wonder What You Kiss Like. The song debuted at #2 on the iTunes Country Charts, and currently sits at #5 on the KIX Country Radio Charts. The popular music video also sits third in the series continuation, after Pearson’s Mr Wrong and Chivell’s Hot Country Girl.
I Wonder What You Kiss Like was written by Country Music favourites, Kaylee Bell and Nick Wolfe, originally intended to be recorded by The Wolfe Brothers themselves. Considering how different your personal styles are compared to their own, it’s difficult to imagine the song not changing during production. What was the original demo like? And how, if so, did it change?
Natalie: [The demo] was Nick singing. He had a few little piano motifs at the start, which we really liked and we kept for when we took it to production. It had a similar vibe to what it ended up being; we just fleshed it out a lot more. We had a play around with the structure and put some key changes in there, so we could both have a chance to show off our vocal ranges and sit in our sweet spot. Nick really liked the arrangement, and we went from there into the studio.
Brook: Initially, Nat messaged [Nick] and said, “We put a couple of key changes in. His response was, “… oh god!” But then he listened and he liked it. It’s kind of seamless, which is good. It sounds more country pop now. Not like a Mötley Crüe way, but it [originally] sounded more rock band-y.
I Wonder What You Kiss Like is the third song in the what would-now-be considered a music video trilogy. Was there thought put into, not only obviously wanting to find a good song that would complement you both, but also into how this one would fit into the overall story arc?
Natalie: We didn’t pick the song; the song kind of picked us. The Wolfe Brothers came to one of our gigs, when we were on tour in Sydney. We were having a chat in the break [and Nick Wolfe] said, “I’ve got this song that me and the boys wrote with Kaylee Bell. I think it’ll really suit you.” Brook and I had a listen and thought it sounded like it should be a duet. Like, it feels like a cool, happy, feel good, hopeful duet song. We didn’t really think of it as being the trilogy; it just fitted anyway. I’m not sure that Mr Wrong production or attitude would have suited I Wonder What You Kiss Like, so we had to change that.
Brook: We knew we were going to release in summer, so we wanted something that had that carefree, summery vibe to it as compared to Mr Wrong and Hot Country Girl, which are a bit more down and dirty. It’s still obviously us, but it’s a good song to showcase both of us without going too far in my direction or Nat’s direction.
Natalie: We’ve had a lot of people say they didn’t know [Brook] had that vocal range, I guess because Hot Country Girl and Outta My Song were sitting in that really low register. But Brook’s got some vocal chops and he doesn’t often bring it to the songs. This particular song, because it has to fit a female vocal and a male vocal, and we’ve got completely opposite vocal ranges, it pushed both of our boundaries. It shows versatility.
Although the sounds are different, when you were working on the video concept, did you consider bringing in elements, little nods here and there, from the Mr Wrong or Hot Country Girl music videos to tie it together that way instead?
Natalie: Well, if you look closely, the guy that’s the love interest in the new video is actually Mr Wrong from the previous video, so I guess that’s the way we subtly did the continuation of “Mr Wrong moved on” [laughs]. That’s the way of linking it all.
Brook: We were initially thinking of wearing the same clothes, but because it’s such a different vibe than those songs, we thought I don’t think anyone is going to expect us to be wearing the same clothes.
Apart from making cameos in each other’s videos, this is the first time you’ve filmed as a duet. What was it like shooting a music video where you’re sharing screen time equally? Did you enjoy splitting that responsibility? Did you feel less pressure on yourselves as individuals?
Brook: They’re both good in different ways. I wasn’t as stressed out as much on this one. Aside from [Adam Brand’s] Party Down Under [in which both he and Natalie also make cameos], it was the most fun I’ve had on a video shoot. Initially, with the shots under the bridge, I struggled. I know how to rock out with a guitar, not so much without, generally. They ended up having to shoot some of my scenes, just to make it look more vibe-y. It came out really well. We [awkwardly] had a crowd watching us film, taking photos and stuff though.
Did being watched and photographed make things uncomfortable?
Natalie: It does make things feel a bit awkward, because obviously you’ve got a camera guy in your face and you’re prancing around, singing and looking happy. You’ve got to move around a lot because they’re taking tiny cuts of the video, putting them all together and it has to have that energy in it. You move around a lot more than you ordinarily would on stage. There was lots of people standing around and filming. You feel a little bit stupid.
Given the title of the song and the “will they/won’t they” nature of the song, I’m not alone in thinking that you guys were going to share a kiss by the end of the music video. It’s seriously been asked in every interview I’ve read regarding the song. Was a kiss filmed and later cut from the final product?
Brook: We never kissed. They’d already had the money shot from the couple, so they didn’t need [the video] bombarded.
Natalie: When we were doing the final scene, we hadn’t worked out exactly how we were going to finish the video. The sun was setting and we thought, “Alright, what are we going to do?” And I said, “I think it should be like cheeky to the camera. Let’s leave everyone guessing.” We did that a few different ways, but it’s still cheeky and cute.
I suppose also by leaving it open ended, there’s more room to build on that in the next chapter. Have you started discussing a fourth release?
Brook: It’s already been recorded. It sounds like it belongs in a Disney movie. It’s pretty full on. I wrote it probably five years ago. We wanted to release something that was upbeat first, keeping with the storyline of that anticipation of love, and the next one is more, “hey we’re in it” now deal.
Natalie: That one does sound like it belongs in a movie. Not in a cheesy, cartoon-y way, but it’s got nice emotional builds in it. It is a ballad, but it definitely sounds like a soundtrack song.
Brook: The song’s about being apart from the person you care about, so it’s the guy singing about it from one perspective and the girl singing about it from another perspective. It’s from the point of view of being a musician. We’re looking at an end of the year or maybe early next year [release]. We’ve got things we want to say individually in between.
Okay, so on that tease. Brook it’s been five months since you released your last single Outta My Song, and Natalie a year since Mr Wrong. Can you both share a little about what individual projects you are currently working on?
Natalie: I’ve got two songs ready to go. The rockier one is called Let Em Talk. It’s got that attitude, vibe and edge, similar to Mr Wrong. It’s basically about people who say things and gossip about you. People can say what they want. Let ’em talk. Just do your own thing. And don’t worry about what other people are whispering about. And the other one’s called Plan B, and that’s about not being someone’s second choice, putting value in yourself and being Plan A, not Plan B.
Brook: My next song is going to be a song called Fingerprints, which is about how your past makes you into what you are – good or bad. It’s the things you go through when you’re younger that helps to inform who you are as a grown up. It’s a lot more vocal than the last two have been. It’s about wanting to get the story across.
As well as new releases, you’re also both heading to the United States in June. I’ve spoken about this briefly before, but what do you have planned while you’re over there?
Natalie: I won the Gympie Muster Talent Search last year and part of my prize was the CMA Fest Tour with Soundmart Tours. [We’re] flying over there for 9 days, and doing the touristy thing. Hopefully we can have a chance to jump on stage while we’re over there or get in some good writing sessions.
Brook: We’re very excited. I haven’t had a proper holiday in forever. I’m toying with the idea of doing a chicken wing vlog – video tapping and rating the chicken wings that I eat throughout the US.
Brook you’re known for your live facebook videos, every Tuesday night at 6.45 Queensland time. Will you still be doing those videos while away?
Brook: Yeah. I’ll have to film it at about 2am for it to be about 6pm here [with the time difference]. There’s every chance we’ll probably be up at Tuesday 2am; I may not be in a fit state to be making a video, but I might do it anyway just for fun!