It’s 2020 and the country scene is very much alive and booming. If that surprises you then you haven’t been paying much attention to Nashville, Tennessee. In February 2020 alone, I’ve produced 2 country lyric videos, both from Nashville. A disproportionately large portion of the music I get to work with is country rock, and the overwhelming majority of them come out of Nashville. There’s an abundance of country sepcialized record labels there as well, who have succesfully been turning country music into a multimillion dollar industry since the mid 1950s.
As a result of having a big chunk of the country music, the talent and the labels to back them up, over the years Nashville has cultivated an image for itself and earned the reputation of being a vibrant country music hub. So if you’re an aspiring country musician anywhere looking to promote your next release with a music or lyric video, you’ll want to incorporate that iconic Americana imagery into your video. There are plenty of ways to achieve this, but my favorite method always start with the cover art.
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If you already have your cover artwork produced, consider using it or parts of it to design your country lyric video theme. This could be as simple as using the same background & font style as the cover art, like we did for Corey Smith. Or if you have a custom artwork with multiple layers, you can incorporate them in the lyric video and really bring it life, similar to what we did for Sara Evans.
If you can build the theme of your lyric video around the artwork, I would recommend you do. Doing so ensures a uniquely authentic video that matches the artist’s music & persona. However, sometimes the artwork isn’t compatible for lyric placement or you just want to do something different for the video. In this case we’ll have to start fresh, so here are some of the elements and techniques that have helped me produce over a hundred country lyric videos for various artists and labels.
If artwork isn’t an option for your theme, and assuming you want something more than a simple solid color background, a good option would be to use a stock photo. If you don’t want to break the bank, my go to platform for free imagery is Pexels, where you can find thousands for royalty free photos and videos you can use in your composition. Crediting the original artist is not required, but highly encouraged.
To find country inspired imagery, I usually look for natural landscapes like countryisides or fields, lone roads work pretty great too. I don’t recommend using more than one stock photo for the video, it doesn’t add anything meaningful to the video and only makes it look like a slideshow, but that’s just me.
Generally speaking you want to keep it simple. Some fonts might look fancy in pictures, but with moving words they tend to get hard to follow. It’s perfectly fine to use a basic sans-serif font, but if you’re looking for something a little more glamous, try something from the “erroded” category at dafont.com. You can see this combination in the video we made for Scott Barnes. For female vocalists, you can also try a script font, like we did here for Sara Evans. Feel free to mix it up with more than one font too, but be careful not to go overboard. I like it best when I stick to one or two font styles per video.
When it comes to colors, your goal is to make the lyrics stand out enough so they’re easy to read for the viewer, but not too much so that they look out of place. If the background is dark, use a bright version of its dominant color. If the background is bright, use a dark version of its dominant color. Your goal is to find the perfect balance between popping out and blending in.
In the process of setting up a theme for your country lyric video, you’ll have to make some artistic decisions. There’s more to this process than just picking out your favorite background and your favorite font. It is imperative to keep in mind how the different elements will come to work together. Even the highest quality assets can look amateurish if they don’t perfectly compliment each other. Don’t forget to experiment, try new things, cut out what doesn’t work and improve on what does.