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The Real Story Behind 52nd ACM Awards Video Of The Year Nominee "Humble And Kind"

Go behind-the-scenes of this Tim McGraw clip that's nominated for Video Of The Year presented by Xfinity.
Posted on Mar 27, 2017 | 11:00am
When country superstar Tim McGraw got permission from Oprah Winfrey to use footage from her documentary series Belief in his own music video for "Humble And Kind," magic happened.

After all, that's when Tim shared his vision with music video director Wes Edwards and producer Jennifer Rothlein, who helped bring his idea to life and, in the end, the collaboration earned McGraw & Co. a nomination for Video Of The Year presented by Xfinity at the 52nd ACM Awards.

Learn more about what went into making "Humble And Kind," courtesy of Edwards.


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How did you feel when you were nominated for a Video Of The Year presented by Xfinity by the Academy of Country Music?

Wes Edwards: I was thrilled [and] super excited. I’ve been nominated before and actually had the pleasure to win a couple years ago at the ACMs for Dierks Bentley’s video, "Drunk On A Plane."

Tim's video was such a special one to be a part of. I feel extremely lucky that this landed in my lap.

We got helped out so much by Oprah’s network giving us access to some footage to use. I really feel like a conduit, to get some of that fantastic footage and be able to shoot a little bit of it was fantastic. 


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How were you able to create your own artistic vision for the video from Tim's initial idea of using the Belief footage?

Wes: When you’re working with somebody like Tim McGraw, you don’t really question that he’s able to get a hold of Oprah. You just sort of say, "Really? That’s fantastic."

He told me had seen an advertisement for [Oprah's] Belief series and thought, well, that’s it right there. 

We got this great piece of gear that was this motorized turntable and the idea was that there’s this one source of light, rotating around these people. When they would go into darkness, we could dip back up and the new person would be standing there.

That thing got a little lost along the way when the Oprah footage got introduced, which I was completely fine with because I got a screener copy of the Belief series, watched them all in one night, and I loved them.

After seeing that, I was able to draw inspiration on two levels—what are the types of people they’re showing and how can I, knowing what the lyrics are, supplement with some new faces?

It was really helpful in casting, and to see what I had to work with, fill in the gaps, or add to. 

How were you able to perfect the lighting in this video?

We had a great DP [Director of Photography], Michael Pescasio.

Once I started talking to him about this "light" that would basically rotate around the subject, he said, "You know, I got this guy in L.A. that built this contraption..."

Basically, it was a large electric motor, probably six or seven-feet high with a platform on top. Out to the side of the motor, there was an arm that went off. The irony was that the lighting wasn’t really that perfected. It was one single battery-powered light that we used. It took awhile to get ready.

We were on set and it was like, "tick, tick, tick," and Tim McGraw’s there, and I remember going to his manager at one point and saying, "Hey, thank you for being humble and kind while we wait for the crew to get this ready because I’m dying here."

She just sort of smiled at me.

We had a guy drive [the contraption] in from L.A. across the country here and set it up for us. Talk about lucky. It was just awesome.

If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know if the light would have been as intriguing or cool.

Tim’s one of those guys, he’s easy to light. He’s a perfect human being so it’s hard to do anything wrong when you light him. 


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Speaking of Tim, what's it like working with him?

Wes: He’s a dream. He’s awesome. Tim's an extremely down-to-earth, personable guy. Every now and then, it’ll click, "Oh, I’m talking to Tim McGraw right now."

Is there a specific reason why you’re drawn to country music as a director?

Wes: I grew up in Nashville, so I was living here when I started doing music videos. I’ve definitely done other genres of music, a lot in the electronic genre.

There’s almost a weird similarity between country music and electronic music, but it’s hard to describe unless you’ve worked on videos for both.

One thing I do love about country music is the storytelling aspect you really don’t get in any other genre [and] I really want to be a storyteller, so I’ve latched on to that aspect of country music and explored that quite a bit.

Does "Humble And Kind" hold any personal significance to you?

Wes: I just feel blessed to have been part of the video. Of all the people in the world that could have done a video like this… it’s really sort of the country version of "We Are The World."

I think it’s such a good message to the world that I fully support it.

Who will win Video Of The Year presented by Xfinity at the 52nd ACM Awards?

Learn more about the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards on