How Carrie Underwood and Ludacris came together to create the most important music video of the year
The sports anthem featuring Ludacris, has a message that goes beyond athletic victory and sends a politically charged message of unity in these divided times.
Carrie Underwood and Ludacris just released their new video for 'The Champion', and it’s the perfect song to fill up a stadium with inspiration and chest-thumping aggression. But as the music video suggests, the underlying message of the song has far greater socio-political implications and could very well be the most relevant and important song of the year, apart from the catchiest arena anthem too!
Written by Underwood and Ludacris along with Brett James and Chris DeStefano, "The Champion" was used for the Super Bowl LII broadcast on NBC last month, before also being incorporated into the network's recent Winter Olympics coverage. As is fitting for a sports anthem, the montage-heavy music video, directed by Jimmy Lynch, is chock full of inspirational sporting moments and includes many shots of athletes at their moment of glory.
But it goes a lot further than that in depicting what constitutes a champion, as it touches upon many more socially relevant issues. Apart from notable sports images, which include clips from the Olympics to NASCAR racing to the Nashville Predators of the NHL (a personal touch, as those clips include Underwood's husband, Mike Fisher), to the Special Olympics, the music video also includes several politically charged clips - from the march of the Civil Rights movement in Selma, Alabama, to the World Trade Center (perfectly timed to the line "They knock me down, I get up again”), to shots of women holding up signs in support of the #MeToo movement, the video depicts heroic lengths ordinary people have gone to in order to effect political and social change in America over the decades.
Watch the video below:
The footage also pays homage to people who are overcoming physical disabilities, as well as everyday working class people like farmers and educators who are simply champions because they are doing what it takes to overcome the obstacles of everyday life. "I am invincible, unbreakable / Unstoppable, unshakeable," Underwood sings with a passionate note in the chorus, lyrics that could just as easily refer to the life of a musician as well.
Aptly, Lynch incorporates plenty of moments from Underwood's own life, from childhood photos of her as an aspiring performer to behind-the-scenes footage of her in the recording studio.
Ludacris also adds his own touch as he breaks down the word ‘champion' in an inspirational acrostic rap segment. All in all, It’s a very inclusive video that reaches out to a broad spectrum of people with a message that aims to unite the world in a very divided age, making it probably the most important song of the year so far.
'The Champion' reached No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 10 countries after it first aired during the Super Bowl, where it was seen by more than 131 million viewers worldwide. In the USA, it held the top spot throughout its release week prior to the game, and then rose back to No. 1 for four consecutive days after the Super Bowl LII opening.
Earlier this week, Underwood received two nominations for the 2018 ACM Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for her song 'The Fighter' with Keith Urban.
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