American Idol singer Haley Reinhart‘s intimate rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is featured in the popular Extra gum commercial “The Story of Sarah and Juan,” and now Billboard is exclusively premiering the song’s official music video, which features fellow season 10 alum Casey Abrams.
The video offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Reinhart and Abrams, on piano, creating magic in the studio as they record the song together.
“It brings me so much joy in knowing I can be the voice that helps bring this breathtaking love story to life,” Reinhart tells Billboard. “This video captures raw emotion and intimacy that I hope people can connect with. Happy to have my musical soulmate, Casey Abrams, playing alongside of me on keys as well.”
Director Daniel Ryan from Energy BBDO says he aimed to capture that connection as he filmed the Wheeling, Ill., singer. “The moment she started singing in the studio, it was clear that she had immense talent. Since we only had a short time together, I wanted to capture a few moments that conveyed her charismatic personality, then shift into a simple, elegant performance of the timeless ballad,” he says. “I think the finished film gives the viewer a look at Haley’s genuine charm and talent, helping them feel connected to her as an artist.”
Since the commercial debuted last month, the song has already sold 46,000 units, amassed 3.2 million streams on Spotify, and is No. 1 on Spotify’s Global viral chart. The campaign is still growing, with 86 million views via Facebook and more than 12 million views on YouTube.
The ad tells the love story of two young adults who experience small yet meaningful moments through sharing Extra gum, leading to a big point in their relationship. This brings to life “Give Extra, get extra,” the idea that small moments lead to something meaningful. Reinhart says that is why the spot is connecting in a huge way. “Once I saw [the commercial] it had me in tears like a lot of the public right now,” she says. “There is not a dry eye.”
To create the tear-jerking moment, the 25-year-old vocalist immediately called on Abrams. “I had just found out about this amazing ad, and the people at Wrigley were very excited, which is pretty neat, because I’m a Chicago girl myself, so we have that hometown connection,” she says. “I was eager to get to it. And I told Casey that I needed to find a pianist by tomorrow and he is like, ‘Well when do we start?’ He is always down for everything and he plays just about everything.”
With Abrams committed, the process moved quickly. The two met the next day at Son of Man Recording Studio and Mixing in Los Angeles.
“It was very organic,” she says. “We were in an intimate setting in the room, and we had candles and he was playing and we really had to make sure that we were in sync, timing-wise, so we had to be able to look at each other and kind of feed off each other’s energy and rhythm, so it was nice.”
Overall, she is happy with how the song meshed with the love story of Sarah and Juan. “It was a nice, pleasant surprise, because you have to really get an intimate vibe, and Extra is all about the small moments that lead up to the big finale and one journey of life and love,” she says. “I wanted to make it sound as if I was talking to or whispering to a loved one next to me, that kind of vibe.”
As for Reinhart’s own journey, that path leads to her current touring schedule with Postmodern Jukebox and animated voice work with the Netflix series F Is For Family, debuting Dec. 18. In addition, Reinhart is putting the finishing touches on her new EP of original material, available early spring 2016 via red dot.
“I am really excited to put new music out. It has been kind of a labor of love. I took a lot of the demos I have had over a span of three years, and some of these songs were written back then,” she says. “I took the original productions and had a live band cut it, and I now fused the two styles and production together so they have a powerful, meaty foundation.
“I just want to put out things that people will relate to,” she continues. “It’s all very sultry where it’s coming from.”
With American Idol kicking off its farewell season in January, there is always the possibility that the popular alum will return to her roots. “Idol has been really good to me,” she says. “Hopefully we will have some of my songs in the next season, even just in the episodes for contestants. That would be wonderful, and I would love to get back. I heard a few things circulating, but nothing set in stone yet.”
There is still hope for fans of season 10, she says. “I know our season — we are all a pretty close group and I just would love to do something,” she says. “Our experience was incredible.”