“I probably discovered it after some stupid boy broke my heart,” Priyanka Chopra says about her new single. The assertion is just about as preposterous as the former Miss World claiming she can’t make someone love her. But on her dance remake of Bonnie Raitt’s classic ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me” the singer-songwriter does just that.
Backed by synth builds and drops courtesy of German DJ / Producer Manual “Manian” Reuter, Chopra’s more uptempo take on the song is more likely to connect with a generation of ravers with no idea of the song’s origin from Raitt’s 1991 Grammy-winning album “Luck of the Draw.” It’s surprising, too, that when Chopra, who was in fourth grade when the song was released, would herself know the track.
That connection resurfaced when Interscope label boss Jimmy Iovine played her and manager Anjula Acharia Bath a demo of the track by Esther Dean in his office. “Priyanka fell in love with it and jumped on it—it’s her favorite song of all time,” says Acharia Bath who also runs Desi Hits, which co-released the track with Interscope Geffen A&M and RedOne’s 2101 label.
A stylized video for the new single dropped this week courtesy of directors Jeff Nicholas and Jonathan Craven of The Uprising Creative (Rihanna, “Take Care;” Justin Timberlake, “Take Back The Night” and Shakira, “Empire”) and featuring the hunky Milo Ventimiglia (a.k.a. Peter Petrelli from NBC’s “Heroes”). Filmed in one day, the dramatic storyboard of unrequited love showcases Chopra’s acting skills as she pulls-off a range of emotions from exultation to despair.
“The video was definitely inspired by the actor in me,” Chopra says of the video. Her favorite part was throwing iridescent purple-hued Holi powder at Ventimiglia’s face, which in post-production was rendered in reverse, Not nearly as enjoyable, however, were the four takes of getting thrown into a pool on a cold January night in Los Angeles
Perhaps buffering that chill is the video’s product placement, which somehow managed to thread a needle between two competing brands: Beats by Dre headphones appear on Chopra’s thick mane not long before she is seen taking a selfie with a Nokia Lumia. The singer’s relationship with both brands, however, goes deeper.
Beats By Dre, co-founded and run by Iovine, is featuring “I Can’t Make You Love Me” in a new national ad campaign for the Beats Pill XL portable Bluetooth speaker that debuts today. The humorous spot, which runs through May 25, may be the perfect antidote to the pain of unrequited love as Chopra camps it up in response to a nerdy admirer playing her song through his Pill. “The second Jimmy told me about the concept I absolutely loved it,” Chopra says. “But as hilarious as the ad is, it was equally fun to shoot, we were cracking up the whole time.”
Chopra is also working with Nokia MixRadio, the smartphone’s music streaming service which partnered on the video premiere of the new song at New York City’s TriBeCa Grand on Monday night. The brand, which is popular in India, will host an event in Mumbai with Chopra on May 5. The MixRadio service launched this past November at an event with Nile Rodgers. That Beats By Dre would allow a competing music service to appear in its ad campaign, which of course has its own Beats Music streaming service, only speaks more volumes about Chopra’s appeal (she also works with NFL and Guess) and international reach as Beats Music is only available in the U.S.
As for Chopra she is in the process of (again) finalizing her album slated for release later this year and finishing up a biopic based on the life of an Indian boxer, a role she says was a “huge challenge.” She also has major activities planned for her charity work with UNICEF, Girl UP and her own Priyanka Chopra Foundation. “The list seems endless,” she says the day after flying across the U.S. “but I’m looking forward to doing it all.”