Gwen Stefani’s Brother, Todd, Directed Blake Shelton’s ‘Minimum Wage’ Video

by Jennifer Shea

Gwen Stefani isn’t the only one with artistic talent in her family, as her fiancée Blake Shelton found out when it came time to make his “Minimum Wage” music video. Her brother Todd also has some musical chops.

Todd Stefani Delivers the Goods

Shelton enlisted the services of Todd Stefani, Gwen’s brother, to direct his music video, Sounds Like Nashville reports. 

To shoot the music video, Shelton et al. decamped to his Ole Red bar, restaurant and music venue in Oklahoma. Then they brought in a handful of fans. The video employs special effects to make the scene at Ole Red appear to be totally full of people. 

“We had a lot of Covid protocols in place for this video,” Shelton said in a statement. “I really felt like the video needed to be a live performance, so we had a few fans at Ole Red in Tishomingo.” They tested and re-tested everyone there, checked temperatures and required social distancing. 

“I’m still amazed by the camerawork and how it looks like Ole Red is packed with people knowing there were just a handful of people actually on site,” Shelton added. “Gwen’s brother Todd captured exactly what I wanted to it to be.”

The Controversy Behind ‘Minimum Wage’

Nicolle Galyon, Corey Crowder and Jess Frasure wrote “Minimum Wage.” And with a paycheck of $13 million per season as a coach on “The Voice,” Shelton is not exactly scraping by himself. But he has said the song resonated with him instantly.

“I relate so much to the lyrics of this song. I have a lot of great memories playing dive bars in Nashville and then driving back to Oklahoma to play a gig,” Shelton said in a statement on his website. He added, “I gravitate toward songs that feel like the stories of where I’ve been and where I am currently in my life, and I’ve got a lot of happiness in joy in my life these days.”  

The song has already cracked the Top 30. And it’s rising in country radio charts, per Warner Music.

But some critics, mostly on social media, argued that it was tone-deaf. Others said it was “peak 2020” for a multimillionaire like Shelton to romanticize minimum wage.

“Small businesses are struggling if not closed, people are struggling and a multi-millionaire sings about minimum wage about your multi-millionaire fiancé?” one Twitter user chimed in. “What will you do to help the world today?? SMFH.” 

Shelton Responds to Criticism

Shelton responded to the critics by saying that they missed the point of the song and of country music generally. He further suggested that they wanted to “pick a fight.”

“I have to say, if we have to start thinking like this, then I guess that’ll be where I have to bow out,” Shelton told CMT. “Because that’s one of the longest-standing traditions in country music is lyrics about love. And if you’ve got love, then that’s all that matters. There won’t be much left to play or write about on country radio if this is something that we have to think twice about.”

What’s more, Ronnie Dunn of the country duo Brooks and Dunn stuck up for Shelton. He said the brouhaha was a “cultural scam” created to fan the flames of division in the country. And Sammy Hagar of Van Halen sent Shelton a supportive Direct Message on Twitter.

“When your fans @RonnieDunn and @sammyhagar have your back it’s gonna be a good year,” Shelton tweeted last month. “Bring it on 2021.”