You may not know the name Sam Martin…yet. But the Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-producer has penned tracks for the likes of Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, Zedd…and been featured on megahits – “Dangerous” and “Lovers on the Sun” – by David Guetta.
His visceral new single “It’s Gonna Get Better” is a moving tribute to his wife, who was pregnant and quite ill at the time he wrote it (“You’ll look back / You’ll forget the pain,” he promises.) The hauntingly beautiful video for the song, which BlackBook premieres here, was shot in Alaska. And so enraptured as we were by the finished product, we asked Sam to take us back to the 49th State, for a peek behind the making of it.
This is Alaska!! I had no idea it was such an intense place, and we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface. It’s massive and untamed and it made me realize I’ve been in the city too much. I grew up in Oregon and had been to Vancouver and out into some pretty remote places, but this was another level.
Started in Anchorage, then in the late afternoon – with a storm brewing in the distance – the director, John Peterson, arranged for us to fly in his cousin’s dad’s floater plane. I had promised to never get in one of those tiny death planes; but we went anyway. We just wanted to get a shot of us taking off in the plane, but surprise!, it turned into the best shot. Immediately outside of Anchorage is wild wilderness and alien-like landscapes, massive peaks – Mt. McKinley in the distance – and glaciers. We flew into nowhere land!! Then we saw a lake in the mountains with icebergs and a huge glacier going into the water. I asked if we could fly down there and get a better look; next thing I knew we were dodging icebergs and the pilot was landing his plane on this crazy remote lake that would kill us if we fell in. He parked the plane next to the rocks and we jumped onto this island that may have never been touched by man (at least that’s what it felt like), and those are the final shots in the video with the glacier in the background. Oh man, it was something special for us. Plus, if the plane had busted, we would have probably taken a week to get back to civilization…and I would have most likely ended up grizzly bear food.
The locals are winners! They take for granted how cool they are, normal life for them is to endure the wild. Fishing, wild adventures, landing planes on ice, etc. I asked the pilot, “Could you see yourself living anywhere else?” And he said, “I can’t imagine”. I realized, why would he? Hard to go anywhere else. Except I’d recommend attempting the occasional winter escape to Hawaii.
I wanted to get some razor clams but I couldn’t find any. I did eat a lot of seafood which was really tasty; we also went out to a really amazing burger joint called Spenard Roadhouse.
I had to drive deep into the night, so I was banned from any and all substances except caffeine, which I could have used more of – because the drive from Anchorage to Seward in the night during a rainstorm with bad rental car windshield wipers was a life-threatening event…that required intense concentration. Don’t mess with Alaska storms!
Seward was the original port for all of Alaska, and it was replaced by Anchorage when they built the railroads. Well, Seward is insanely beautiful, surrounded by 360 degrees of snowcapped mountains and calm water. Those are where the opening shots of the video were filmed. You want the secret to life? Well then, the secret to life is connection, and therefore connection with the local Alaskans, who will tell you their secret fishing spot. Stay tuned!
Getting there: Alaska Airlines