Aug 12, 2010 7:23 PM by Zach Thaxton
Their YouTube video has gone viral and now the college-age trio behind "Colorado Girls" is reveling in their newfound statewide celebrity status.
Lauren Brady, Ian Rice, and Josh Greenwood are the trio behind the video, which was just shy of 450,000 views as of Thursday afternoon -- less than two weeks after it was uploaded to YouTube. The video is a parody of Katy Perry's "California Gurls" music video.
Brady explains how it all got started: "We were just sitting down one night and I said to Ian, 'I think it'd be really fun to do a parody of 'California Gurls.''" The video highlights numerous Colorado landmarks including Red Rocks Amphitheater, Lakeside Amusement Park, Casa Bonita Restaurant, the Molly Brown House, Coors Field, INVESCO Field at Mile High, and the "big blue bear" sculpture outside the Colorado Convention Center. Even though most of the landmarks featured in the video are in the Denver area, the video has generated appeal across the whole state, and even beyond to former Coloradans who have relocated across the country and the globe.
Brady is the primary performer in the video. She says wardrobe selections were key to making the parody so successful. The opening scene features Brady hiking through Chautauqua Park near Boulder while wearing a North Face jacket, khaki shorts, hiking boots, and sporting an unkempt frizzy hairdo. "Girls in Colorado generally are out and about and doing a lot of things active," Brady says, "We don't pile on make-up, we don't do a lot of that kind of stuff, and we kind of wanted to make a caricature of that in the video."
Each member of the trio lives in Colorado, but has attended school and traveled elsewhere in recent years. Brady is a recent graduate of the New York University film school. She is leaving on Monday to return to New York City to produce media for non-profits, among other projects. Rice recently graduated from the Chapman University film school and plans to return to Los Angeles where he hopes to pursue a career in writing for television comedies. Greenwood is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and is currently touring with a comedy troupe in Europe. "We're proud," Brady says. "It's a great state to be from and we're proud to be Coloradans and I think that really came out in our lyrics."
The video was produced over the course of about two weeks. Much of the audio recording and editing was done in Brady's basement. Shooting locations ranged from Boulder to Genessee to downtown Denver to the metro-area suburbs. "We all had jobs at the time we were shooting so we had to coordinate our schedules and kind of storyboard as we went," Brady says. "It was very run-and-gun."
Brady and Rice say one of the most commented-on aspects of the video is the inclusion of Colorado-based furniture retailer American Furniture Warehouse, known for its television commercials featuring CEO Jake Jabs and a host of wild animals climbing on the furniture. The commercials also feature a catchy jingle. Brady says, "We made a list of all the things that are very Coloradan and American Furniture Warehouse was on there, so I was just thinking of the jingle in my head -- (singing) 'American Furniture Warehouse' -- we have to put that in!"
Brady's singing voice has been the subject of some criticism among those leaving comments on their YouTube page. "I have to defend her for a second," Rice says. "A lot of people think she has a really awful singing voice, but she was doing a parody. I just want everyone to know she has a beautiful singing voice." Indeed, Brady's speaking voice is much lower than the high tones sung in the video. She says the idea to sing below her abilities came from her brother, who was part of the crew that helped put the video together. Brady explains that her brother told her, "'Lauren, your voice is much richer than Katy Perry's is in the song. You need to make it more tinny.' So, I said, 'Okay, okay.'"
Brady and Rice say criticism is just an unfortunate part of their newfound fame, but the majority of the feedback has been positive. "Last night they had this thing called the Denver Cruisers," Rice explains, "and it was the first song that they played last night. There were 700 bike riders riding through Denver, apparently singing the song verbatim." Rice says one person has even said a couple wants to play the song at their upcoming wedding.
Rice and Brady say leaving Colorado to return to Los Angeles and New York will be difficult as awareness and positive feedback for the video continues to grow. "It's been a really fun week being recognized out on the streets and having all these people approach us and take pictures with us and buy us drinks at bars," Brady says. "That has happened!"
Before CLICKING HERE for a link to the "Colorado Girls" YouTube video, be aware that there are several uncensored profanities and some adult themes. Discretion is advised.