Note to Readers: World premieres are tough enough already, but 2020 has presented its own extreme challenges. On Nov. 17, the all-new 2020 INFINITI QX55 made its global debut in a one-of-a-kind concert streaming experience. This is the story of how the QX55 Demand Center Stage reveal was captured thousands of miles apart, at three locations, over the course of several months.
Every song has a center. There's a melody, a middle, a chorus to which everything orbits.
For superstar Aloe Blacc, that middle — the soul — of every song begins simply.
"Words and melody," he says from center stage at the historic Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, where this song starts. "If you can get that right, you can paint it and color it, and add features — as many as you want around those core elements. I focus heavily on making my words read really well on paper, making my melodies sing well without words."
Aloe's songs can't be categorized by genres or labels, except two: "soulful" and "timeless." The melodies he sings filter through his core, refined in his voice, and envelop the listener like a warm wool blanket. But not without help.
"From (the words and melody), we add the guitars, and the pianos, and the drums, and all the other elements to then give it a little bit of pizzazz. But the thing that will always remain is that lyric and melody. The song," says Aloe.
Without that center, those deep roots in melody and lyric, the accompanying notes can get lost in the mix.
INFINITI used its all-new QX55 world premiere as its center to connect Aloe in LA and its team in Japan together. Due to travel restrictions related to the ongoing pandemic, one group in the same room was impossible, but thanks to creative filming, the power of dark lighting, and patience, INFINITI tied one coast to another coast — even separated by an international dateline.
A week after Aloe's performance in LA, at Studio Coast, which is tucked into an industrial neighborhood in Shin Kiba, global design boss Alfonso Albaisa looks to the stage, into the soft yellow light that bathes the INFINITI QX55. In it, he sees the melody of INFINITI FX — he calls it the "north star" of the brand — that set the trend other automakers have since followed in the two decades since that car's debut.
Studio Coast was picked for its visual similarities with the Belasco Theater but has its own melody, beneath the din of adjacent Tokyo, where the eccentric club with a heart-shaped couch colored red like seduction thumps with energy. Think Studio 54, complete with the biggest disco ball this side of 1977.
Alfonso and head of INFINITI product planning, Eric Rigaux, talk about their connection to the QX55 with all the familiarity of strumming an easy G. From his seat, Alfonso waves his hand over the asymmetrical center console he helped design like he's caressing rosin into a bow. Eric talks about the lyric in the QX55's dynamic performance and its harmony in versatility and practicality.
A few weeks later, down three or four flights of dark concrete stairs, INFINITI Chairman Peyman Kargar takes up residence at one of the small bar's well-worn velveteen chairs and soaks in the red light of the Veronique. Like many parts of Tokyo, the Veronique is a refuge of style, a pocket of personality among the hubbub of a big city that wears a colorless uniform by day and dons a vibrant costume by night. The black and white images and concrete walls around Peyman contrast to the flashes of color everywhere else — the furniture, the lights, and most notably, the people.
The splashes of red and green, rich textures, and dark lighting give the Veronique a hip twist — not unlike the lounge next to the Belasco ballroom — where Peyman delivers his business-focused message with all the familiarity of a private chat between two friends.
Time doesn't matter at the Veronique. It's the type of place to get lost in the décor — a cool "bubble" below the city above it. Peyman rolls up his sleeves and makes his own time, except it's the time that a drummer would keep. His ideas are the undercurrent, the rhythm, and a heartbeat for the brand.
"We are reconnecting to the soul of our brand," he says. "INFINITI is about power and serenity. That's who we are."
The beat and the melody harmonize to the QX55 that connect Kargar, Rigaux, and Albaisa with Blacc across an ocean in visually similar confines to connect the four across an ocean. It materializes in a reveal film and stylish crossover with its own soundtrack, one that sounds like soul but embraces different influences everywhere. It reaches back to the FX but adapts its sound to a new era.
Blacc knows that well.
"Fans and audiences, they expect to hear a song the way that they know it. But when you throw in a little bit of an element just to give them that extra novelty," he says. "Yeah, it really does give them a special moment. And they remember that forever."
All four men connect in a special moment, captured across an ocean, and delivered to fans' homes without a hiccup. The common thread is of course the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX55 set to a special, memorable soundtrack.
INFINITI Motor Company is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan with operations around the world including regional offices based in the Americas, China and INFINITI International Markets based in Dubai. The INFINITI brand of premium automobiles are assembled in manufacturing facilities in Japan, North America and China. INFINITI design studios are located in Atsugi-Shi near Yokohama, London, San Diego and Beijing.
More information about INFINITI and its industry-leading technologies can be found at www.INFINITI.com. You can also follow INFINITI on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.
To read more about the all-new 2022 INFINITI QX55, click here