BEHIND THE SCENES: Venezuelan-born Director David Rousseau Captures the Magic of Music Videos with Pitbull, Marc Anthony, Shakira & Enrique Iglesias
When Venezuelan-born director David Rousseau is behind the lens shooting a music video in an exotic location or on a Hollywood studio set, he gets to see another side of stars. While they all shine bright with the glitz and the glam, he also gets glimmers of their vulnerable side while they're working the camera, balancing star power with raw emotion.
There's never a dull moment for Rousseau, who often jet-sets to incredible locations alongside some of the most famous Latin stars on the planet -- from "Mr. Worldwide" aka Pitbull, Marc Anthony, Christina Aguilera to Shakira and Enrique Iglesias. He has also directed music videos for Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Ne-Yo.
Needless to say, Rousseau has a really cool profession, but it comes with a lot of hard work and dedication to capture the magic of the music video. The Miami-based director is known for "his eye for capturing the performance energy of artists combined with sleek imagery, bright colors and innovative graphics," thus making him "one of today's most sought-after directors."
Rousseau spoke with Latin Post in an exclusive interview as he was in Miami, helping out with the voting for the Latin Grammy Awards, which takes place in November. He shared the essence of music videos, which were at an all-time high in the '80s and '90s, and the fact that they're making a comeback in 2015.
"Since I was a kid, my two loves were film and music. So, music videos seemed like the perfect blend of both," he told Latin Post. "When I was growing up, MTV was still playing videos. You got to see those every day as a kid when you'd come home from school. There were some really cool ones (music videos) at night. They would show the classics like Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,' that was everybody's favorite growing up. As I got a little bit older, 'Jeremy' from Pearl Jam and 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' from Lenny Kravitz. This was the classic era for MTV, which was the '80s and '90s."
Over the past decade, a lot has changed on the music video landscape, explained Rousseau, who came to the U.S. when he was a 2-year-old and grew up in "Little Havana," Miami.
"Music videos are coming back around along with the viewership. Last year, I directed some music videos, and they had a billion views combined," referring to "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Kesha and "Rude" by Magic! "Yeah it's online and on YouTube, but it shows that people from all around the world are watching -- and they are watching over and over again. That's great," he added.
A film and music aficionado, Rousseau's goal has always been to make quality "mini-movies."
"They are shot on some really cool locations. You get to shoot beautiful women and there are special effects, you know everything that goes into a movie," he explained. "You just try to make it short, obviously you don't have the budget and time that a movie does, but you also reach a lot of people and if the song takes off then the video is a hit and people from all over the world watch it."
Recently, Rousseau recorded, in Miami, Pitbull's video featuring Gente de Zona for the song "Piensas," which has been a hit on Spanish radio in the U.S. He also recorded a short film, "Spin," which is a romantic story starring Mexican actress Fernanda Romero and actor Jared Lee.
The five-time MTV VMA-nominated director's most outstanding works include Pitbull's video of "I Know You Want Me (Calle 8)," an international hit that reached 193 million views on YouTube, making this one of the most popular videos on the site.
The video "Like it" by Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull was another instant hit on MTV and that summer's sensation. This video was nominated for the 2010 MTV Award for Best Music Video Dance. It was also the No. 1 video on MTV.com, and among the 10 most popular clips of the year.
Rousseau also directed the video "Rain Over Me" with Pitbull and Marc Anthony, reaching 500 million views online. In 2012, he directed the video "Back in Time" by Pitbull, the first single for the movie "Men in Black 3."
"With Pitbull, he's like our Latino James Bond and a GQ-kind of guy," he said. "The way he looks is always important -- the designer shoes, sunglasses, suits. The women in his videos are cast as if they were Bond girls."
"With Marc, Marc's an actor. It's always been important for him to have storyline to get involved with his co-star, or the leading girl," he added. "He's got that Latin, fiery persona. He's so charming. He's more than just a Latin heartthrob. I call him our Latin Frank Sinatra."
"With Enrique (Iglesias), he is just a fun guy. He's a guy's guy," he said. "He's just someone that you want to hang out with. He jokes and he doesn't take himself so seriously. He's a goofball, but when it's time to be romantic, he'll be romantic."
One of Rousseau's favorite music video shoots was filming "Get It Started" with Shakira and Pitbull in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.
"Shakira, she is an icon. She was four or five months pregnant and she had that glow," he said. "That was just her -- just beautiful and her personality really comes through."
While it was challenging shooting in the desert and battling the heat, the wind storms and night chill, Rousseau loved shooting "Rain Over Me" with Pitbull and Marc Anthony, which also featured actress Natalie Martinez. He also enjoyed shooting on the streets of London with John Lennon's son, Julian Lennon.
"What I like to always bring to the table is to really show who they really are, to present that experience. I always tell people that I have the best seat in the house. I have a front row seat. I am right next to the camera," he said.
"I just want people to be wowed by it and understand why these people are the celebrities that they are because they have it -- whatever 'that' is, that 'X factor.' They all have it, so part of my job is to capture it and not get in the way of it, and give people what they want."
Check out behind the scenes footage of "Rain Over Me" with Pitbull and Marc Anthony, "Rude" by Magic! and "International Love" with Pitbull.