Thought you heard a rare voiceover in Apple’s latest summer campaign, “Nap,” promoting iPhone X’s FaceID? That’s not an ad pitchman bellowing “Nice … so nice” while a backyard enthusiast interrupts his mid-day nap to check his messages.
In fact, those are the pipes of Dennis White, a.k.a. DJ/producer Latroit, whose latest single, “Nice,” scored the coveted slot in one of Apple’s most visible TV commercials ($14.4 million in estimated ad spend across more than 1,200 national airings since July 7, according to iSpot.TV).
Though White is perhaps best known for his work as a remixer, having taken home the 2018 best remixed recording Grammy for his work on Depeche Mode’s “You Move (Latroit Remix),” the process of climbing the Mount Everest of synch summits began back in 2016.
“We were just kidding around in the studio, and I was just making a joke when we were making the song,” White explains of his unplanned vocal feature. “It’s funny, the idea that a little bit take in the studio three years ago ended up in a commercial like this.”
After completing the initial demo for “Nice” in 2016, White shared it with Jeannette Perez, president of global synch and brand partnerships at his publisher Kobalt, who then started playing the long game of getting the track on Apple’s radar. Years went by as White’s self-professed “ridiculous song” waited in the wings until Perez resurfaced this past May to share the news that Apple wanted to license the track for an upcoming campaign. White had a million questions for the mercurial company that ultimately went unanswered for two months: “What ad is it for?” “Where’s this gonna air?” “What do you mean, they won’t tell you?”
White was in Barcelona for recording sessions in early July when he received a link to the spot from his manager. “I was screaming in this apartment I was renting, just running around. That was the triumph. I haven’t been congratulated for something this much since I won that Grammy last year. It felt like I had won a major award, and it’s interesting that it comes across that way to anybody who hears about this achievement. It is a life event.”
Though White has had success elsewhere in the synch world through his recent partnership with Roc Nation (his remix of Dorothy’s “Ain’t Our Time To Die” was featured in a June trailer for Ubisoft’s “Tom Clancy Division 2”), he’s still just beginning to process what fresh opportunities may come his way from the Apple spot.
“There was an actor who once said to me, ‘Never let any idea you have get away. Just finish it, don’t get in your own way,’” White recalls. “If you’ve been given an idea by the universe, just see it through because you have no idea what people are going to react to.”
Songs for Screens is a Variety column sponsored by music experiential agency MAC Presents, based in NYC. It is written by Andrew Hampp, founder of music marketing consultancy 1803 LLC and former correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column highlights noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as film and TV. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ahampp.