music videosTake a trip around the world in 13 music videos…

Ever since I saw Enrique Inglesias’ music video for “Bailando,” I haven’t stopped thinking about dancing the night away on the cobblestone streets of Old Havana. While the music video days of MTV and VH1 may be a thing of yesteryear, luckily musicians themselves haven’t given up on this medium of film. More and more, artists have begun to break out of the confines of a studio set in favor of using the very best the world has to offer. In this repertoire, Charli XCX brings her British cool to the likes of Amsterdam, Nicki Minaj displays some hometown pride in Trinidad, and Justin Bieber becomes an unofficial tourism ambassador for Iceland. All you need to do is press ‘play’ to start your adventures. Happy listening! ♪

Enrique Inglesias, “Bailando”

Shot in: the Dominican Republic The king of Latin Pop brings his crooning to the streets of Santo Domingo. For a song all about dance, local performers take center stage. Flamenco meets reggaeton as the female protagonist, a vision in red, leads a troupe of elegant flamenco dancers in an encounter with a pack of soccer-savvy street dancers. The heady, seductive strums of the Spanish guitar will have you out of your chair in no time.

Coldplay feat. Beyonce, “Hymm of the Weekend”

Shot in: India Capturing the carefree vibes of the subcontinent, this romantic take on India will leave you in rapture. Beyonce plays an ultra-sensualized Bollywood film star while Chris Martin portrays the dreamy-eyed Westerner backpacker archetype, gazing out of his rickshaw in pure amazement. The ornate scenes delve into the world of Hindu mysticism and pay tribute to the traditions of Holi as streaks of light rain from the sky upon color-drenched individuals. 

Justin Bieber, I’ll Show You

Shot in: Iceland In the midst of Iceland’s haunting landscape of mossy hills and gushing waterfalls, we see a pop superstar completely unbothered and unhindered. The topographical masterpiece that is Iceland lends itself beautifully to the message of freedom, with Bieber engaging in (slightly) risky activities that attest to his need to just Be-ib. There’s nothing more honest than watching a public figure so jaded appreciating new surroundings with a childlike innocence.

Taylor Swift, “Begin Again”

Shot in: France Soft, muted pastels will make your heart ache in Swift’s “Begin Again.” The romantic tone is set the minute the video opens with a shot of her looking out onto the River Seine on the now-defunct Locks of Love Bridge. She traipses around Paris from public garden to boulangerie to cafe, living out every girl’s dream of visiting Paris in the springtime. The scenes of her on the rooftop with the Eiffel Tower in the skyline as she walks around with her lavender chiffon dress billowing in the breeze are exceptionally heavenly.

Rita Ora, “Shine Ya Light”

Shot in: Kosovo Although raised in the UK, Ora is a proud export of Kosovo and she affirms that pride in this music video venturing around the capital city of Pristina. The video shows footage of live performances around Pristina, as well as an exploration of the local neighborhoods with a crowd of starstruck children. The clips go back and forth between staged segments of Ora singing on the back of a motorbike, and candid moments with fans welcoming her back to her homeland and street scenes of everyday Kosovoan life.

The Killers, “Shot At The Night”

Shot in: Las Vegas, USA The Las Vegas-based rock band give us a tour of their hometown in this music video with artsy displays of the skyline through hotel room windows and a quick opening timelapse of Vegas by night. Departing from their usual penchant for debauchery, this video actually has a storyline. A disenchanted hotel maid played by actress Bella Heathcote gets her very own “shot at the night” when she encounters a charming hotel guest, played by Max Minghella. She’s whisked away by her new love interest and the two take a joyride around the glitzy city.

Vinz and Nico, “Am I Wrong?”

Shot in: Botswana and Zimbabwe The Norwegian duo highlight the rich beauty of the misunderstood African continent in their chart-topping hit, “Am I Wrong.” According to the artists, their desire to shoot in Bostwana and Zimbabwe was in an effort to combat the negative images of Africa showing a poverty-and-war stricken continent. Instead, only the positive is focused upon with images of a sundrenched landscape and its local people all smiles, surging with vibrant energy.

Kaiser Chefs, “Man on Mars”

Shot in: Japan Tokyo has been given the music video treatment for decades now but the Kaiser Chiefs’ “Man on Mars” won a spot on the list for a deeply personal view of the city. Consisting of footage entirely from their trip to Japan in 2011 where they performed at the Fuji Rock Festival, its plays out like a video diary of the experience. The group is given an insider’s look at Tokyo with the help of their fans, as seen in shots where they are dining izakaya-style and being entertained by a feel-good karaoke show.

Nicki Minaj, “Pound the Alarm”

Shot in: Trinidad and Tobago Nicki Minaj struts her stuff on the streets of her homeland in this music video rife with fun as depicted by the fire-breathers and steel-drummers . The Trini bombshell makes the video look more like a promotional video for the island’s Carnival festivities with an entourage of ladies dressed in their finest Carnival regalia, feather headdresses and all. The joy is palpable from this homegrown talent and if anything, we can see why: Trinidad and Tobago is just as electric as their beloved songstress. Summer vacation destination anyone?

One Direction, “One Thing”

Shot in: England Before the breakup, there was that time when this generation’s biggest boy band were happily frolicking about in London, in the vein of the greats before them. It’s reminiscent of those comical clips of Beatles running away from frenzied fans. They romp around the main tourist circuit giving some lucky, adoring fans a free sidewalk show (and possibly a heart attack — man, are prepubescent girls intense or what?) . Their escapade also features the classic British red double-decker bus that whisks them past the likes of the Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.

Solange Knowles, “Losing You”

Shot in: South Africa We venture on down to the township of Langa in Cape Town with Beyoncé’s equally talented younger sister to see a glimpse of a cultural scene that is rarely brought to attention. Inspired by the look of the Congolose Le Sape Society (Society for the Advancement of People of Elegance,) men gallivant down the streets in flashy pantsuits while Solange playfully dances around the neighborhood. She actually flew down the group of friends featured in her video to create a genuine sense of camaraderie. If anything, it’s a tribute to community, both local ones and our personal tribes.

Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”

Shot in: The Netherlands Charli XCX’s soundtrack contribution to the film, The Fault in Our Stars, was a catchy synth-pop tune that elicited the feelings of young love. To tie in the movie, Charli XCX brought her film crew to Amsterdam, a significant location in the book/movie for the two star-crossed lovers, Hazel and Gus. As she floats down the city’s famous canals, she sings her electro-pop ballad with footage from the movie interspersed throughout. You’ll have all the feels after watching this video!

Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams, “Beautiful”

Shot in: Brazil In the opening we see a little boy racing through the narrow alleways of Rio’s favelas to deliver a phone call to Snoop Dogg. The scene transitions to a quick scope of Rio de Janeiro and follows up with Snoop and Pharrell laying out some rhymes on the iconic Escadaria Selarón (The Selearon Steps). The song is meant to be a tribute to the most beautiful ladies in the world but my eyes are more drawn to the urban setting itself.

Anything you have to add to the list? Comment below! #wheretonext



Filipina-American Millette Stambaugh is a thirty-something former expat who has traded her nomadic ways for Philadelphia living. Corporate worker by day, content creator by night, Millette specializes in visual storytelling and joyful journeys and wants to help others find their "next somewheres." Follow her escapades on Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok @thenextsomewhere.


  • May 6, 2016

    This is a cool idea! If someone asked me to put together a list like this it would have taken me forever to think of just one music video! I am really feeling Beibs video, haha I love how it’s shot. Also, great write ups on each of these videos, I feel like your descriptions are perfect. As always, love your creativity! Thanks for sharing!

  • May 8, 2016

    What a fantastic post Izzy! I loved going on a round the world trip though these music videos. Such a fun way to get a glimpse into places I will never get a chance to visit. It’s given me some ideas to do something similar for South Africa haha.
    Thank you for sharing, I also really enjoyed your descriptions!

  • May 9, 2016

    Thank you for sharing these, Izzy. I feel like I’ve traveled around the world without even living my bedroom 😉
    Love the Bieber’s video — made me want to go to Iceland even more now. Such a beautiful country. And considering Amsterdam is one of my fav place in the whole world, the Charlie XCX’s video made me reminisce the good times I’ve had in that city.

  • May 9, 2016

    What a unique post, I enjoyed learning that some of our beloved artists actually travel around instead of using a green screen (a cheaper option but not as adventurous). Unfortunately, using all the videos, made your post/page load longer than usual. Either way nice job!

  • May 9, 2016

    I love how music is so international nowadays. Music is amazing and I love how it can take us to certain times and certain places. I can tell your post was really well researched! Iceland is a new bucket list of mine and I want to travel to South Africa so bad! I have friends down there and it sounds and looks like a wonderful country!

  • May 9, 2016

    Loving your creativity as always! I think this is such a great post idea and certainly one that I wouldn’t have thought of! I’m going to watch some of these later out of curiosity. Thanks for sharing!

  • May 9, 2016

    What a great idea for a post. I’m no Bieber fan, but I do love Iceland!! My wifi is a bit slow here at the moment, so I’m going to bookmark this and check out the rest of the videos when I can.

  • May 9, 2016

    I love Snoop Dog & Pharell’s Beautiful song. I didn’t even think twice about where it was shot but it’s cool to know now. It’s an eye opener to see where all of these music videos were shot. Lucky artists able to travel all the time!

  • May 9, 2016

    At first I had to double take at the Justin Bieber suggestion but then watching the video – just stunning – super wanderlust (Iceland is high up on our bucket list). Very cool idea for a blog post by the way 🙂

  • May 9, 2016

    Great list, Izzy! Oh the days of music videos on MTV. I remember waking up early on Saturdays with my brother so we could do the music video vote battles!

  • May 10, 2016

    This is really cool!! You know, we see so many locations in music videos and movies each day and never really take the time to think about where they are being filmed. I will start to be more alert thanks to this post!! 🙂 I love it!


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