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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Melissa Etheridge Rewinds Her Career: ‘Come to My Window,’ ‘Thunder Road’ & More

Entered in Documentary


According to Google, 68% of people who watch music online do so when they’re feeling nostalgic. To tap into a Gen X audience and connect new viewers with classic hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s, we produced a long-form compilation video featuring the legendary rock star, cancer survivor, and LGBTQ+ icon Melissa Etheridge.

Melissa Etheridge sat down with us to share little-known stories behind some of her biggest hits and most influential live performances, including an acoustic duet with Bruce Springsteen and her heart-pounding rendition of Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart at the 2005 GRAMMYS. 

Etheridge’s rock anthems about love and heartache dominated the airwaves throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, and her unique style and voice helped shape the sound of that era. Our objective with this video was to transport our audience back to that time and reignite their memories, while also gifting them with Etheridge’s personal stories behind the music.

Strategy and Execution

We had limited time with Etheridge during her interview so before production we conducted a lot of research on her most popular songs and most watched performances on YouTube. We were then able to optimize our time with Etheridge to talk about the backstories of those songs and performances to get the most unique and surprising information. 

With the edit, we incorporated many elements that would tap into the nostalgia of Etheridge’s music. For example, we designed our own cassette/VHS tape graphic to introduce each song/performance to connect with the format that audiences were using to play her music at that time.  We also showed archival footage of Etheridge singing her hits from the ‘80s to today to both show her career longevity and continue to spark that flame of recognition in our viewers.

Finally, we launched an effort to publish this compilation video on multiple platforms across AARP. The compilation was published on AARP.ORG and teased in the Dec/Jan issue of AARP The Magazine with a unique QR code that linked directly to the video. It was also published in full on AARP’s Flagship YouTube channel, and on AARP’s Facebook, the video is being optimized for the platform, by breaking it into 3 shorter episodes.


In its first month on Facebook, the first episode for this video has received over 300K views. The YouTube audience is also responding well, with likes and comments continuing to grow. The comments especially show that our goal of using nostalgia to reach our audience was reached.  Some of these comments include: “I love her songs, her voice!” “Been waiting for this one for some time, Great Interview!” and “One of the best things that ever happened to music.... she's been a "friend" since the 80's”.


Video for Melissa Etheridge Rewinds Her Career: ‘Come to My Window,’ ‘Thunder Road’ & More

Entrant Company / Organization Name

AARP Studios


Entry Credits