Ahead of the all-new season of Dancing With the Stars, the two-time mirrorball champion has teamed up with the talented Teddy Coffey (So You Think You Can Dance, season 11) for a delightful project that has him trading in his dance skills for rap bars. Now, ET is exclusively premiering the funky music video for "Growing Pains," which is Coffey's first-ever single, and the lead track off his upcoming debut EP, 2 a.m.
Coffey and Chmerkovskiy shared the story of how the collaboration came to be in an exclusive chat with ET last week. Coffey said that initial discussions about collaborating on a music project with Chmerkovskiy began while he was touring the country with the DWTS pro and his older brother, Maksim.
"Growing up, from the age of four on, I loved dancing, but I also had the same type of love for singing," explained Coffey, 24, who's also danced for artists like Christina Aguilera and the Backstreet Boys. "I started writing music when I was about 15 years old, so music has definitely been in the works for a while. The timing just felt right [now] ... I feel like at this moment in my life, it's the time to, not transition away from dance, but to branch out to reach other goals and dreams of mine."
"I'm excited for the world to see Teddy do his thing as a musician; it's been a long time coming," Chmerkovskiy added. "I'm grateful to have been a small part of his project, and hopefully it excites my fans to check it out."
While the video is filled with plenty of fun moments from beginning to end, one of the most memorable scenes is when we see Chmerkovskiy rapping. He told ET that it was an idea he actually pitched to Coffey.
"That verse I wrote, it probably took 20 minutes to write, and then another two hours to second guess and troubleshoot," Chmerkovskiy, 33, joked. "I always loved to write spoken word and poetry and dabbled in hip hop a little as well [in] my younger days, a long, long time ago. So on tour, we were just hanging out, having a good time, and we were exposed to Teddy's incredible musical talent beyond the dancing. I was like, 'Yo, you should definitely pursue this. You should definitely record it. If you need any help, I'm always here for you.'"
"Fast-forward maybe a year later, he's really doing it!" he continued. "He sent this song over and was like, 'Hey, check this out, tell me what you think.' And I was like, 'This is actually a really dope sound. I wrote a little something to it, you know, just vibing to it. If you like it, cool.' I had no intentions of actually recording anything for this song, but he loved it. And he was like, 'Yo, let's do it. Let's go to the studio and make it happen!' So it happened."
Chmerkovskiy said that his love of hip hop began when he was just a kid, after he and his family immigrated to South Brooklyn, New York, when he was eight years old.
"Hip hop was the sound of the streets that I grew up in, and obviously Biggie [Smalls] was the Jesus of that era," he recalled. "I grew up listening to Biggie, I grew up listening to New York City sounds. But I love all genres of hip hop. I like storytelling, and the New York poets kinda told the best stories, for me, at least. So Biggie, Nas, Big L, Wu-Tang Clan. These are some of the artists I grew up listening to."
Directed by Coffey's childhood friend, Cameron Thuman, and produced by Jonah McLean, the video was shot in Los Angeles over a course of six days. It features bright visuals, rad costumes and joyous choreography that is bound to make anyone smile.
"For my first music video, it was very crucial for me that I brought what my life has kind of been based upon, dance, into the visuals. My aunt, Cindy Post, was my dance teacher growing up, so she and I choreographed what you see in this video together," Coffey explained. "The video has this vibrant, very colorful, almost outdated retro vibe in certain parts of it. And then obviously with Val, he's like the cherry on top! I'm super grateful to have him in the music video and on the track as well."
"He believed in 'Growing Pains' enough to want to write on this one. It spoke to him like it speaks to me, and I hope that it speaks to the world," he continued. "I hope that people can relate because it's a super exciting time for me. I'm very grateful for all the people that are in my life that helped me get to this point. It's just the beginning."
Watch the official music video for "Growing Pains" below:
Director: Cameron Thuman
Producer: Dilan Mistry at NativeFour
Co-Producer: Dakoda Smith
Cinematographer: Drew Gardella
Production Designer: Jamie Weiss
Editor: Josh Whitaker
Choreographer: Teddy Coffey and Cindy Post
Dancers: Floris Bosveld, Lindsey Desrosiers, James Marino, Hailee Payne