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For Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Soul2Soul isn’t just the name of their upcoming fragrance masterbrand. It aptly describes their 15-year marriage, as evidenced by the warm-spirited back-and-forth the couple shared during a phone interview.
This story first appeared in the October 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The first tour [in 2000] that Tim and I did together was called Soul2Soul,” said Hill, “so that name originated there. When our fans think of us together, besides thinking of family, they probably do think about their experience with [the tour.] It was important to us to give them something that was familiar.”
McGraw added, “Soul2Soul has sort of become synonymous with us doing something together and touring together. So, doing fragrances together, it just seemed like a natural name to use.”
While each had their own scents with Coty Beauty before undertaking this project — which is due out, naturally, in February for Valentine’s Day — each had in the past given the other credit for helping their own projects along by testing samples and ideas, which led to plans to do a fragrance duet.
“It’s something we’d been thinking of doing since I started in fragrance [McGraw’s first scent with Coty Beauty launched in August 2008; Hill’s first followed in October 2009],” said McGraw. “We always thought it would be cool and a natural progression.”
Added Hill: “It’s been a collaborative effort, for both of us, from the beginning. Individually, we have very specific things that we like and dislike, and we just started from that point. The bottles represent individually what we are — one more feminine, one a little more masculine,” Hill laughed and corrected herself: “Much more masculine, and the scents represented things that Tim and I love of the country we live in, especially of the South. There are specific things that are distinctive to this area, and it was important that those were included.” Those ingredients include oak tree, rosewood and Georgia white peach.
“It’s amazing how a scent can change depending on how much you add of one thing or another,” said Hill. “There’s a science to it, but it’s really, truly almost like baking. The combination of things that make a beautiful scent are unique; not what you would expect sometimes. I think that’s been the most surprising thing.”
“It’s been interesting for me, that the thing you put in a scent — I hate to say this word, but notes,” McGraw started, while Hill added, “you said it!” McGraw continued, “Things like oak tree, and rosewood, and white pepper — you never think of those things, although I’m a guy and I never think of these things anyway — as being part of a scent. You can start with a whole collection of separate things, and you whittle it down and they all start to come together and make something.”
When asked how each would compare composing a song to concocting a fragrance, Hill quipped, “Well, there’s a beginning, and there’s an end.”
McGraw said he starts with the macro rather than the micro. “I’m not scientific about detail — with music or with fragrance,” he said. “For me, it’s not about picking out little details. I try to get a general sense of what I like and start putting my pile together of the different things. With music, you sort of figure out what you want to say and what kind of an emotion you want to inspire, and I guess that’s probably the way in which [music and fragrances are] most alike. What emotion are you trying to inspire here? How do you want this song to make you feel? It’s the same way with creating a scent. It’s all about emotions.”
“And memories,” added Hill.
Soul2Soul Faith Hill, concocted with International Flavors & Fragrances, is a floral fruity fragrance with top notes of Georgia white peach and grapefruit; a heart of everlasting flower, princess rose and lotus flower, and a drydown of cucumber and sensual sandalwood. Soul2Soul Tim McGraw, created with Firmenich, is an aromatic woodsy fragrance which opens with notes of spicy bergamot, white pepper and blackberry brandy accord; a heart of everlasting flower, oak tree, saffron and cilantro, and a drydown of sensual woods and musks. Uniting the two: everlasting, a precious flower that never withers, symbolizes eternity, consistency and eternal love, which is in the heart of both fragrances.
Both fragrances are eaux de toilette available in three sizes — 0.5 oz. for $18, 1 oz. for $24.50 and 1.7 oz. for $31.50 — and will be sold in about 16,000 mass market doors in the U.S.
TV and print advertising are planned, both shot by Bruce Weber. The print campaign is intended to capture the story of their relationship, while the black-and-white TV campaign depicts a series of private moments, said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty. Print ads will begin appearing in March fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines, while TV is slated for the masterbrand’s February launch and Mother’s Day. Mormoris declined to discuss sales projections and advertising spending, but industry sources estimated that the masterbrand would do about $20 million at retail in its first year on counter, with about $5 million devoted to advertising and promotion. A personal appearance at Ulta in Chicago is scheduled in February, said Mormoris.
Who do they think the end users of their fragrances will be? “For me, every woman, I hope,” said Hill.
“Look, I’m not picturing any guy spraying anything on himself,” said a mock-serious McGraw, sending Hill into another giggle before she added, “Good answer.”
“All kidding aside, any guy,” said McGraw. “For me, from a guy who’s going out on the weekend to have a few beers to a guy going out on a nice dinner with his wife. That, for me, is the perfect scent that I would want to use.”
Will they do more fragrances together? McGraw is frank: “Hell, I don’t know,” he said. Hill shot back, “Absolutely! I’m sure that we will.”
“I like the collaborative process with her, for sure,” said McGraw. “We’ve got it pretty much down. Basically, I get to a certain point and finally just say, ‘What do you think, Faith?’”
Collaborative also describes how the two work on many things — whether it’s singing, their numerous philanthropic projects or raising their three daughters, Gracie, Maggie and Audrey. The military is a special point of their charity work: McGraw’s 2007 hit “If You’re Reading This (I’m Already Home)” pays tribute to troops who have lost their lives in the Middle East conflicts, and he is giving a free concert for military personnel at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California on Nov. 13. Both McGraw and Hill have done numerous benefit concerts for military personnel. “Those guys are the truest heros of anybody we know or have,” said McGraw. “Those are the guys who put their life on the line to make sure that our kids can go to school, we can wake up every morning and have our cup of coffee, and get in our cars and drive down the road and not have to worry about anything.”
Hill added, “Not only our soldiers, but the [families] who are left behind.”
Of his burgeoning film career — which has included roles in “The Blind Side” and “Country Strong” — McGraw said, “It’s a matter of timing. I’ve got my real job [music], so I’ve got to find time to do something else. You also have to find a project that you like and a project that’s going to be filmed during the time which I actually have available, and if all that happens, they’ve got to want me. I can’t just walk up and say ‘I want this part,’ and they give it to me. But there are a few things I’m looking at.”
Hill is hard at work on her eighth studio album, due in 2012. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m excited to finally have a studio album — it’s been several years,” she said, noting that she wrote some of the songs on the album. “That’s my focus right now. I don’t want to dissect it too much, especially before people hear it, but it’s probably the most soulful album I’ve ever made. I had a blast collaborating with lots of writers on this album. It’s been a long, tedious and exhilarating experience. Because I’m nearing the end of the album, I really feel an urgency to get it out there.”
McGraw plans to start recording his newest album this winter. “I’m gathering material and writing, and I’ll be ready to go here before too long.” As for his subjects? “I just write about what I know, which is life, and a little bit about growing up and what it means to be alive today — about being a father, being a husband, about being a man in this world — all of those things,” he said.
When asked to reveal one song that they’d most like to be remembered for, McGraw is quick to answer: “Live Like You Were Dying,” which he began performing while his late father, Tug McGraw, was dying from cancer. “It is one of those things that I felt like I was just a conduit for,” he said. “It’s such an anthem about how to live your life.
“For one that I did with my wife, it would be ‘To Feel Your Love,’ because it was the first one that we did together, and it’s always been real special to us.”
“I think so too,” Hill added. “Also, ‘Breathe.’ But that’s so hard for me to say. Maybe I haven’t had mine yet.”
“[‘Breathe’] was such a pivotal, huge record, but at the same time, it was just sonically one of the best-sounding records that’s ever been on the radio,” said McGraw. “When ‘Breathe’ starts out with that acoustic guitar, it just grabs you instantly. It’s such a great record.”