SHEFFIELD song king Eliot Kennedy and best pal Gary Barlow really have been mixing with Royalty - they’ve recorded Prince Harry and a cast of hundreds for the official Diamond Jubilee song, Sing, writes Graham Walker.
Grammy award winner Eliot teamed up with Take That superstar Barlow to co-produce the song on a whistle-stop round-the-world trip of the Commonwealth.
VIDEO: Press the play button for highlights from the official music video and our chat with Eliot about making the record.
They recorded music icons and talented members of the public, mainly using just a laptop and a hand-held device, in locations ranging from Australia’s Sydney Opera House to wooden shacks in Kenya, mountain tops in Jamaica and the exotic Solomon Islands.
Then it was back to his Steelworks studio to piece together the song. So, in part, it’s made in Sheffield.
The song was then mixed at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios and now Eliot will join Barlow and a huge cast to perform it live as part of the Diamond Jubilee Concert, in front of the Queen at Buckingham Palace, on Monday, June 4.
The track, written by Barlow and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, features 210 musicians from across the Commonwealth, including the Military Wives choir, assembled by Gareth Malone, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Band, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, young drummers from Kenya’s Kibera slum and the Australian musician Gurrumul.
Eliot, who has written and produced superstars from Take That to The Spice Girls, said one of the biggest thrills was to get Prince Harry to take part during his visit to Jamaica, where they were recording celebrated reggae rhythm section Sly & Robbie and Dr No guitarist Ernest Ranglin.
The Prince declined to sing but agreed to bash a tambourine, which Eliot personally recorded and mixed into the song.
He said: “Prince Harry was pretty sure that we weren’t going to use it, but we have. It’s in the track. I’ve actually put it in myself.
“A lot of it has been recorded on my hand-held digital stereo recorder. Literally I’ve been sticking it in front of people and recording them, including Prince Harry. And it sounds amazing.
“Everyone we talked to wanted to be involved and we’ve been to some fantastic places.
“It’s been an amazing project and a phenomenal opportunity. I feel extremely honoured to have been doing it for our Queen.
“Now I’m going to be performing it with Gary and a huge cast on the Diamond Jubilee show. I’ve no idea how many people will be watching world-wide. I don’t want to know. It will be terrifying.”
Sing, out on Decca Records on May 28, will feature on a commemorative Jubilee album.