How Simon Cowell’s #Haiti charity single was made (av for download 7-2-10) @MentionHaiti

BBC – Newsbeat – How Simon Cowell’s Haiti charity single was made.


If the list of names doesn’t already give this Haiti charity single a touch of Band Aid, then the choice of location certainly does.

Cheryl Cole, Alexandra Burke, Mika, James Morrison and Susan Boyle have all passed through the doors of Trevor Horn’s Sarm Studios this week, headed for Studio 1.

It’s the same studio that hosted Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s gang in 1984 for the recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas.

Sadly this time there’s no Bono, Sting and Simon Le Bon huddled together round the mic.

Instead each artist is coming in solo to sing a section of the REM classic Everybody Hurts.

This cover version is getting a similar treatment to the 1997 Children in Need take on Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, with each act being asked to record just one or two lines that will then get stitched together digitally to make a complete track.

Leona Lewis has scored the all important opening, laying down her vocals in a Los Angeles studio at the weekend.

That’s where Robbie Williams and Take That will record their contributions later this week, while Michael Buble’s voice has already been added from New York.

SuBo encounter

Over the weekend JLS and Cheryl Cole passed through Studio 1 while on Monday it was the turn of X Factor winners Joe McElderry and Alexandra Burke, who had flown in overnight from her European tour.

Tuesday began with Mika arriving fresh from France to sing. He also gets to be like Phil Collins on Band Aid and play an instrument on the track, a “New Orleans-style piano” to round off the song, as Mika put it.

She was all pumped and ready to go. She was cool, I leant in to give her a kiss but I don’t think she was too keen on giving me a kiss

James Morrison said it was great to meet Susan Boyle Donate to the DEC Haiti earthquake appeal

Even though the studio hire and engineering staff were coming free, each act still only got a 45-minute time slot to nail their vocals.

Mika overran his allotted time so James Morrison had to wait a while, but he was fine as that meant he had time for a quick sarnie from round the corner.

James also had the added bonus of knowing the producer Steve Robson, so was ecstatic with his pre-selected lines.

“He (Steve) said that I’d have the middle eight and I was like, ‘Wicked!’ That’s one of the best bits in the song.”

So that means James spent the afternoon trying to better Michael Stipe by belting out ‘Don’t throw your hand… oh, no… don’t throw your hand.’

By mid-afternoon on Tuesday the artists at Sarm were starting to overlap, allowing James Morrison a rare Susan Boyle encounter.

“She was all pumped and ready to go,” James said. “She was cool, I leant in to give her a kiss but I don’t think she was too keen on giving me a kiss.”

Hardly a “feed the world” group hug moment, but then again this recording was low key in comparison.

Video shot

Each act came in one by one to stand at the single microphone in the voice booth in the middle of the relatively large studio, with that piano for Mika just off to one side.

James Morrison James Morrison was joined by the likes of Rod Stewart and Alexandra Burke

As for SuBo, she admitted she didn’t know this REM song very well so had to learn her part from scratch.

But she thinks it’s a “very nice song” and admits “it was an honour to be picked”.

The day ended with Rod Stewart arriving to add his contribution after Simon Cowell called him personally, although more acts are expected to join in over the coming days.

The video to accompany Everybody Hurts is being made simultaneously with the recording, so in another nod to Band Aid, expect to see a lot of artists at the mic wearing headphones as they sing along.

The estimated release date is 7 February, with proceeds going to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and there’s already talk this could become one of the biggest selling singles of all time.

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