Elton John and Rina Sawayama wanted to make sure their new collaboration had meaning.
John and Sawayama joined Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to discuss their new team-up, “Chosen Family”. For John, the song serves as a warning that something must be done about toxic online engagements.
“We’ve seen social media being used to abuse people racially,” John asserted. “Not just being gay, but racially as well. And I just thought this song spoke about bringing people together and loving at a time when people are so hateful to each other and that the world is so divisive.”
“It’s all down to the hateful messaging that people are putting on their social network. And we have to do something about it,” he continued. “They have to be accountable for what they say. It’s making the world really divided and it’s really cruel.”
For Sawayama, “Chosen Family” is rooted in the restraints queer people face in unsupportive homes.
“It was just really my genuine feelings towards my friends,” Sawayama said. “Some of my friends have been kicked out at 17 for being gay because their parents are very religious and they’ve literally had to fend for themselves. And since then, I have friends who haven’t come out to their parents yet and they’re nearly 30.”
“I think especially this year, it’s been really important, the idea of family being rather flexible, and I can’t imagine all the queer people who have had to endure hardship at home,” she added. “It’s just a very straight up love song to my friends, which then I realized when I wrote about it really applied to other people as well.”
John discovered Sawayama and featured her on his Apple Music 1 Show Rocket Hour.
“When I first heard the record, I just thought it was like nothing else I’d heard from a female artist for a long time. It was every sort of music, all different influences there, but it was our own style. And I was just blown away and I just had to get her on the program to talk to her.”
“To be honest with you, I was just so blown away, not by just her music, but her attitude, her confidence, her demeanour. Everything about her has star written all over it.”
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