Source: The Guardian
Music icon and living legend Sir Elton John on September 1, announced the imminent release of his new album The Lockdown Sessions, which he made following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic during the subsequent lockdown period. The album comprises 16 tracks, including ten previously unreleased songs, featuring an array of A-list stars from different generations and genres. The singer’s 32nd studio album features Charlie Puth, Rina Sawayama, Stevie Wonder, Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa, Eddie Vedder, Brandi Charlie, Gorillaz, Miley Cyrus, Years & Years, Young Thug, and a host of others.
According to the celebrated septuagenarian, creating an album during the lockdown was the furthest thing from his plans. Due to the pandemic, he had been forced to adjourn his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, and the ensuing uncertainty of events was more than enough to deal with.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, for which music fans worldwide would be very thankful, a series of solo projects somehow dovetailed into the album’s production. “The last thing I expected to do during lockdown was make an album. But as the pandemic went on, one-off projects kept cropping up,” Elton said. “Some of the recording sessions had to be done remotely, via Zoom, which I had obviously never done before. Some of the sessions were recorded under very stringent safety regulations: working with another artist but separated by glass screens.”
Piece by piece, over 18 months, the album came together despite the unique challenges presented by the lockdown measures. Elton remarked that he was forced into a vastly unfamiliar musical territory for this body of work, immersing himself in electronic dance music, country music, and hip-hop—at times, all within the same song. “All the tracks I worked on were really interesting and diverse, stuff that was completely different to anything I’m known for, stuff that took me out of my comfort zone into completely new territory,” Elton shared. “And I realized there was something weirdly familiar about working like this.”
Pushing beyond his limits, Sir Elton rediscovered a part of himself that seemed to have been gone with the ages. He recalled, “At the start of my career, in the late ’60s, I worked as a session musician. Working with different artists during lockdown reminded me of that. I had come full circle: I was a session musician again. And it was still a blast.”
The opening track of his album, “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix),” featuring Dua Lipa, debuted at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking Elton’s first entry on the chart in over two decades and his 68th overall entry. In addition, there is a version of the hit song by Pet Shop Boys—It’s a Sin—which Elton made in collaboration with Years & Years, and a cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”—also planned for release as part of Metallica covers album later in the month.
The Lockdown Sessions is scheduled to be released on October 22 by EMI Universal.
Presently, Elton is advancing preparations to restart his swansong tour on September 28 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He added 31 dates and venues to the tour across the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe, stretching the tour’s final date to May 2023.