Rina Sawayama: ‘ I’ve done a song with Elton John. It’s just insane’

Rina Sawayama: ‘ I’ve done a song with Elton John. It’s just insane’

On Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1, Elton chats with Rina Sawayama about their new track together ‘Chosen Family’ and the meaning behind it, plus working together on the video and more.

Elton on having Rina back on his show and their friendship…

Elton: ‘You’re the first person I’ve ever interviewed twice on my show. Everyone whos listened to the Rocket Hour knows how much I love you and how much we’ve been playing your record. And sinceI’ve first interviewed you over a year ago, probably now, or about a year ago, things have really happened for you. So, I mean, enormous things have happened to you. You’ve had a hundred million streams on your album, ‘Sawayama’. You’ve made the top 10 list in practically every publication for the best album. The most frustrating thing about it is you haven’t been able to go out on the road and promote that record. But on the other hand, I think a lot of people are aware of who you are now, and I’ve become friends with you. And consequently, we’ve made a record together.’

Rina and Elton on working together and their new track ‘Chosen Family’…

Rina: ‘I know. How special and how wonderful to be able to do that during this time where we really couldn’t do anything. And yeah, you’re right. I mean, I’ve been fantasizing about like, “Oh, when Elton comes to my shows.” And that’s been pushed back indefinitely pretty much. So yeah. Doing the song with you was so special, honestly, it was beautiful.’

Elton: ‘Well, you chose the song and it’s called “Chosen Family”, and it’s such a beautiful lyric and it’s kind of one of the two ballads, “Bad Friend” is another ballad on the album. But “Chosen Family” is a song that I feel encompasses the world as it should be, and not the split world that we live in of right, left, hate, love. It’s about coming together and being as one and God, we do need that right now. And so the lyrics really meant a lot to me and to sing on this song, which you recorded your vocal again.’

Rina: ‘Oh my God. Wow. I mean, tell me about. It’s wild thinking about this last year and things that have happened and things that haven’t happened. And the fact that the thing that has happened is that I’ve done a song with Elton John. It’s just insane. And you know, and we’ve actually met in real life now a couple of times, which makes me very happy. And we’ve been able to record it in person, which was really important to me. And I’m really glad that was part of the process as well. And yeah, I mean, your voice sounds so phenomenal that I was like, “I can’t just keep my vocals in there like that. I need to switch it up. I just need to improve it.”But the meaning of “Chosen Family”, I feel like is so important right now. Some people are just really, not just like on a mental level, like, “Oh, this is hard because we’re locked down.” Like some people, are experiencing more abuse because they’re at home or some kids who are LGBT are with their parents who don’t accept them. I can’t imagine the sort of heartbreaks and hardships that people are going through. So yeah, I really hope this reaches people.’

Rina and Elton on the video and photoshoot for ‘Chosen Family’…

Elton: ‘We did a video together, and we did a photo shoot together and an interview for the New York Times. And I have to tell people that you are so brilliant to work with, because you’ve got it nailed down. Some people are slow, they don’t know what they want. You have the inner ability to know exactly what you want. That comes across on a record, and you’re very decisive in what you want. And I really find that so appealing, because some people, they procrastinate and you think, “Oh God.” But not you. Not, you Rina.’

Rina: ‘I think I’m just impatient. I know what I want. Or I know what kind of angles might work and things like that. And because I think it’s honestly, because I started out being independent. I wasn’t signed. So I was doing my own music videos and having to know everything and how to do everything. So I’ve kind of done a lot of different jobs, I guess, even onset. So yeah, but I mean, it was amazing. I mean, the crew was lovely, and yeah. I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s so gorgeous.

Elton: ‘Well, I can’t wait to see it either. And it was just wonderful to work with you. As I said, I can’t wait to come and see one of your shows. Foreverybody who hasn’t heard the ‘Sawayama’album. It still sounds even better than when I first heard it. So go and check it out. And Rina, thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for making that record. It’s amazing. It’s serendipity. And it’s the great thing about doing this show is that I get to meet people like yourself, who are new artists and I connect with them and I go to record with them sometimes. And it’s wonderful. So thank you for doing that.’

Rina: ‘Honestly the honour is all mine. It’s been the most incredible year because of you. So thank you.’

Elton: ‘All right. Well, listen, we’re about to play “Chosen Family”right now. Here we go.’

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