Elton John, always listening

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(AFP) – With an equivalent career, other megastars lock themselves in their ivory towers and repeat themselves: not Elton John, always on the lookout, who sings with young shoots far from his universe, such as Young Thug, Nicki Minaj or 6LACK.

A 33 years, the singer became the first to rank in total 33 singles in the top 10 on the UK charts over six decades (the latest being “Cold Heart”, a recent duet with Dua Lipa).

What be stone? Completely the opposite. The singer of “Rocket Man” released Friday “The Lockdown Sessions”, a new album made entirely of collaborations. If he rubs shoulders with other monuments of his generation, such as Stevie Wonder or Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), he also rubs shoulders with rappers, such as Young Thug, 6LACK, Nicki Minaj or even the electro of SG Lewis.

“I learned from everyone. At my age when you always learn from other musicians, that’s the greatest gift there is,” says Elton John during a zoom-in Q&A with international journalists at the end of September (before the hip operation which suspends its farewell world tour). “To say that I would have covered the matter would be the end of everything. I’m more excited by the music than ever,” he asserts.

Sir Elton said to have been amazed by the “freestyles” (kinds of improvisations) of the rappers with whom he worked during these confinement sessions (translation of “Lockdown Sessions”), sometimes by zoom.

And the composer of “Your Song” urged his microphone partners not to spare him, to take him to their field.

– “Maybe he was intimidated” –

“SG Lewis had me first offered something too + Eltonjohnnien + (laughs), maybe he was intimidated or afraid to insult me. But I wanted to be insulted (laughs), then we got to what we were looking for ” , confides the man with more than 74 million albums sold.

“The Lockdown Sessions” brings together songs made for his album but also those for the records of other artists, like s es collaborations for the last Gorillaz (project of Damon Albarn, ex-leader of Blur) or, more surprisingly, for “The Metallica Blacklist”, tribute album of 30 years of Metallica’s “Black Album”.

Elton John covers “Nothing Else Matters” alongside notably Miley Cyrus, Robert Trujillo (bassist of Metallica) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer). “The idea was to start and finish on the piano, while it’s a piece on the guitar at the start, it’s a different way of seeing the piece, it’s fun,” he laughs.

And when he talks about this ballad, “Captain Fantastic” (nickname inherited from one of his albums from 1975 ) Frankly goes, as Metallica frontman James Hetfield recently said.

– “Not possible that this guy say that! ” –

“Elton John was on zoom and he said + Nothing Else Matters is one of the most beautiful melodies, one of the most beautiful ballads / love songs ever written +. And there, I said to myself + It’s not possible for this guy to say that! + (…) It’s a huge compliment “, confided the guitarist-howler in a recent interview on Apple Music 1.

And the pop icon loves to play in the register drawn by others, which reminds him of his past as a “studio musician”. And to remember fondly the sessions with the Hollies, when he was at the piano for them, in the famous London studios of Abbey Road in 1969 for “He Ain ‘ t Heavy, He’s My Brother “.

You should know that Elton John, as at that time, is still a music fanatic, he who, by his own admission, would have probably finished record store if he had not broken into showbiz. And there is not much that escapes his radar.

Asked about young talents who refuse the label of a regular sexual genre, he quotes, among others , Oliver Sim (The xx), Jake Wesley Rogers, Perfume Genius, Arlo Parks or even St. Vincent.

Who does he dream of working with now? The answer bursts out: “Billie Eilish blew me away, it’s wonderful to see a flower become such a beautiful tree, but for now it is making its own way.”

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