Rina Sawayama is revisiting her powerful ballad “Chosen Family” with the help of a familiar face. For the new rendition, the Alternative Press cover star has joined forces with the legendary Elton John who used his signature vocals and piano to give the track a fresh spin.
On April 14 at noon ET, Sawayama and John are officially unleashing their new rendition of “Chosen Family.” The highly-anticipated collaboration is airing exclusively on Zane Lowe’s show on Apple Music followed by the video’s premiere on YouTube at 1 p.m. ET.
💗CHOSEN FAMILY featuring ELTON JOHN💗
out APRIL 14 !!!!!
make sure u pre save now: https://t.co/yvcplw4gCl
— RINA SAWAYAMA (@rinasawayama) April 12, 2021
“Chosen Family” was produced by Danny L. Harle and written by Sawayama, Harle and Jonny Lattimer. The track originally appears on Sawayama’s 2020 full-length album and highlights the obstacles many of those in the LGBTQIA+ community overcome after coming out to their family and friends.
For Sawayama, John has been a big inspiration for her over the years. So, collaborating with him on this new rendition of “Chosen Family” has truly been a dream come true.
“It was such a joy and honor to rework ‘Chosen Family’ with the legendary Elton John,” Sawayama says in a press release. “The song means so much to both of us and recording it together was such a special experience I will never forget. I got shivers when I heard his voice through the monitor and became emotional when he added the piano parts. Elton has been such a huge supporter from before the album, and when we finally met to record this song we clicked from the get-go. I hope people can hear the magic!”
John shared on Twitter that he was captivated by Sawayama the moment he first heard her music. In fact, “Chosen Family” is one song that is particularly important to him.
“I was blown away when I first heard [Sawayama] and ‘Chosen Family’ is such a special song,” John says on Twitter. “It was a huge honor and genuine thrill to be asked to duet with Rina and rework the song.”
Chosen Family by Rina Sawayama ft. Elton John – out on Wednesday! 🚀
I was blown away when I first heard @rinasawayama and Chosen Family is such a special song. It was a huge honour and genuine thrill to be asked to duet with Rina and rework the song Exxhttps://t.co/KuU0FDvEII pic.twitter.com/MYkqlk2ook
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 12, 2021
As it turns out, John has been a fan of Sawayama for a while. Last year, he revealed during his Rocket Hour podcast that SAWAYAMA is his favorite album of 2020.
“It’s a phenomenal record,” John said on Rocket Hour. “We’ve been playing a lot of it on our show.”
More recently, during an interview with New York Times, John further elaborated on his love for Sawayama’s music and how it brought them together to reimagine “Chosen Family.”
After getting to know each other over the phone during the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo eventually met to record the new version of “Chosen Family.” Under strict health and safety protocols, Sawayama and John recorded the collaboration in a London studio this past December.
“You’re so good,” John tells Sawayama during the New York Times interview. “You don’t need to bastardize it with anything else. You just keep your mind and write the stuff you do. That’s the confidence she projects on this record. This woman, she’s full of ideas…Anyway, we were phone friends at first and then Rina asked me if I would like to record a version of ‘Chosen Family.’ And how could I say no?”
John goes on to say that “Chosen Family” has impacted him so much that he often sings the song to his children.
“The lyrical content is so beautiful,” John says during the New York Times interview. “There were so many brutal things going on in the world when the record came out, especially in America, and yet it made me feel as if all would be OK. I would sing it around the house and I changed the lyrics to ‘frozen family.’ I sang with my kids in the morning, ‘You’re my frozen family/ just a tiny little fish finger.’”
For Sawayama, she sought out to create a song that celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community and the love and acceptance the group offers.
“I really wanted to write a genuine song, something about celebration,” she tells John during the New York Times interview. “And something specific to the queer community. The people who look after each other so much when they’ve gone through so much themselves—the whole song is meant to be a message from a safe space.”
Sawayama has a slew of tour dates scheduled for later this year. Her North American tour is set to kick off Sept. 28 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. As well, she will be performing in Manchester, London, Leeds and more during her U.K. tour this November.
Sawayama’s full list of tour dates is below and more information can be found here.
Rina Sawayama tour dates
09/28 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
09/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
10/05 – Portland, OR @ Holocene
10/06 – Seattle, WA @ Washington Hall
10/12 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
10/13 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
10/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
10/16 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
10/18 – Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall
10/19 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Corona
10/21 – Boston, MA @ Royale
10/22 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
10/23 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry
10/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
10/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
11/08 – Dublin, IE @ The Academy
11/09 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
11/11 – Leeds, UK @ Beckett Students’ Union
11/13 – Glasgow, UK @ SWG3 TV Studio
11/15 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Institute Birmingham
11/16 – London, UK @ Electric Brixton
11/17 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
Sawayama is among the diverse group of artists featured in Alternative Press’ 100 Artists You Need To Know issue. The extensive list includes an array of acts who are redefining landscapes in genres across the music industry. From alt-rock to metal, indie and punk, the mighty set of talented musicians includes Maggie Lindemann, Bad Omens and Chase Atlantic among others.
What are your reactions to Rina Sawayama teaming up with Elton John for a new version of “Chosen Family”? Let us know in the comments below.