Sam Fender joined Sarah Champion on Absolute Radio yesterday evening to chat about his upcoming album and his new cover of ‘Winter Song’, a collaboration with the charity People of the Streets and Big Issue.

On his new single “Elton John called and he was like ‘I love it, I love it’ and I was just like ahh it’s too much, ego, explode, brain, head, going massive.”

On Elton’s name in his phone contacts “I’ve just got him saved as Uncle Elton, I’ve got Uncle Elton, Mister Sting, loads of daft ones, I had Elton John saved as Belton John at one point like belter-John, Belton John, bit more of a Geordie one but then Elton John stayed as Uncle Elton, I mean he’s just a legend man, he’s literally one of the nicest blokes I’ve ever met.”

On growing a friendship “I spent a bit of time at Elton’s with his family and seeing his boys who I love to bits. They’re like little brothers that I never had Elijah and Zachary. They’re just lush kids. I went round there and we just, me and Elton just sat and listened to loads of records. He’s since then just sent us a load of vinyl’s, so I’ve been listening to loads of old stuff.”

On writing a song together “I got to basically play Bernie Taupin for a day and I just put the lyrics in front of Elton. And he’s just a wizard on the piano, an absolute wizard… his craft and his ability to just come up with melodies and fantastic chord arrangements in a split second… it’s almost like he’s not thinking about it. He puts it down and it just happens. And within like 5-10 minutes we had this like Elton John song that kinda sounded like somewhere between Bennie and the Jets and something else.”

“We were just sat in his dining room, making a song on his big piano, just covered in pictures of his family and his kids. You know, a really warm just like normal setting… you know you’re just sat here in his dining room. I mean it’s a dining room with a grand piano in, I mean obviously... and then he just sits down and sings, and plays this, I mean, I’ve given him some lyrics that I’ve wrote probably hungover in my underpants a couple of weeks beforehand and he puts them down and does it. That’s an experience that I will never forget. Like it will stay with us forever.”