13 December 2020
Five years since a battle in the UK Christmas single charts brought them together, Justin Bieber and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir reunite for their first ever collaboration, a special new version of Bieber’s UK hit ‘Holy’.
The track will be released on Friday 18th December, profits from the single will split between NHS Charities Together (which represents over 230 NHS charities) and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity in recognition of the extraordinary efforts of those on the medical frontline during the Coronavirus crisis.
Justin and the choir first came across each other in 2015 and Justin's thoughts turned to them, after he had recorded a charity single with Ariana Grande with proceeds going to US first responders in the crisis. He reached out to ask if the choir would record a version of his hit single 'Holy' to mark a year like no other.
In 2015, Justin’s smash hit ‘Love Yourself’ and the choir’s ‘A Bridge Over You’ were neck and neck in the race to become UK Christmas No.1. On hearing the story, Justin urged his fans to download the choir’s single rather than his own, writing on Twitter “So for 1 week it's ok not to be #1. Let's do the right thing & help them win. It's Christmas. @Choir_NHS good luck."
The tweet went viral, with the NHS single going to Number 1. They met in person shortly after and Justin presented them with their Number 1 Award.
The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, to give them their full name, recorded 'Holy' at Abbey Road Studios.
Caroline Smith, Children’s Community Physiotherapist and – in her spare time – leader of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, said: “Justin Bieber helped make our dreams come true in 2015 and he’s doing the same this year; we really can’t thank him enough for the chance to work with him on this wonderful, uplifting song. We’re so proud to represent Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and all the heroes in the NHS.”
“It’s great to be reunited with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir, as we share a fun bit of UK chart history together,” said Justin Bieber, “Especially in these difficult times, I’m humbled to team up with them for a charity single that will benefit NHS workers on the frontlines of this pandemic and pay tribute to their unbelievable dedication.”
The choir members include Zoe and Tom, doctors working on the COVID frontline who had to cancel their wedding this year but did an online celebration instead. Zoe is an original member of the choir and a soloist on the original single and met Justin.
Pamela Lutalo who worked 3 months on the frontline on a 30 bed COVID ward, Lizzie Farrant who works as a midwife and met Justin 5 years ago too. It has meant a lot to them to record the song, celebrate their NHS colleagues and their work and pay tribute to those who have been lost.
‘Holy’ by Justin Bieber and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir is available this Friday 18th December.
Other quotes from NHS Choir members:
Zoe Davies 37, North Yorkshire - Endocrinologist, working on COVID ward, original choir member, soloist on the original single and met Justin in 2015
"I've been in the choir since it was first formed, and I was a soloist at the start of A Bridge Over You. I met Justin Bieber when he gave us our number one trophy in 2016. It was very exciting to have the chance to work with him on this project, and be able to produce a song which I hope will spread some joy in this difficult year."
Tom Jackson 35, Salisbury - Orthopaedic registrar - training for surgeon - took more roles to free up colleagues for COVID work
"This project was an excellent way to try and bring hope to a year that has seen a lot of hardship and pain for both those close to me and to the wider population, as well as the pressure it has put upon healthcare professionals, both inside and outside the NHS. This track is really about hope for me, hope for the vaccines against this virus, hope for when we will be able to hold our love ones again; hope for our country and our world to heal the barriers that have been placed between us this year."
Lizzie Farrant 39, from London- Midwife - joined just after the original Number 1 and met Justin
"I am excited to be involved in this project as it was 5 years since the number one. I joined the choir just after that so got to meet Justin. It is amazing to be involved with something so prestigious and it’s incredible to have Justin’s support for the NHS."
Pamela Lutalo 42, British Ugandan - Rheumatologist - worked a 30 bed COVID ward for 3 months
"2020 has been a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Holy" is a song of appreciation to families, friends, colleagues and community who have provided encouragement and support to people during the pandemic and I am also doing this for the NHS charities together charity, which is close to my heart."
Caroline Duffy 56, Greenwich - Theatre Nurse - in critical care and front line of COVID - original choir member, met Justin
"Something cheerful to do. Takes me away from everyday life."
Mike Corr 67, Bolton - former immunisation Clinical Coordinator, original choir member, met Justin
"The message that holding someone is such a special thing that its almost a holy experience is so resonant with current difficulties and personal challenges. There are some special people I miss terribly and I hear them say "Hold me hold me" ... when all this is over."