Two artists that fit together like chocolate and peanut butter, Rina Sawayama has teamed up with Elton John on a reworking of her track ‘Chosen Family’, the penultimate track to last year’s fantastic debut Sawayama.
In the LGBT+ community, one of the core tenets is that you can choose your own family, there is a long and incredibly depressing history of families abandoning and disowning blood relatives because of their sexuality and/or gender identity — but “family” is not always the people who share your last name. Instead, it’s the figures you surround yourself with, the people who prop you up and support you unconditionally. The people who love you for who you are. I couldn’t imagine any two better figures to deliver that message than Sawayama and John.
Sure, ‘Chosen Family’ is a sappy ballad. But it’s one of those sappy ballads that if you’re in the right mindset, say a few pints in, it can absolutely destroy you, even with its positive message. Put more succinctly: it’s crying music. Who doesn’t need a good cry every once in a while?
I view Elton John very much in the same way that I do Mick Jagger: he’s rich and famous and beloved, so much so that if he wanted to he would never have to sit at a piano ever again. However, he seems to have a very genuine desire to continue putting out work and to prop up his favourite new artists. Most musicians in their mid-70s don’t seek out younger artists to mentor, but John seems to relish in his role as pop music’s foremost elder statesman.
Really, this one is just a home run for me. I loved Sawayama’s self-titled debut last year, and I might be the only human being under 50 who really liked, or even listened to, John’s most recent release Wonderful Crazy Night. Perfectly paired in piano ballad heaven, this is a team-up featuring a legendary artist and a legend in the making. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up.
Watch the performance video for ‘Chosen Family’ down, below.