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(Credit: Rachael Paley)


Yard Act’s James Smith on "bananas" Elton John collaboration

Yard Act singer James Smith has opened up about the band’s “bananas” collaboration with Elton John on ‘100% Endurance’.

John has been a keen supporter of the band as part of his Apple Music programme and has built up a relationship with the Leeds group over the last few months. Yard Act released their debut album, The Overload, in January, and they almost scored a number one with the release but were beaten by Years & Years.

‘100% Endurance’ is the latest single to be picked from the album with the new version of the track featuring Elton on piano, and he also assists the group on backing vocals.

In a new interview with Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson, Smith revealed how the collaboration came about. He said: “We had a lovely afternoon together at Metropolis Studios in London. It was beautiful. We wanted to shine a light on ‘100% Endurance’ a bit more, now the album had been out a bit and we felt we’d established the one side of Yard Act”.

Smith added: “It felt like there’s ways we could accentuate and highlight the melody and the emotion of that track without over egging it, while still sling in a string section and loads of lush Elton John piano all over it. And then, obviously, because he’d been so kind about us and he’d been calling me a little bit, we thought why not ask him?”

The frontman then said John’s reaction to their offer was “abso-fucking-lutely”, and he didn’t need much convincing. Smith continued: “I think he’d been for a Chairman of the Board meeting at Watford or something [prior to the recording], and then he came to us. It was bananas,” he said.

“It was wicked. I don’t think there’s anything more Yard Act than you directly addressing Elton John within a song he’s playing piano on. You know what I mean? The fact he went for it. I was like, ‘That’s amazing.’ It was such an experience and he was just such a sound, sound person. He was brilliant.”

Listen to Yard Act and Elton John on ‘100% Endurance’ below.