A new version of the charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas? was recorded at a London recording studio on Saturday to aid victims of the Ebola crisis.
Throughout the day there’s been a steady flow of artists coming and leaving the studio.
The Project, Band Aid 30, takes place almost 30 years after musician and philanthropist Bob Geldof invited some of the biggest stars at the time to record a charity single, to help those affected by famine in Ethiopia.
The latest lineup includes British pop band One Direction as well as singers Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith and Sam Smith.
U2’s Bono is so far the only artist from the original lineup returning, with Coldplay’s Chris Martin also contributing.
Geldof and Midge Ure, who co-wrote the first Band Aid track, stepped outside the studio several times throughout the day to give waiting media an update about the recording process.
“As you can imagine it’s – organised chaos,” Ure said. “We have a wealth of artists in there, some serious talent, they’re all sitting up there just now, chatting like it’s a bit of a party, now aren’t they? We’ve had a couple of fantastic vocals so far.
“Rita Ora was in at 8 o’clock this morning, God bless her, in there doing a great vocal track. Ed Sheeran could have done the entire track on his own because he’s brilliant. So we’re about to go up and do the choral vocals.”
During a news conference earlier this week Ure and Geldof confirmed that the original version would be tweaked to play down the previous emphasis on feeding the hungry and instead reflect the current situation. Ure said he was pleased with the process so far.
“We’re trying to keep the essence of the original version; the atmospherics and the sensitivity of it along with the balance of the big sing along kind of glory ending,” Ure said. “And I think we’ve got that. But we’ve dragged it into the 21st century. It sounds very contemporary.”
Geldof, frontman for Irish new wave band The Boomtown Rats, also said how he tried to get all the artists into the right mood ahead of the recording.
“I did a little talk before like the headmaster and said, “OK, this is why we’re here, this is what it’s about. When you sing this, be aware that the rest of the world will be singing it with you. Put all the feeling of what it is you want to say into it’,” Geldof said.
One after the other stars started leaving the studio once they had finished their vocal part.
Describing the atmosphere inside, singer Paloma Faith said: “Everyone is very nice and encouraging. There’s like a good sense of like camaraderie between everyone
Ellie Goulding, who also left shortly after lunchtime, said she got caught up in the atmosphere inside.
“I’m still kind of buzzing, it was so kind of like, I haven’t quite you know – haven’t quite, what’s the word? Processed it. That’s the word, I haven’t processed it. But – yes, it was amazing, yes,” Goulding said.
One Direction band member Liam Payne said he felt honoured to be part of such an important project.
“It’s so amazing, it’s great to be involved in something like this,” Payne said. “Obviously charity is so important but something like this but what a prestigious thing with so many great legends of music. It’s been really, really good.
“Sir Bob did a little speech at the start which really like kind of settled home for us of what this is all about, how it’s going. It’s been so, so good. We just can’t believe that we’re involved in something like this.”
A video to accompany the single is set to premiere on Sunday evening (November 16) on British TV talent show X Factor.
The song will be available as a download starting Monday. A physical copy will follow in three weeks with the artwork done by British artist Tracey Emin.
In an effort to encourage people buy the song, it will only become available on music streaming platforms like Spotify from January 2015.
Proceeds of the single will benefit the Band Aid Trust “In the global fight against Ebola,” according to a statement.