Elton John on Covid-19: ‘I’ve never lived through anything like this in my lifetime’

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Elton John joins Zane Lowe on Apple Music to discuss the current Coronavirus pandemic and how he’s adapting to the situation by spending more time with his family, staying positive and getting his news from reliable sources.

On How He Is Adapting To The Coronavirus Pandemic and Spending 24/7 With His Family…

“Well, I’ve never lived through anything like this in my lifetime. None of us have. I mean, people have been through World Wars and that must’ve been even more traumatic because you don’t know when you’re going to get bombed. But the thing about the World Wars, it brought everyone together and I’m hoping this will do the same, whatever political party you’re on, whatever.”

You just have to listen to what people tell you. And that’s what I’m doing. We’re in the house here and the boys are here. There’s David, me, Zachary and Elijah, and we’re hunkering down and we’re just … everything so far, so good. It’s an interesting thing is before I got sober, I would have thought this was a huge invective just level of me. “How dare they have coronavirus! How dare they cancel my tour!”

“I’m afraid that the tours aren’t going to happen until after the summer probably. I don’t think realistically speaking that we, artists, can expect to go back on the road. And so people are going to take solace in music. They’re going to catch up on a lot of movies at home. They’re going to get bored. We’re playing every day, at 5:30 we play Snakes and Ladders, which in America is called Chutes and Ladders, and it’s become a family routine now and it’s fantastic. To be honest with you, it’s great to be able to spend this much time with my boys because normally I don’t, even though they’ve been on the road with us since November in Australia and New Zealand. It’s, this is 24/7 with them and it’s fantastic. I mean I’m saying that after a week, check on me in about three weeks.”

On Staying Positive, Enjoying Time With Family, and Being Conscious of People Still Working…

“Well, you have to be positive and say, “An end will come to this.” We don’t know when, but hopefully, scientists have never been so busy now trying to find something that works, trying to find a vaccine. But that takes time. People just have to do what they’re told and and stop buying all the groceries. I mean this thing in the paper today on the news today in England on the BBC, people are buying everything in supermarkets. And then people who are working like 40 hour shifts in the NHS come off their shift exhausted go to the supermarket, there’s nothing for them to buy. These are the people that are doing all the hard work.”

‘And so when we have to think of other people that are a little bit more, the people that are doing the work, the nurses, the doctors that need the food as well. And the toilet paper of course. This is a different situation than anything that’s happened before. So you have to be very careful. Stick with your family. This is the time where people are going to spend more time with their families than they’ve ever done before. And so far, again, check with me in two weeks. I’m enjoying it so much because I don’t spend that much time with my family during the day and I’m loving every second of it. So cherish it while you can. Every cloud has a silver lining. Maybe this will bring people together and be far more thoughtful about each other in a world where we’re so selfish, me included. And it gives us time to reflect on what life’s all about. And life is about love and sharing and generosity of spirit and coming together as one I hope will be the result of this.”

On Avoiding TV and Getting News From Reliable Sources…

“We never watch television anyway. The television is never on in our house ever, in England or anywhere we go. We get our news from reliable sources. There’s so much information coming out here in America and in Great Britain that is confusing. So we try not to dwell on it too much. We just hope and pray that people get the medicine. I mean in England they have 600 ventilators running. In the United Kingdom they have 600 ventilators for the whole England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Whales and that’s frightening. Nobody saw this coming and I’m afraid we’ve been caught with our trousers down. That could have been the title of my book.”

On Music Being Essential To Bringing People Together…

“At this time music is so important to people. Music and sport bring people together, and this time sport is completely out of the question. So music and entertainment is very vital. And so you’ve got to give people some stuff to really feel good about not just sad music.”

On His Relationship With The Weeknd…

“I love him. I always have done and you can tell by the videos for the new album as well that it’s kind of … Blinding Light is such an 80s type record and it hits the nail on the head so perfectly, blending it with Abel’s sound. I saw him at an Oscar party after the Oscars and he’s always been such a sweet and lovely humble man. And he told me then, he said, “I got a surprise for you on this record.” And I went, “Really?” He said, “Yeah.” And the surprise is that he’s borrowed a bit of Your Song, ‘I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind’ for the Scared To Love track. And I’m so blown away I mean just to be part of his record. For someone my age and as someone who loves what he does, I’m so thrilled and I just love him. I was watching a couple of things this morning that were the same old stuff, the rap stuff and I was thinking, “Good old Abel, he’s making music. He’s making proper music.”‘

On Listening To Lil Peep, Juice WRLD, and Mac Miller…

“Well, look at Lil Peep and Juice World. I loved Lil Peep. That record he made. It sounded like the Beatles and I just kept playing it on Rocket Hour all the time. Yeah, it’s tragic. That album that Mac Miller just put out is so beautiful. And Circles that you’ve chosen is such an incredible track. You listen to it and your heart breaks.”

On His Love of Sam Fender and Supporting The ‘New Kids’ Tom Odell, Sam Smith, James Blake, and Lewis Capaldi…

“[Sam], for me, is like a cross between Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, with his own [style], and he’s from North Shields in the Northeast of England. I met him at my film premiere very briefly, and then he had some health issues, which I was trying to help him with. And we got to be friends. I had lunch with him. I try and have lunch with all, like when people like Tom Odell, Sam Smith, James Blake, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, when all the new kids come up, I have lunch with them and say, “Listen, I have no vested interest in your career except that I want you to be happy, I want you to get what you want out of it, you’re going to make mistakes, we all make mistakes, but if you need any advice, here’s my email. You can always ask me.”

“With Sam, I just loved his record so much. It was so full of energy and it wasn’t like someone from North Shields, it was like someone from America. And he came over and played at the Oscar Party this year and nobody knew who was, which sometimes is an advantage. We had Paul and the Broken Bones about three years ago and not many people in the audience knew who they were and they just destroyed everybody they were so good. And Sam did exactly the same thing this year. And he’s now writing for a second album. The coronavirus hasn’t helped him because he was due to go to New York to record at Electric Lady Land Studios. Not everything’s been on hold, but if you’ve got the songs, it’s all about the songs. He got something wrong with his voice and he had to stop singing for three weeks because he had something, a node or something wrong and that was in the middle of a tour. So it stopped the momentum going.”

“He’s absolutely fine now. I speak to him every two or three days. He’s writing. He’s a great kid. He’s a beautiful boy on the inside, even moreso than on the outside. And his talent, when you’ve got talent like that, I’m on your side and I just hope the best for him and I will help him in any way I can. He’s got to write the songs. He’s got to go out and perform, but he can perform. His band are incredible and it just gives me great joy to connect with him. And so it’s like, “Yeah, come on, I’m 73 you’re 25. You can do this, baby.”

Listen to the full conversation on Zane’s show at 6pm today, for free, at apple.co/B1_Zane or on-demand with an Apple Music subscription.Musicnews

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