Grenfell Tower fire

Stars record single to raise funds

Singer Rita Ora in a T-shirt showing support for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Singer Rita Ora in a T-shirt showing support for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.PHOTO: RITA ORA/INSTAGRAM

LONDON • Simon Cowell lives not far from the London residential building where a June 14 fire has claimed 79 lives so far.

"I was angry, upset... when I drove up there and you saw this tower, it wasn't great," the television talent show judge told Mirror Online.

He decided to rope in his show- business pals - including singer Rita Ora and rock band The Who - to record a charity single to raise funds for people affected by the 24-storey Grenfell Tower inferno.

The song, a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 classic Bridge Over Troubled Water, also features performances from Leona Lewis, James Blunt and a 300-strong choir made up of local residents, some of whom survived the blaze.

In a departure from the original song, this version opens with grime artist Stormzy rapping: "That could have been me up there/Waving my white plain tee up there" - a reference to people trapped in the blaze.

The song was made available for sale and radio play on Wednesday. Cowell tweeted that a video would premiere on British television that evening. All proceeds will go to the London Community Foundation.

Reaction to the song on social media was generally positive, with Twitter user Sarah Styles saying the track was "absolutely beautiful".

Many people are still unaccounted for in the disaster and the authorities have suggested that the death toll will continue to rise as rescue workers continue to search, reported Agence France-Presse.

Cowell, who donated £100,000 (S$176,000) to another fund benefiting the fire's victims, has used his influence to good effect before. In 2010, he produced a charity single for the victims of a Haiti earthquake, with help from stars such as singers Mariah Carey and Kylie Minogue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2017, with the headline 'Stars record single to raise funds '. Print Edition | Subscribe