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Elton and Britney’s “Hold Me Closer”: “This song is just a celebration,” says producer

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Michael Kovac/Getty Images for EJAF

When Elton John decided he wanted to follow up his global hit “Cold Heart,” featuring Dua Lipa, with something similar, he tapped his friend, producer Andrew Watt — who produced Elton’s 2021 album The Lockdown Sessions — to create it. The result, “Hold Me Closer,” is “a celebration,” Watt tells Variety.

Watt tells Variety that he and Elton decided to do a dance remix of “Tiny Dancer,” so Watt was provided with the original audio material from the 1972 classic. He called in his fellow producer Cirkut to work on the track, which Elton loved. But then, Watt says, Elton came up with the idea to throw another one of his songs in there.

According to Watt, he and Elton were in Toronto when Elton’s husband and manager, David Furnish, started showing Elton some new merchandise based on the imagery of his 1992 album The One

Watt says, “We’re staring at this hoodie while sitting on the couch, and it hits Elton: What about ‘The One'” — the album’s top 10 title track — “for the verses? He starts singing it, but he’s singing it a little different … We took the vocal from that and tweaked it. ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘The One’ are 20-something years apart, but they worked together unbelievably.”

Then Elton decided he wanted another artist on the track and thought Britney would be perfect.

“The fact that it came together and she wanted to do it and how she sounded on the record — you couldn’t have made it up,” raves Watt. “It’s amazing. It’s a moment in time.”

Noting that “everyone is on edge these days,” Watt says, “This song is just a celebration. It hopefully keeps the summer going for another couple of months … you can just leave everything off to the side and enjoy.”

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