By Anita Tai.

Elton John says he was so “excited” to work with Britney Spears on their new duet.

The musician recently collaborated with the singer on the track “Hold Me Closer” which combines John’s hits “Tiny Dancer”, “The One” and part of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.

“She sang fantastically,” John said of the experience in a new interview with The Guardian. “Everyone was saying they don’t think she can sing any more. But I said, she was brilliant when she started so I think she can. And she did it, and I was so thrilled with what she did.”

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Spears last released an album in 2016 with Glory.

When he first came up with the remix for “Tiny Dancer”, he didn’t have a guest artist in mind. It was his husband David Furnish who suggested Spears.

“He said it would be wonderful for Britney Spears to do it,” he continued. “I said, that’s a pretty amazing idea. She hadn’t done anything for so long. I’d been following what’s been happening to her for a long time.”

Commenting on the entire media spectacle that erupted when the #FreeBritney movement gained traction in 2021, he said he empathized with her struggle.

“You forget she was the biggest star in the whole world at that time. And to see what happened to her makes me so angry,” said John. “What happened to her shouldn’t have happened to anybody.”

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As for what Spears was like in the studio, the 75-year-old was impressed by her professionalism.

“She really pushed herself, vocally. Sometimes when you produce, the greatest thing in the world you can do is say nothing, so I just let her do her thing,” he praised. “She’s so good at knowing when she got the right take. She took complete control.”

The most exciting part for John, however, was the possibility this duet would give Spears back her confidence.

“I’m so excited to be able to do it with her because if it is a big hit, and I think it may be, it will give her so much more confidence than she’s got already and she will realise that people actually love her and care for her and want her to be happy,” he shared. “That’s all anybody in their right mind would want after she went through such a traumatic time.”

“Hold Me Closer” is out now.


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Ellen Bullock