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New Freddie Mercury song composed by Northern Ireland music producer to mark Queen frontman's birthday

World exclusive: Little Freddie Goes to School will be released on September 7

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 24/08/2015

Queen singer Freddie Mercury in his 1980s heyday
Queen singer Freddie Mercury in his 1980s heyday
Freddie Mercury as a boy
Stuart Leathem

A new Freddie Mercury single made in Northern Ireland is getting its world premiere in Switzerland on the late Queen frontman's birthday next month.

Little Freddie Goes to School is the latest track by Bangor-based composer Stuart Leathem and features the distinctive vocals of the music industry icon.

In the new piece Leathem (35) musically imagines a young Freddie Mercury's journey to boarding school in India.

The verses are sung by 18-year-old Esther Trousdale, also from Bangor, with Freddie's voice taking the choruses.

The song will receive a world premiere at the Official Freddie Mercury Birthday Party at the Casino Barriere Montreux, Switzerland, on September 5 on what would have been the star's 69th birthday.

It will then be released worldwide on September 7.

The track samples two rare Freddie vocals taken from his original Barcelona sessions: When This Old Tired Body Wants To Sing - late night jam, and The Golden Boy acappella.

The release will in part benefit The Mercury Phoenix Trust, the HIV Aids charity set up in Freddie's name following his death in 1991, aged just 45.

Leathem explained his fondness for Freddie Mercury and Queen in general.

"As a composer I don't write many songs, usually big modern-classical Mike Oldfield-type works," he said.

"I am however a big admirer of Freddie Mercury, especially his work as lead singer of Queen, and was very lucky to call his old producer Dave Richards my friend.

"It had always struck me how little he referenced his upbringing in his musical style.

"One could perhaps look at Mustapha on the Jazz album but aside from that his childhood roots remained something closely guarded in every way."

Leathem regularly works with vocalist Esther Trousdale so decided to recruit her to perform on the song about Freddie's journey to boarding school in India.

"The initial idea was to fuse ethnic instrumentation with modern synthesis and create something quite different from anything Freddie himself composed, in terms of timbre," he said.

"I was aware of the 'When This Old Tired Body Wants To Sing' track and loved the energy in Freddie's vocal.

"It seemed to fit perfectly with the piece I was creating and, when placed into the track it throws the listener backwards and forwards through Freddie's life at its tentative beginning, and near its end as he faced his illness."

Lyrically, the song focuses on Freddie Mercury and the idiosyncrasies that made him unique.

"Essentially the track is a tribute to a shy boy who went on to achieve incredible things," Leathem added.

"It should also give the impression, just now and again, that the two vocalists are belting the song out on the same stage, with a wonderful Indian/Asian/Western fusion of musicians backing them.

"It is an alternative tribute to a wonderful artist, and he contributes in unmistakable fashion.

"I hope it makes people smile, and does some good for the MPT in the process."

Ten per cent of every purchase of the track will go to the work of the Mercury Phoenix Trust, formed after Mercury's death and which has been fighting Aids worldwide since 1992.

Belfast Telegraph

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