So many helping hands. Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Pink and more pop stars teamed up for a moving musical tribute to the 49 people who lost their lives and the 53 injured in the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.
The all-star ensemble released “Hands,” a song cowritten and coproduced by Justin Tranter, on Wednesday, July 6. The brains behind recent smashes such as Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” and Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” spoke with Billboard about his inspiration for the track.
“Like the rest of the world, I woke up to the news that morning and was horrified and sad and scared,” the 36-year-old LGBT advocate told the outlet. So he reached out to his famous friends to see if they would take part in his project, which will benefit the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.
In addition to Spears, Lopez, Gomez and Pink, 20 other famous singers lent their voices to the song. Participating acts also include Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani, Jason Derulo, Troye Sivan, Meghan Trainor, Juanes, Halsey, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Adam Lambert, Ty Herndon, MNEK, Jussie Smollet, Alex Newell, Mary Lambert, Prince Royce, Nate Ruess, RuPaul and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.
Because of logistics, not everyone was able to sing together in the same studio, so each did their part by recording from their homes, tour buses or wherever they were stationed at the time.
“We assigned everybody what we thought would be the best part for their voice,” Tranter explained, “and we asked them all to sing an additional part, just in case. But everybody got it done in time so we ended up with extra vocals.”
“Mary J. Blige recorded in New Orleans. Britney Spears in Thousand Oaks, I think. Pink in Santa Barbara. MNEK recorded at home in London,” he continued. “Selena recorded in her studio bus. Dan Reynolds recorded in his home. Adam Lambert was in Luxembourg. Ty Herndon, the country star, was in Spain. Kacey Musgraves, Nashville. Everyone just got it done.”
While Spears opens the tune with the poignant line, “Can hold a gun and hold a heart,” Pink, whom Tranter described as a “lifesaver,” powerfully belts out the refrain: “’Cause they can hurt / Or they can heal / Or they can give back / They can steal / They can break the world / They can change it too.”
“Her vocal on the chorus is like from heaven directly,” Tranter raved of the “Just Like Fire” songstress’ talent.
“We didn’t want to have any trendy electronic elements,” the hitmaker concluded. “We wanted it to sound classic, timeless and human. We want this anthem of positivity to be played for years to come.”
Listen to “Hands” above.
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