Poignant new song becomes NHS fund-raiser in Sussex

Susan LeggSusan Legg
Susan Legg | other
A beautiful new song by University of Chichester head of voice Susan Legg salutes the NHS in these difficult times.

The whole experience – as Susan says – was a happy whirlwind, everything falling into place quickly and easily, from the moment of inspiration right through to the moment of release.

Voice tutor Susan is now using the song, entitled Hold On Tight, to raise as much money as she possibly can for the NHS.

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“I woke up early one day during lockdown with a tune in my head. I thought I’d better get up and write it down. I thought I would just pop it down, and then I started to get the lyrics, which tends to happen quite quickly once you have got the melody – the lyrics just start to formulate. And I realised that it was about the NHS and about what we are going through.

“After a couple of days I showed it to my husband (film, TV and games composer Stephen Baysted). He has got all the equipment for recording. I said ‘What do you think of this?’ and it is always nerve-racking showing your composer husband something you have written! But he told me he really liked it. I recorded the piano part and the vocals.

“And then around the corner – we moved to Aldwick last year – we have got a few muso friends, and one of them is Guy Fletcher from Dire Straits.”

Guy agreed to play guitar, produce and mix the track.

“And it was really interesting. Guy added the guitar and it really took the song in a different direction. He heard the vocals and thought that they sounded a bit operatic, and I agreed. I wanted to record them again and soften them a little bit, and I did – and it is so much better. It really does sit well with what he has done and has taken it more into a folk kind of place.”

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Susan then wrote viola and cello lines; and friends obliged again.

“It has been an incredible experience to have enlisted the support of extraordinary musicians.

“Andy Brown (viola soloist and director of London Metropolitan Orchestra) and celebrated cellist Caroline Dale both contributed fantastic performances. Composer and our dear friend Matthew Slater also gave invaluable help in overseeing and producing the remote recordings.”

Susan is delighted with the result: “It’s a song about the heroes of the hour. It is a song about everyone who is caring for us and looking after us at this time, just getting us through something that we have never been through before. It is a song about courage and hope, and I am so excited with the result. It has been an extraordinary experience. It is all so close to home, and if we can all do something to help, then we can all make a difference.”

And, in this case, all within just a few days.

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Susan came up with the melody and lyrics on the Monday and recorded them on Thursday. Guy added the guitar on the Friday which is when Caroline and Andy recorded remotely.

On the Saturday, Guy offered to produce and mix the single and on the Monday Stephen's agent Anne Miller registered the track and helped put it onto all the digital platforms as quickly as possible. Now it is out there as a fund-raiser for the NHS.

In the meantime, teaching at the university continues – despite the lockdown.

“I’m still very much around and teaching at the uni remotely. Our students are being incredible about the lockdown and some are preparing to upload their work remotely so their degrees can continue which is super.

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“Some of them have gone to far-flung countries, but we are working together a couple of times a week online, and there is a real camaraderie. There is a real support network that has sprung up, maybe more than there has ever been before.”

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