Back in 93, Kate Bush and Prince collaborated on a song on The Red Shoes album, Why Should I Love You. Two musical giants combined their talents remotely but the result wasn’t quite the kaleidoscope of joy that you might expect from funking with The Purple One.
Prince sent a tape to Kate which was so complex that it took two years to unravel the many layers and finish the song. There were huge expectations and the final cut sounded a little restrained, lacking the edge of Kate’s original demo, and the phenomenal funk that Prince was famous for.
We may never hear Prince’s version of Why Should I Love You, and that was my starting point. How would Kate’s dark and questing song translate to Paisley Park? Listening to Kate’s demo, I saw some raw vocals which never made it onto the album version, and brought them to the mix. Running through the original like a seam of gold was Trio Bulgarka, the angelic folk singers which Kate often worked with to great effect. With lyrics exploring spiritual comfort, it seemed obvious to me that they should be in a vast cathedral, and I added a three dimensional reverb to wrap the listener in their beautiful voices. The Trio became a trillion and the church theme grew exponentially.
Another golden voice was Lenny Henry, the British comedian who was brought in to sing some verses which Prince forgot to record. His contribution was such a revelation that I gave him the spotlight, placing him at the front of my echoing church. Despite his role as back up, I think he steals the show.
Reimagining Prince meant picking apart a lot of his songs in the search for iconic beats, guitars and vocals. Taking elements of Kiss and When Doves Cry was probably going to sound a bit obvious. But using artificial intelligence to extract isolated samples meant I could drop them into my mix to see what they sounded like. Suddenly I was auditioning Prince songs and building something which sounded authentic.
Finally, Prince was on an equal footing with Kate and Lenny and the track had a real momentum. A line from one of my all time favourite songs, Mountains seemed to chime with the sentiment of Kate’s original lyrics: “He said the sea would one day overflow with all your tears/ And love will always leave U lonely.” It fitted perfectly and gave the remix an additional verse, but most of all some Paisley Park energy. I also like the fact that this is The Devil singing.
After premiering the track on social media, the reaction was overwhelming. “Prince would have liked what you’ve done,” said one uber-fan, and that made the months of toil worth it. But questions were raised, so I’ll attempt to answer them here.
What’s with the bass line? That’s actually Prince’s original bass line, repeated throughout the Red Shoes version on a loop. I just replayed it with a synthesiser. It’s the only part which isn’t a sample, apart from the tubular bells.
You changed the lyrics. Why? I’ll be completely honest and say that the ‘Jesus’ line didn’t sit well with me. It may be arrogant to change something written by such a talented writer, but all I could see was those awful pictures of white Jesus whenever I heard the line. So I went to great pains to change the words by asking Mandy Watson from Cloudbusting to lend me her astonishing voice. To my amazement she said yes, and suddenly I was in a position to convincingly update Kate’s original vocals. It changed the energy of the whole project. I’d stalled when I tried to extract the word ‘Buddha’ from Pull Out The Pin. It sounded so comical that I nearly canned the remix in frustration. Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion and I felt this leant a kind of balance to the song. Prince and Madonna were often immersed in religious themes but somehow it felt a bit odd coming from Kate, who’s lyrics always seemed to be more left-field.
Some of the animation is mechanical. I’m an amateur and I had to create the track from scratch, including the video. I had a vague idea about the various singers performing their vocals in a church and before I got my hands on AI animation, I had to painstakingly animate some of the scenes by hand.
How the hell did you make Prince sing in the video? Some thought it was creepy, and others told me they wept because it felt almost like new music from Prince. When I processed my footage and played it back, I just gasped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Originally I took the iconic album cover of Parade, removing Prince’s hands and colourising his face. Various apps were then used to add motion to his head and add lip-syncing. This was a long and hugely complicated process of editing and synchronisation and I think it delivers a better result than I could have hoped for. The same process had to be repeated for Lenny Henry and I felt like I’d run a marathon when it was all complete. Kate was recreated using The Sensual World cover shot, where I removed the rose and rebuilt her face, colourising the photo and then using AI and good old fashioned stop motion animation to make her sing.
The windows are beautiful. Where are they from? I built them very quickly in my animation studio and added 3D light rays and a bit of smoke to make them more dramatic. I redesigned Kate’s secret symbol to look more like Prince’s and used each window as a backdrop for each singer.
What’s the weird bit at the end? I’m very influenced by Sigur Ros and the remix kind of melts into an ambient mush of echoes and repeating elements. If you listen carefully, I’ve got a sample from Night Scented Stock in there, and as the song closes, footsteps walk across the stereo picture, and a coin drops in a collection plate. It’s my comment on organised religion. It may be very comforting, but it’s all about money.
Listen to the audio here
Free download here Why Should I Love You – Kate Bush and Prince (Heart of Summer remix)
Watch on YouTube here Why Should I Love You – Prince and Kate Bush (Heart of Summer remix)
Contains elements of:
Why Should I Love You by Kate Bush and Prince
Why Should I love You (demo) by Kate Bush
Night Scented Stock by Kate Bush
Mountains by Prince
Kiss by Prince
Purple Rain by Prince
When Doves Cry by Prince
The Beautiful Ones by Prince
Vocals by Kate Bush, Trio Bulgarka, Prince, Lenny Henry and Mandy Watson.
Remix copyright Mark Wallis 2021 for The Devious Corporation
Video copyright Mark Wallis 2022 for Mark Wallis Design