'The Greatest Showman Reimagined': Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix & More on Giving the Soundtrack a Second Life


With the musical phenomenon The Greatest Showman serving up large numbers for Atlantic Records since its launch final December, the label’s West Coast president Kevin Weaver and his group knew they wanted to capitalize on the rabid fanbase the movie had garnered. And after Atlantic noticed mega success from 2016's The Hamilton Mixtape, Weaver thought The Greatest Showman warranted an analogous remedy from a few of music’s largest stars.

Beginning the hunt for the proper recording artists to re-create the musical’s fantastical numbers in January, Weaver rapidly realized their want for a Greatest Showman covers album was simply as desired by the artists they needed for it. And thus, The Greatest Showman: Reimagined was born.

In celebration of the Reimagined launch on Nov. 16, Weaver -- together with Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying, Jess Glynne, Years & Years’ Olly Alexander and James Arthur -- gave Billboard an inside take a look at how the most recent soundtrack spectacle got here collectively.

Panic! on the Disco - "The Greatest Show"

Two years previous to The Greatest Showman’s launch, Weaver had Panic! frontman Brendon Urie meet with the movie’s director Michael Gracey, as he felt the group’s theatrical creative type aligned with the movie’s power. The observe was really completed earlier than The Greatest Showman: Reimagined was conceptualized, however both approach, Weaver knew the Panic! model could be launched. “It was a magical piece of music after we heard it for the primary time -- I believed it was a smash,” he says. “I ran across the constructing enjoying it for everyone, and we actually didn't have to do a lot work on it after that.”

P!nk - "A Million Dreams" / Willow Sage Hart - "A Million Dreams (Reprise)"

Weaver knew he needed to have P!nk concerned after the singer took to social media to gush over the movie, and he or she already knew “A Million Dreams” was the music she needed to document. P!nk additionally knew she needed her daughter to sing the reprise, which Weaver thought captured the essence of The Greatest Showman. “This film has affected households in such a profound approach that having ['A Million Dreams'] represented by means of a mother-daughter collaboration was a very particular contribution and a part of the method. It actually grew to become this particular mother-daughter second."

Years & Years and Jess Glynne - "Come Alive"

This observe was virtually a no brainer for Weaver and Co., as he says he might hear Jess Glynne vocalizations on the music from the second he heard it: “It simply felt like a very pure match.” In the identical vein, Glynne knew immediately that Years & Years was the proper match for the duet. While Glynne says she approached “Come Alive” as a completely new music to present it a brand new power, Years & Years’ Olly Alexander admits he was a bit nervous taking over the advanced rhythms within the music’s melody. “In the studio I simply tried to really feel like I used to be a brilliant highly effective elegant tightrope performer or one thing,” he remembers, including that the music’s “get up, begin dwelling” sentiment helped encourage his vocals -- in addition to his humorousness. “I like the title of the music ‘Come Alive’ because it additionally works on a sexual innuendo degree and I’m immature like that.”

MAX and Ty Dolla $ign - The Other Side

While the mix of artists could not look like probably the most natural, Weaver felt they every labored completely for the verbal back-and-forth of the music. “Ty is a singer as a lot as a rapper,” Weaver suggests, “and we felt like having a younger voice like MAX on the album was necessary -- someone younger, attention-grabbing and completely different.” And although the “Lights Down Low” crooner and “Paranoid” singer weren’t capable of document their model of the bustling observe collectively, the vocals every delivered resulted in certainly one of Weaver’s favourite Reimagined tracks. “It's so distinctive and sudden,” he says.

Kelly Clarkson - "Never Enough"

Clarkson’s involvement with The Hamilton Mixtape was apparent proof that her dynamic voice is ideal for a observe from a musical, however Weaver recruited her as a result of “Never Enough” wanted somebody with a voice as massive as hers (and her immense love for the film helped too). She not solely took on the problem, however recorded three completely different variations to verify The Greatest Showman: Reimagined obtained one of the best Kelly Clarkson might give. “The first spherical was extra basic, then we tried to do a extra rocked-up model to see if we might beat it, and we ended up with a vocal that was someplace in between,”  Clarkson remembers. “I attempted to stroll the road of conserving it basic and being a bit adventurous with nevertheless I used to be feeling whereas recording it, in order that the top product could be the reimagined model. It’s a beast of a music!”

Keala Settle, Kesha and Missy Elliott - "This Is Me (The Reimagined Remix)"

Weaver needed to discover a method to “clean up” Kesha’s already reimagined model of the movie’s most mesmerizing quantity, and a rap verse got here to thoughts -- together with Missy Elliott. “We needed one other sturdy, highly effective feminine voice on that document,” he says. “The type of stuff that Missy does is often fucking superior, and he or she murdered it. She completely bodied her components on the document.” The rapper’s additions have been so mesmerizing that it resulted in a debate of the best way to current Missy, Kesha and Keala Settle’s with out dropping any magic, and that’s when Justin Paul (who co-wrote all the movie’s songs alongside Benj Pasek) had the concept for a mashup of all three. After Phil Lawrence put an 808s and hip-hop manufacturing on the observe, they obtained Kesha’s stamp of approval -- “she instantly mentioned she cherished it and needed it to occur,” Weaver remembers -- they knew that they had one thing actually particular.

James Arthur and Anne-Marie - "Rewrite The Stars"

As the largest streaming music of the complete soundtrack, Weaver knew they wanted artists that have been as pressing and related as followers made the unique observe. And with a majority of these numbers coming from the UK, he needed to help that market by recruiting two of England’s hottest rising stars. Arthur jumped on the provide partially as a result of he cherished The Greatest Showman’s music, however extra so as a result of Anne-Marie was his duet associate. “It’s nice that we had the chance to lastly work collectively,” he asserts. The finish consequence was precisely what Weaver was in search of, and he expects the brand new model of “Rewrite the Stars” to be obtained simply in addition to the unique -- if not higher: “That music will probably be a single for us, with out query.”

Sara Bareilles - "Tightrope"

Prior to the Oct. 25 launch of the empowering single “Armor,” Bareilles hadn’t launched a music in three years. But Weaver landed the “Love Song” singer for the Reimagined soundtrack due to Pasek and Paul, who've a robust relationship together with her. And he’s grateful they managed to get her on board: “It’s a gorgeous, new rendition of 'Tightrope’ -- the manufacturing is completely different and particular, and he or she did an unimaginable job vocally on it.”

Zac Brown Band - "From Now On"

Weaver and his group felt the unique album’s nearer all the time had a rustic sensibility, which led them to Zac Brown Band partly resulting from their folky vibe. “We felt that the type of artist he's actually lended itself nicely to the route we thought we needed to go on the brand new model.” The group clearly felt the identical, as “From Now On” is a part of Zac Brown Band’s units on tour.

Pentatonix - "The Greatest Show" (Bonus Track)

Before the Panic! model of “The Greatest Show” was confirmed for Reimagined, Weaver considered Pentatonix for the soundtrack as a result of he felt it was necessary to have a cappella represented on the album, and in a approach that’s true to how they create music. But even earlier than they have been recruited, Pentatonix’s Scott Hoying bumped into Pasek and Paul at this yr’s Grammys and made certain the duo knew his group was desirous to be concerned. As probably the most passionate Greatest Showman fan in Pentatonix, Hoying felt a little bit of strain when recording their model of “The Greatest Show.” “It’s a really full-out music, so making it enormous with simply 5 voices was one thing we have been slightly bit involved about,” he remembers. They collaborated with the choir from the unique observe to assist with that, however gave nonetheless gave the music a Pentatonix really feel thanks partly to Kevin Olusola’s beatboxing -- which Hoying admits pleasantly shocked him (“it enhances the music in loads of methods,” he says). And when it got here to recording his components, Hoying’s super-fandom actually paid off: “I do know it so nicely, the session solely lasted like 30 minutes. I didn’t even want to drag up the lyrics -- I used to be like, ‘I obtained this.’”