Skipton singer creates Beijing Olympics-related song

Lead singer of Skipton, The Tenmours has been chosen to write a song to accompany a documentary ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics which start next week.

Alex Johnston-Seymour said it was a “great experience” that happened through a contact he has who works for China Global Television Network (CGTN), a television news service by cable in English based in Beijing.

The result is a song called Superstar that he and his friends helped create in just five days.

Alex, 24, said: “I used to live off the streets between the ages of 15 and 22 from Skipton. I met so many people who shaped my career and my life; my band manager , my current boss from my job in marketing for Strada Music Agency, and a group of Chinese master’s students, including Chuchu Zou, who asked me to be in a street documentary in 2018, which they were shooting for their masters.

“Chuchu messaged me on January 5th saying that she is now working for CGTN and would like me to do music for a documentary they were producing called ‘One Dream’.

“I’m very busy teaching music, Strada, masters deadlines so I said they would need to be able to afford my time quoting £2,000 thinking they wouldn’t go for that – and they were like, ‘sure’. They asked for a portfolio of my work, and I started my search for composition. Then they said they wanted to use a particular song, one of some 20 songs I sent them that I hadn’t written.

The song had been written by best friend Nick Kossifou who graduated in songwriting from LCM (now Leeds Conservatory) in 2018 with Alex and they agreed on a plan.

Alex added: “I would rewrite the lyrics and sing along to the track, play slide guitar etc. I called David Haynes – currently on the MA Music (composition) – an amazing producer. He said we could use Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield where he is one of the managers and uses Tom Wright’s drum studio.

“We spent a day rocking and filming at Yellow Arch the song being played. The process then was a series of mixes, learning how China doesn’t really recognize copyright and letting the very brief original idea.”

The group then discovered that they only had a few days to meet a tight deadline.

“We received a message on January 10 that the deadline for sending files was the 18th. That meant that we really only had three days to record and two days to mix and master,” said Alex.

He said the whole experience was “strange, but awesome”.

“It was pretty cool to do it. We had loads of ideas and we’re really proud of the song we’ve been working on. Turning it around in such a short time was amazing. It surpassed the estimate of 2 £000 a year a little too much but they were happy with that.

“The documentary is now available and can be seen on the CGTN website. It is not part of the documentary but accompanies it to highlight the upcoming Games. There are several links, but ours is the only song and music video.

“We can be seen singing and playing instruments with excerpts of athletes practicing their sports.

“I’m very proud to have been chosen to do this and to be able to bring in great musicians who I knew would do brilliant work.”

David Haynes added: “It was great to see it all fall into place”, while Nick Kossifou said: “It was such an honor but a ‘pretty big shock’.”

The link to the CGTN Facebook page where the song can be heard and where Alex, Nick and David talk about their experience is at: https://bit.ly/3GVlLKF

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