Since its debut earlier this year, Rina Sawayama’s song “This Hell” has served as something of a rallying cry for LGBTQ individuals all around the world. However, a recent interview claims that if not for one Sir Elton John, the song would not have been the same.
In a recent interview with NME, which was released on Friday (Sept. 16), Sawayama explained that when she was creating “Hell” in the studio, she became concerned because the song’s opening guitar riff resembled ABBA’s 1979 smash song “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” (A Man After Midnight). Because this is our lead song and our first single, she remarked, ‘this is our first single, this is our lead single, and I can’t use the guitar riff that I want.”
Sawayama claims that after calling John, he sent out a few emails connecting her with ABBA’s Benny Anderson, who gave the celebrity his OK to utilize the riff in her song. “Elton is always willing to help. He’s just amazing,” she said. “I trust him so much with songwriting. I’m literally like: ‘You are one of the best songwriters in the whole world, if not the best.’”
John and Sawayama first became acquainted in 2020 when he praised the singer’s debut album Sawayama on an episode of his Apple Music show Rocket Hour. As a result, the two finally collaborated on her song “Chosen Family” from 2021, which she rewrote to become a duet with John. She remarked that she still contacts the legend frequently now for input on her songs; “I always ask him, ‘What do you think?’ and he gave me such great advice as well.”
Below, you can listen to the official music video for “This Hell” from Sawayama’s recently released album Hold the Girl.