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George Ezra gives royalties from Joe Wicks PE class play to NHS, other musicians also pitch in

By | Published on Wednesday 1 April 2020

George Ezra

If you’re currently home schooling your children during the COVID-19 lockdown, chances are you’ve tuned into Joe Wicks’ daily online PE lessons at some point. You may also have noticed that there is no music in the videos. Well now George Ezra’s sorted that out. At least for a few minutes. In one video.

Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ featured in yesterday’s video, thanks to the musician’s primary school teacher mum. After Wicks mentioned in a previous video that there was no music in his online classes due to copyright issues, Mrs Ezra got on the phone and made things happen.

“So, yesterday my mum rang me on her lunch break”, said Ezra on Instagram, picking up the story. “She’s a teacher at a primary school and each morning her and the kids are tuning in for PE with Joe. Joe mentioned that it was a shame that there was no music on during the classes but, because of copyright issues, he couldn’t use songs in the background. My mum suggested I offer Joe and the kids my songs to use. I got in touch with Joe and we made it happen”.

He also seemingly managed to rope Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran into signing up, with Wicks also playing their songs through a speaker in his living room during the video, which you can watch here.

This isn’t a big pay day for Ezra and co though, despite the popularity of Wicks’ lessons. “The coolest thing”, he goes on, “is that all royalties made from the songs being used are going directly to the NHS! I’d like to say a huge thank you to Joe for being the world’s fitness coach throughout all of this and an even bigger thank you to my amazing mum and all the other incredible teachers up and down the country for everything they’re doing”.

Ezra is not the only musician offering support to the incredible NHS staff directly facing the coronavirus down. Rick Astley and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott have both announced free performances for NHS staff once this is all over.

Heaton and Abbott will play the Nottingham Arena on 13 Oct, and to ensure that as many members of NHS staff as possible have the opportunity to go, they will be sending coaches out to thirteen locations around the UK to pick them up.

“The coronavirus pandemic should remind everyone, and let no one forget, that our National Health Service is the most brilliant and significant institution in our lives”, says Heaton. “The men and women who serve us and care for us, give us hope and sacrifice their own wellbeing, can never be thanked enough. We are just musicians, so there is little we can do but sing for you. By way of appreciation, we announce the following gig for all frontline NHS staff. From the porters, the cleaners and the drivers, to the doctors and the nurses; thank you”.

Meanwhile, Astley will play a free show for NHS staff, primary care workers, paramedics, fire fighters and police officers at the Manchester Arena on 28 Oct. “Our NHS and emergency services are amazing”, says Astley. “This concert is a thank you to all those fantastic frontline staff. I promise my band and I will give it everything to give you a great night out”.

On the business side of things, Download Festival – which last week cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak – has launched a limited edition t-shirt, being sold to raise money for NHS staff.

Elsewhere, comedian Matt Lucas is releasing a song called ‘Thank You Baked Potato’ – a reworked version of his ‘Baked Potato Song’ from BBC Two’s ‘Shooting Stars’ – to raise money for the FeedNHS campaign. The fundraising initiative is aiming to raise $1 million to get hot, healthy meals to NHS staff on a daily basis.

“‘The Baked Potato Song’ was something I sang on ‘Shooting Stars’ 20 years ago and in an idle moment on Tuesday night I rewrote the lyrics and updated them”, says Lucas. “‘Baked Potato’ is always giving good advice and the new advice in the new version of the song is about washing your hands, staying indoors and only going to grocery stores. I urge everyone to go out and buy the single this week and raise vital money for the FeedNHS campaign”.

Speaking of feeding healthcare staff, in the US Lizzo has been personally donating meals to hospital staff. “You guys are putting yourselves on the frontline, so because of that, I wanted to treat y’all to a meal”, she told staff of one hospital in a video message. “Lunch on me! I love you guys. Thank you so much for being the heroes in this story”.

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