The artist teamed up with the Toronto-based group Choir! Choir! Choir! to lead 1,500 people in a rendition of “Across the Universe,” the classic Beatles song that Wainwright first recorded in 2002.
“These voices and faces represent the love and hopefulness we have for our days ahead,” Choir! Choir! Choir! stated in the video release. “As the late great John Lewis (R.I.P.) once said: ‘If it hadn’t been for music, the Civil Rights Movement would’ve been like a bird without wings. Music… brought us together. It created a sense of solidarity.’ As the days pass, we hope we never forget that our voices make a huge difference. In times of pandemics, massive economic hardships and social change, we will be there for each other.”
The project began with a phone call between Wainwright and Choir! Choir! Choir! co-founders Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman; the trio were hoping to receive 500 submissions for the song and were blown away by the overwhelming response.
“I have sung ‘Across the Universe’ for many years, but only now do I truly understand the chorus,” Wainwright wrote in a statement. “It is really the universe that is singing ‘Nothing’s gonna change my world.’ It is a thrill to express this eternal fact with so many voices from all around the planet.”
Wainwright released his new album, Unfollow the Rules, earlier this month.