The NHS Choir has reunited with Justin Bieber five years after fighting a closely fought race for Christmas number one.
The Lewisham and Greenwich choir gained fame when they beat the Canadian pop star to the coveted top spot in 2015, after he urged his fans to support them.
They have now added their voices to a special version of his track Holy in a bid to score another Christmas number one, with profits split between NHS Charities Together and the choir’s local NHS trust charity.
The piano-led Holy, which also features Chance the Rapper, focuses on Bieber’s Christian beliefs and his love for his wife Hailey.
Choir members laid down their vocals during sessions at the famous Abbey Road Studios.
Bieber, 26, said of their collaboration: “It’s great to be reunited with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir, as we share a fun bit of UK chart history together.
“Especially in these difficult times, I’m humbled to team up with them for a charity single that will benefit NHS workers on the frontlines of this pandemic and pay tribute to their unbelievable dedication.”
Choir member Lizzie Farrant, 39, a midwife who was redeployed during the Covid-19 pandemic to help with staff shortages, told the PA news agency: “What a year it has been. We talk about the Christmas number one all of the time. It’s given us so much. And whenever we talk about the Christmas number one, Justin Bieber is never far from our lips. They are synonymous with each other.”
Ms Farrant said members of the choir who had worked on the front line of the pandemic had “seen and experienced things they never imagined they would experience”.
She added: “The choir has given us a bit of grounding. All that time we have managed to keep virtual rehearsals together. We have really given ourselves the support, and then for (Bieber) to get in touch and say, ‘I would really like to do this collaboration and share this with you’… that’s really fantastic.”
Ms Farrant, who joined the choir a month after their Christmas number one, recalled meeting Bieber after he flew to London to hand them their trophy.
“He was very welcoming and so supportive of us as healthcare professionals,” she said.
“He was really supportive of us as an entity and what we do.”
The unlikely partnership started in 2015 when Bieber’s hit Love Yourself and the choir’s A Bridge Over You were competing to become Christmas number one.
Upon hearing about the choir, Bieber told his then 80 million Twitter followers to “do the right thing” and help the choir reach the top of the singles chart.
Following their success, Bieber travelled to London and presented them with their chart award.
He said afterwards: “I was honoured to meet everyone from the choir and I’m really happy that they got their number one.”
Holy by Justin Bieber and Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Choir is available on Friday December 18.