The lead singer of a Ukrainian band has described the difficulties the group faced while writing the lyrics for a collaboration with Ed Sheeran.
The band, Antytila, teamed up with 31-year-old Sheeran to create a remix of his track 2step, which will raise money for Ukraine.
Speaking to BBC News, Antytila’s lead singer, Taras Topolia, said: “It was not so easy to record the voice because our studio was under occupation while we were creating the lyrics for the song.
“So our studio was under occupation but we found a way to record the voice.”
A new video, which Topolia, 34, described as “heartbreaking”, but encouraged people to watch, has been released to accompany the remix.
“The video is also very heartbreaking,” he told BBC News.
“You should watch it, I’m asking you, please watch the video because the video conveys the message of the song.”
The remix has been released to raise money for Music Saves UA, a non-profit fundraising project providing humanitarian aid for people in Ukraine.
Over the next 12 months, Sheeran and Antytila’s worldwide record royalties from YouTube streams of the official video, and Warner Music’s proceeds from such streams, will be donated to Music Saves UA.
Topolia, who is currently working as a medic in the war effort, explained the meaning behind the remix, saying: “It is a simple but very dramatic story. It is not just only my story, it is the story of millions of Ukrainian people, whose peaceful life was interrupted by war.
“So what I tried to do is buy them creative tools, to describe this drama, this war drama in our country.”
Sheeran’s official video for the original recording of 2step featuring rapper Lil Baby, which was unveiled last month, was shot in Kyiv last year.
In a statement Sheeran said: “I filmed the video for 2step in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine before the devastating acts of violence started to take place.
“It was my first time visiting the country and I felt so welcomed during my stay there – everyone from the production crew to the many people I met across my days off.
“Ukraine is a proud and resilient country and I’m grateful to have had the chance to film my video there.
“I stand with Ukraine and will be donating my record royalties from YouTube streams of the video to the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.”
Topolia thanked Sheeran for the opportunity to collaborate, citing the important message it sends to the rest of the world.
He said: “Thanks Ed Sheeran and the team of Ed to let me do this. It’s very important for us to send messages like this through the song to all of the people of the United Kingdom and people all over the world.”
Topolia also expressed his hope for a positive outcome for his country, saying: “Every day we keep hope inside that some day we’ll get the victory and we’ll gather in a new stadium in Ukraine and also invite a lot of people from all over the world to undefeated happiness.”
He added: “The main thing is that Ukraine is united, that Ukraine believes in the victory and every day they get the small victories, in direction to the big victory.”