"We Are The People" - Garrix, Martin, ft. Bono and The Edge

Single

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Background Information

This single “We Are the People” by Martin Garrix featured Bono and The Edge, and was the theme song for the Euro 2020 tournament, held in 2021 due to COVID-19. The first version of the single, included a single version of the song, which comes in at 3:37 in length. The song was released simultaneously worldwide on May 14th in Europe (Midnight CEST) and regions to the East, and May 13th for the UK, Ireland and North America. A video for the song also appeared on YouTube on the same day, which includes Bono and The Edge filmed in London, as well as some footage from U2’s performance at Slane Castle in 2001. For those asking about a physical release, we have no information confirmed, however, STMPD tends to just issue digital releases.

The single is available in digital storefronts and streaming services at a variety of qualities, including a high resolution audio version at 44.1/24-bit in some shops. The song credits Bono and The Edge among those writing the track, as well as long time collaborator, Simon Carmody and others including Garrix. A press release details that Bono has come up with lyrics and melodies for the song, and that The Edge was involved in creating lead guitar riffs for the song, over a musical track Garrix had previously developed.

The song began development in 2018. Garrix worked up a demo ahead of the involvement of Bono and The Edge. Realizing that the song’s guitar part had a U2 vibe, he discussed with his manager about the possibility of getting U2 to work with him on the song. His manager told him “If you never reach out, you always have a no.” Bono called Garrix back just a few hours after Garrix had sent an email inquiring about working together. Bono already had lyric and vocal ideas during that intitial call. Garrix related that Bono “literally changed every word of lyrics that we had come up with, but I see it as a win, he gave the lyrics much more importance. He wrote it before Corona, but the message is more topical than ever.”

Bono and The Edge recorded their portions of the song in mid-2019 with Garrix in Eze. Garrix said, “I had goosebumps in the studio the entire time, because it’s Bono standing next to me singing the song.” In an interview with Rolling Stone Garrix confirms that the track was finished pre-pandemic. In a video interview for promotion of the song Garrix states, “The crazy thing about this song was we wrote it before Corona happened, but I feel like right now, even more, I hope it will resonate with people even more, because I feel like in general the world needs something hopeful, something exciting, something uplifting again.”

When announced in October 2019, Garrix could hardly contain his excitement about the collaborators he was working with that he did not name at that time.The 2020 tournament was unfortunately delayed due to COVID-19 and the song and tournament were placed on hold. Garrix officially announced the release of the single on May 4, 2021 a year after initially planned, and shared a photo taken with Bono and The Edge. The three had been together that day, and the next, shooting a video for the song in London. The song, and versions of it will be used as the official anthem of the tournament, as well as walkout music for the opening ceremony, music used in official broadcasts of the tournament and music to be used throughout the tournament. Garrix spoke about contributing the music to such an event, “The final game will be watched more than 600 million times – one game! To be able to make music for such a huge tournament… my brain explodes.” Garrix describes the song he has developed as being “euphoric” and being a song to “bring people together.” The song for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament was developed with composer Franck van der Heijden, and pianist Giorgio Tuinfort. Alternate mixes and recordings of the song are known to exist, including one version recorded with a full orchestra. It is unknown where these may pop up.

The song is called “We Are The People” and uses the phrase “We are the people we’ve been waiting for.” If that phrase sounds familiar, you may have a long memory. Back when Bono launched (RED) in October 2006, he and Bobby Shriver met with the President George W. Bush aboard Air Force One while in Chicago. They brought him a bag of goodies from the (RED) campaign, and the phrase “we are the people we’ve been waiting for” was said to have been shared with the President by Bono. So the phrase has been around for some time on Bono’s tongue.

Bono speaking about the track said, “We’d like to think our tune comes at a time when people are starting to come together again… even if it’s in competition. We know we are not the people anyone’s waiting for come these Euros, but if we can provide the soundtrack to some great days and nights, that would be an honour. And Martin Garrix is a top man!”

The main tournament song will be performed in full at the opening ceremony at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, but Bono and The Edge will not be present, their contribution will be pre-recorded.

Liner Notes

We Are The People:
Written by Martijn Garritsen, The Edge, Bono, Simon Carmody, Giorgio Tuinfort, Albin Nedler, and Kristoffer Fogelmark.
Composed by Martijn Garritsen, The Edge, Giorgio Tuinfort, Albin Nedler, and Kristoffer Fogelmark.
Piano by Giorgio Tuinfort.Additional guitar by Pierre-Luc Rioux. Strings: Frank van Essen. Background vocals: Albin Nedler, Kristoffer Fogelmark.

Artwork

Photograph by Louis van Baar.

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