The lead singer of a Ukrainian band has described the difficulties the band faced when writing lyrics for a collaboration with Ed Sheeran.
The band, Antytila, have teamed up with Sheeran, 31, to create a remix of his track 2step, which will raise funds for Ukraine.
Speaking to BBC News, Antytila lead singer Taras Topolia said: “It wasn’t so easy to record the vocals 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 vocals.”
A new video, which Topolia, 34, called “heartbreaking” but encouraged people to watch, was released to accompany the remix.
“The video is also very heartbreaking,” he told BBC News.
“You should watch it, I ask you, please watch the video because the video conveys the message of the song.”
The remix was released to raise funds for Music Saves UA, a non-profit fundraising project providing humanitarian aid to people in Ukraine.
Over the next 12 months, Sheeran and Antytila’s world record royalties from the official video’s YouTube streams, and Warner Music’s proceeds from those streams, will be donated to Music Saves UA.
Topolia, who is currently working as a medic in the war effort, explained the meaning of the remix saying, “It’s a simple story but very dramatic. This is not just my story, it is the story of millions of Ukrainians, whose peaceful lives have been interrupted by war.
“So what I tried to do was buy some creative tools from them, to portray this drama, this drama of war in our country.”
Sheeran’s official video for the original recording of 2step with rapper Lil Baby, which was unveiled last month, was filmed in Kyiv last year.
In a statement, Sheeran said: “I filmed the 2step video in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine before the devastating acts of violence began to occur.
“It was my first time visiting the country and I felt very welcome during my time there – everyone from the production team to the many people I met during my days off.
“Ukraine is a proud and resilient country and I am grateful to have had the chance to shoot my video there.
“I support Ukraine and will donate my record royalties from the video’s YouTube streams to DEC’s Humanitarian Appeal for Ukraine.”
Topolia thanked Sheeran for the opportunity to collaborate, citing the important message he sends to the rest of the world.
He said: “Thank you Ed Sheeran and Ed’s team for letting me do this. It’s very important to us to send messages like this through song to everyone in the UK and people around the world.
Topolia also expressed his hope for a positive outcome for his country, saying, “Every day we keep hoping that one day we will achieve victory and we will meet 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 victory and that it achieves small victories every day, on the way to the big victory.”