Listen to Plan B featuring Elton John and Paloma Faith "Hard Times"
Following his triple win at The Ivor Novello Awards for "Album," "PRS" and "Songwriter of the Year," top-selling artist Plan B has released a special version of "Hard Times, a track featured on his triple-platinum selling album "The Defamation of Strickland Banks."
This new version features vocals from none other than his pal Sir Elton John and rising pop singer Paloma Faith. All proceeds of the song will be going to benefit victims of the Japan Tsunami and Pakistan Floods. The song is currently available for purchase through iTunes (and all digital retailers) in the U.K. only (for now).
Plan B and Elton John could not have picked a better song for this special purpose. "Hard Times" is a heartfelt and comforting tune about persevering against the odds with poignant lyrics like, "Through these hard times, people see what it's like for the poor," Elton John and Plan B sing. "Through these hard times people really find out what it's like to be ignored."
Video Interview: Arjan Chats with Plan B
Almost a year after it was first released overseas, British artist Plan B (aka Ben Drew) is taking his award-winning and top-selling LP "The Defamation Of Strickland Banks" to North America. It is an incredibly accomplished soul record that fuses the sound of Motown, Stax and Northern soul, filtered through the grit of contemporary East London.
But it is not only the unique sound of the record that makes it so remarkable. It's also the captivating story that Drew shares on the record. It's an "urban fairytale" that chronicles the life of his alter-ego Strickland Banks, a man who finds success hard to handle and then hits rock bottom. It's one of those rare albums that you need to listen to in its entirey and cannot be experienced by only downloading a few singles.
Plan B started out as a writer of R&B tunes, but over the past few years he has developed into a rapper, soul singer and actor with an extraordinary cinematic vision that makes his music unlike anything you've heard before.
In fact, last Thursday, Drew sweeped the annual Ivor Novello songwriting awards grabbing statues for "Songwriter of the Year," the album award for "The Defamation of Strickland Banks" and the most performed work for his single "She Said."
I recently chatted with Plan B to talk about the album, his vision, songwriting and more. It was an inspiring chat that could have lasted a couple of hours, but I edited it down to a web-friendly 3 minutes to give you a taste of Plan B's talent and point of view. Make sure to catch Plan B on tour with Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars in the U.S. in the next few weeks. Download the "The Defamation Of Strickland Banks" on iTunes.