More than 75 stars — from the legendary Barbra Streisand to rapper Lil Wayne and actor Vince Vaughn — gathered at Hollywood’s Henson Recording Studios yesterday (Feb. 1) to record the 25th anniversary version of “We Are The World.”
Like its predecessor, “We Are The World – 25 For Haiti” features a diverse lineup: this time ranging from Streisand and Celine Dion to actor Jeff Bridges. But it also boasts a major hip-hop contingent (Kanye West, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Akon, Kid Cudi, Drake), young newcomers (Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber) and major-league high technology.
“This is like running through hell with gasoline underwear,” said Quincy Jones with a laugh late last night during a five-minute recording break.
The video for “We Are the World – 25 For Haiti” will world premiere in 3D during NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 12. Academy Award-winning writer/director Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “Million Dollar Baby”) directed the video, an online version will feature green screen, allowing viewers to place themselves in the We Are the World lineup as well.
Proceeds from the contemporary recording and the accompanying video will go directly to Haitian relief efforts through the We Are The World Foundation, a newly created not-for-profit organization comprised of board members Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, Wyclef Jean, Paul Haggis, AEG Live president/CEO Randy Phillips and Ambassador Louis Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank. Helping to underwrite the project was Visa.
Joining Jones in the media tent (which housed two video screens showing both looped and real-time footage of the recording) was an equally tired but ebullient Lionel Richie, who produced and co-wrote the original song with Michael Jackson. He, Jones and Jean are executive producers of the new song, with newly minted Grammy Award winner/producer RedOne and producer/musical director Ricky Minor (“American Idol”) also onboard. Richie and Jones noted that other artists beyond those on hand last night will be added to the recording. Among those will be Janet Jackson, who will sing brother Michael’s middle part in the original.