Ed Sheeran teams up with Antytila for song performed on Ukraine's front line

Proceeds from collaboration will go towards humanitarian causes

Ukrainian band Antytila have collaborated with Ed Sheeran after serving on the front line of the conflict with Russia. PA

British music star Ed Sheeran has teamed up with Ukrainian band Antytila to release a video that was partly filmed and recorded on the front line in the war against Russia.

The artists have collaborated on a remix of Sheeran's track 2step and proceeds of the single will go towards humanitarian causes in Ukraine.

Antytila is one of the biggest musical acts in Ukraine but band members stepped back from performing to serve in the military following the Russian invasion of their country.

The band's lead singer, Taras Topolia, revealed that the lyrics to the remix were written while he was serving as a medic in the town of Borodyanka, near the capital Kyiv.

A new video, which Topolia described as “heartbreaking”, has been released to accompany the remix.

Members of the group were able to film the video in Kharkiv after it was retaken by Ukrainian forces.

“We just stopped in the middle of the road and were singing there in the middle of nowhere,” he said of the video shoot.

With the ongoing war and with band members working to defend their country, the collaboration was not easy.

“It was not so easy to record the voice because our studio was under occupation while we were creating the lyrics for the song,” the band told BBC News.

The remix aims to raise money for Music Saves UA, a non-profit fund-raising 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 as well as Warner Music's proceeds from such streams will be donated to Music Saves UA.

Topolia 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.”

Antytila frontman Taras Topolia in uniform during an interview while on patrol in Ukraine. AP.

Sheeran's official video for the original recording of 2step featuring rapper Lil Baby — 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.”

Topolia has thanked Sheeran for the opportunity to collaborate, citing the important message it sends to the rest of the world.

He also expressed his hope for a positive outcome for his country, saying: “Every day we keep hope inside that someday 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.”

Updated: May 03, 2022, 11:00 PM
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