Common and Kind was born on the 24th of June 2016. Inspired by divisive events in the UK, USA and across the world, Common and Kind’s founder Michael Solomon William’s Facebook post went viral instantly galvanising people across the world.
Two days later he wrote the song Human Kind featuring quotes from Jo Cox (More in common) and John Donne (No man’s an island) and just weeks later it was recorded live by hundreds at the end of an extraordinary concert at the Union Chapel London.
Since then choirs and solo artists across the world sent in recordings of the song. The result is a phenomenal collaboration between countries communities and cultures.
The song features star soloists from an huge range of genres including Cassidy Janson (Carole King in Beautiful the Carole King Musical) , US soul sensation Jonathan Hoard , Bengali folk star Saida Tani , opera star Sarah Connolly , guitarist Mark Lettieri , bassist Michael League and pianist Bill Laurence among nine members of multi Grammy-winning jazz fusion stars Snarky Puppy.
Choirs participating from across the world including Pihcintu an incredible chorus combining refugees from Cambodia, China, Congo, El Salvador, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam, West Indies and Zambia, the Vietnam Miracle Choir Barazina Youth Choir from Northern Ireland and many more.
MHBOX met up with Michael Solomon William’s of Common and Kind – INTERVIEW
How would you describe the music of Common and Kind ?
Anthemic, catchy, popular. Music for all people, all cultures, styles and backgrounds. The song’s a deep groove, a 12/8 anthem with a simple, catchy tune, but rich a flexible, so all the elements make sense together – soul, pop, rock, classical, jazz, world.
What is the new single ‘Human Kind’ about and tell us more about the inspiration ?
It’s about how as human beings we have, in the famous words of Jo Cox, more in common than that which divides. I was deeply affected by her life, and the divisive events across the country and the world last year, and wanted to find a way to show the world that, for all we might be superficially divided, deep down we are all of course human, and can all be kind. We just need positive messages, positive role models, and the example of music is the very best. When I posted on Facebook on the 24th of June 2016, it went viral and I found myself with this vast international community waiting to be brought together. So I wrote the song, and have brought them together. I hope it inspires the rest of the world.
What inspired you to have a go in the music business ?
It’s my family business, really. My father’s a conductor, and I’ve always sung and played string and brass instruments. When I was ten, A Louis Armstrong tape got me hooked on jazz, so improv and creativity has always been central to what I do.
It’s a lovely song, Do you have a particular songwriting method ?
It depends. With Human Kind, the tune came to me in the shower… then words made to fit that. For the chorus at least. It was the other way around for the verses! Then write down, rewrite, adapt any words or rhythms as necessary. All recordings from the beginning were done against a click track, to make it possible to send around the world.
Who are all the musicians and people involved in Common and Kind ?
Lead Vocals – Cassidy Janson, Jonathan Hoard, Saida Tani, Sarah Connolly
Guitar – Mark Lettieri
Bass – Michael League (USA), Dan Swana (UK)
Drums – James Nall
Piano – Michael Solomon Williams
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Joe Morris (UK), Mike Maher, Justin Stanton, Jay Jennings (USA)
Trombone – Raphael Clarkson
Alto Saxophone – Yasmin Ogilbie
Tenor Saxophone – Jonny Griffiths (UK), Chris Bullock, Brian Donohoe (USA)
Electric & Acoustic Guitar – Brad Allen Williams
Guitar – Bob Lanzetti
Keyboard – Bill Laurance
Conductor – James Burton
Union Chapel Live Choirs – 200 singers from across the country.
Worldwide Choirs – Pihcintu Chorus, Vietnam Miracle Choir, Barazina Youth Choir, KL Young Singers of Kuala Lumpur, German Choir of London, Choir with No Name, Reggae Choir, Nossa Voz Brazilian Choir, Goa University Choir, Chiltern Music Academy, Big Noise Chorus, Songlines Choir, Windham Chamber Singers.
Where does your name come from ?
It’s a combination of Jo Cox’s famous phrase ‘more in common’ and the song ‘Human Kind’.
Thanks Michael !
The single ‘Human Kind’ will be released on the anniversary of Jo Cox’s funeral with worldwide distribution from Universal Music Operations on 16 June 2017.