"Oh Lord, won’t you buy me …" – it was with these words that Janis Joplin wrote musical history. Inspired by this world-famous classic dating from 1970, three young artists have now created a homage to the "Mercedes-Benz" on the initiative of the British music and lifestyle magazine BLAG. The singer and songwriter Estelle, the rapper and producer David Banner and the musician Daley have composed the new song "Benz". With modern sounds and new lyrics, they have formulated the world view of their generation and the fascination that is Mercedes-Benz. "Benz" is a lively, mood-setting‑piece carried by expressive soul-voices and influenced by David Banner's Mississippi roots. Mercedes-Benz has enthusiastically taken up the idea and supported the project.
The three musicians composed a new melody and wrote suitable lyrics during a creative session at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles in February. Their different musical directions combined to create an impressive and harmonious crossover. The track was produced by Grammy-winner David Banner. It was published as a single and music video on 18 April, and is being distributed solely via iTunes. Comprehensive making-of material will also be available as a BLAG Deluxe App for the iPad – with numerous stills from the video and interviews with Estelle, David Banner and Daley.
"Although we were not even born when the original song by Janis Joplin appeared, we all have an intuitive affinity for it. So we got together to create a new version, and we immediately agreed that it should be about ambition and success. And the 125th birthday of the automobile is just the right occasion," says Sally A. Edwards, joint proprietor of BLAG with her twin sister Sarah J. Edwards.
The founders of BLAG love to bring people together for unusual projects, and decided to invite Estelle, David Banner and Daley for this one. Their choice was mainly based on the different musical styles of these artists. All three are fans of the original song, and they were immediately enthusiastic about working together on the idea.
It was taken up just as enthusiastically by Mercedes-Benz. "When BLAG presented the idea for the song and the artists to us, we immediately pledged our support. We consider it an honour that these young artists are recording a song about the Mercedes-Benz brand," says Christoph Horn, Head of Global Communications at Mercedes-Benz Cars. The first live performance will take place as part of the Mercedes-Benz press conference at the Shanghai Auto Show on 19 April 2011.
About BLAG and the three artists
BLAG is a British magazine with a worldwide circulation covering music, fashion, art, film, culture and design, and is completely produced and published by its founders Sally A. Edwards and Sarah J. Edwards. The two sisters have excellent contacts in the cultural, musical and artistic scene.
David Banner is a Grammy award-winning producer, rapper and actor. In 2003 he achieved his musical breakthrough with the single "Like A Pimp" and the album "Mississippi – The Album". Since then he has released five albums, among them "The Greatest Story Ever Told" in 2008 with numerous guest appearances by e.g. Yung Joc, Snoop Dogg, Akon and Chris Brown. His current album "Death Of A Popstar" is a joint production with 9th Wonder. As a producer he has most recently worked with Lil Wayne, Kanye West, T.I., Nelly, Maroon 5, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Jamie Foxx, Anthony Hamilton, Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes and Zac Brown.
Also a Grammy award-winner, the British singer and songwriter Estelle released her first studio album "The 18th Day" in 2004, with three of its songs also released as singles ("1980", "Free" and "Go Gone") and making it to the Top 40 in the British charts. In 2008 Estelle reached No. 1 in the UK singles charts with "American Boy featuring Kanye West". This single won a Grammy for "Best collaboration", and was nominated for "Song of the Year". It was the third No. 1 single in Great Britain, was awarded a platinum disc by the RIAA for more than one million digital sales and therefore wrote a piece of pop history. The single comes from Estelle's second album "Shine", on which she also worked together with Cee-Lo Green, Will.I.Am, Kardinal Offishall and John Legend. Afterwards Estelle produced the song "Freak" with David Guetta, which will feature in the third album "All of Me" to be released this year. In addition to her music, Estelle is a social activist and has founded the "All of Me Foundation" dedicated to the education and development of young people.
The British soul singer Daley is regarded as an exceptional talent. He was discovered by the BBC in 2009 by virtue of his extraordinarily expressive voice, and nominated for "BBC’s Sound of 2011" in 2010. Daley has worked with the British band Gorillaz, and can be heard as the lead singer in their current single "Doncamatic" which was released in November 2010.
Facts about the production of the song and video "Benz"
Initiator and Publisher: BLAG Magazine – Sally A. Edwards & Sarah J. Edwards
Music: David Banner
Lyrics and vocals: David Banner, Estelle and Daley
Producer: David Banner
Executive Producers Song: Sally A. Edwards, Sarah J. Edwards and Corey Smyth
Video Directors and Producers: Sally A. Edwards & Sarah J. Edwards
Video producers: Matt Goldberg and Brandon Carroll, Herzog and Company, Los Angeles
DP: David Robert Jones
Production Designer: Melanie Jones
Video Editor: Jared Varava
Vehicle in the video: Mercedes-Benz 280 SE Cabriolet (Model W 111, year of production 1971)