Music

From sofas and kitchens, musicians hold coronavirus concert fundraiser

LOS ANGELES : Billie Eilish sang on her sofa, Elton John played a keyboard belonging to his children and the Backstreet Boys crooned in harmony from five locations as dozens of musicians put on a fund-raiser for the warriors battling coronavirus.

Those who performed from their homes for the "iHeart Living Room Concert for America" also included Mariah Carey, Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith.

The one-hour show, broadcast on Fox television without commercials, was the biggest joint effort in the pandemic to lift spirits, raise money for those on the front lines and remind Americans to wash their hands and keep their distance.

"There's doctors, nurses and scientists on the front lines.

"They're living proof that most superheroes don't wear capes," said John, who hosted the show from his kitchen. "We hope this bit of entertainment can feed and fuel your souls."

All the performances and appearances by celebrities ranging from comedian Ellen DeGeneres to R&B artist Lizzo and country singer Tim McGraw were filmed on phones, home cameras or online platforms.

The songs were interspersed with short personal stories from nurses, doctors, truckers, grocery staff and other essential workers as millions of Americans entered a third week subjected to orders to stay home.

The concert, also broadcast on iHeart radio stations nationwide, urged listeners to donate to charities Feeding America and First Responders Children's Foundation.

The amount raised was not immediately known, but more than US$1 million (S$1.4 million) was donated in the first 10 minutes, courtesy of US$500,000 from household goods giant Procter & Gamble and a matching sum from Fox Television.

"My heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and also those who are losing their jobs," said Lady Gaga, clad in pink sweatpants and a hoodie.

Keys singing Rise Up, Dave Grohl performing My Hero and Billie Joe Armstrong's acoustic version of Boulevard Of Broken Dreams spoke to the hardships of millions of those working or laid off.- REUTERS

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