Justin Bieber, Geddy Lee, Bryan Adams, and dozens of other Canadian artists have joined forces for a Bill Withers tribute doubling as a coronavirus relief fundraiser. Musicians Tyler Shaw and Fefe Dobson teamed up to launch ArtistsCAN, an initiative that raises funds for The Canadian Red Cross‘ COVID-19 Response Fund.
“To the late, great Bill Withers,” a text graphic read on-screen to start the video, “Thank you for your lyrics and inspiring message. We are grateful to lean on music during our time of need. Your musical legacy lives on through us.” After a short introduction by Shaw and Dobson, Justin Bieber sang the opening lines to the iconic Withers song, “Lean On Me”.
“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow/But, if we are wise we know that there’s always tomorrow,” he sang before dozens of other popular artists took lines of their own. Well-known musicians such as Avril Levigne, Gianni Luminati and Sarah Blackwood of Walk Off The Earth, Michael Bublé, and Sarah McLachlan appear throughout the video, providing both vocal leads and harmonies. The five-minute Bill Withers tribute also highlights pop-culture mainstays and athletes such as Michael Smith (Bubbles) from Trailer Park Boys, Russell Peters, Steve Yzerman, and even the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
One of the most surprising and compelling aspects of the video was seeing Rush‘s bassist and lead vocalist Geddy Lee joining from his home studio with his dog. If you had told someone just a few months ago that Geddy Lee and Justin Bieber were going to collaborate on a song, they would have thought you were crazy—but now, it doesn’t even feel all that surprising. Welcome to the new normal.
Click here for more information about ArtistsCAN and watch the Bill Withers tribute below.
ArtistsCAN Bill Withers Tribute – “Lean On Me” [Bill Withers cover]