Ed Sheeran stole hearts during Valentine’s Day week with his NBC “Elvis Presley’s All-Star Tribute” performance Sunday, and 16 lucky Belmont students got to be a part of it.
The students sang background vocals for Sheeran’s recording of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” at Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios back in the fall, and it aired during Sunday’s tribute.
The students were selected by Dr. Jeffery Ames, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Belmont, but they weren’t told which artist they would be working with.
Ocean Way’s Director of Operations Pat McMakin had initially told Dr. Ames about the opportunity.
“I personally love working with Belmont students,” said McMakin. “The ones I encounter are always driven and in it to win it.”
Once the students were on board, the project moved fast. The students met at Ocean Way to learn the anonymous artist was Sheeran. After getting to know each other briefly, they all rehearsed once and did five recordings.
“After rehearsing, lawyers came in saying we weren’t allowed to talk to anyone until the special aired,” said David Cistrunk, a senior commercial voice major who sang with Sheeran. “We left with the biggest secret.”
With legal matters taken care of and the recording finished, Sheeran had some time to ask students about hot chicken and things to do in Nashville.
“It was all in good humor,” said McMakin. “He grabbed a quick selfie and ducked out.”
This opportunity was an extremely memorable one for students, Cistrunk said.
“It was humbling to say the least,” he said. “I can’t wait to tell my kids and grandkids one day that I got to sing with Ed Sheeran.”
This article written by Chloe Eberhardt. Photo from the Belmont CVPA Instagram.