Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Willie Nelson joined forces in a new cover of Queen and David Bowie’s iconic duet “Under Pressure.”
Nelson and O put an acoustic spin on the track, but kept the original instrumental feel with guitar from fellow YYY bandmate Nick Zinner. On paper, the pair seem like an uncommon match, but are a surprising sonic fit with their varying voice tones.
Karen O said in a statement about the song’s origin:
“A friend on the board of NIVA asked if I knew of any country artists who could sign a letter to Congress asking them to help save independent venues from going extinct due to Covid. I recalled my buddy Johnny Knoxville being friends with Willie so I asked to see if he could check in with Willie about it, and then out of sheer audacity I added ‘and if he ever wants to do a duet I’m ready and willing!’
Our cover was meant to be more intimate but just as saturated with the power of love. I can’t listen to this song without tearing up every time Willie comes in, one of the purest voices which of course reflects a pure heart, and I get to sing alongside it. I never knew if it was actually going to happen, but you must dare to dream. I hope the song brings as much light to the listener as it has to me in dark times.”
Listen to Karen O and Willie Nelson’s “Under Pressure” cover below.