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Nicole’s Tribeca Blog – Day One

Today was so long, yet so wonderful. Our Tribeca experience started off with us (Kenneth Arielle and myself) meeting up at the Tribeca Cadillac Lounge to pick up press credentials. We then proceeded to the designated waiting area for the wrist bands needed for the public screening of The Union.

The Union is a documentary based off of the musical collaboration and friendship between two iconic musicians. The film, directed by Cameron Crowe, takes a behind the scenes look at Elton John and his idol, Leon Russell, while working on their album.

Documentaries aren’t my favorite genre but I really enjoyed this one because it takes a look at one of the world’s most notable idols and shows who he looks up to. There are so many performers who think of Elton John as their inspiration so it was really interesting to see who Elton John’s inspiration is and watch the two interact.

It was also pretty inspiring to see how hard the two worked. Leon had heavy brain surgery in the middle of making the album and returned to the studio just ten days later. The passion, and love for music that each man shared was seen through their dedication to their work.

Even though it was clear to see that Elton John was more outwardly excited, in an interview in the movie, Leon said, “It’s exciting for me, I mean what a great gift to be invited to do this.” The movie also showed that the song writing process may take some time and revision before revealing something good and that taking risks when it comes to music can be worth it.

“I felt pretty anxious at first,” said Russell, “because usually I have a real clear picture in my mind about what a song’s going to be and I didn’t really have a picture.” Elton on the other hand said, “I don’t think either of us had a clear idea. I knew what I wanted it to sound like. I wanted it to sound like one of his old records because that’s where this idea came about in the first place, by listening to his records. It could have been a complete disaster and that’s because you never know. But I had to take that chance.”

In the end, the completed album resulted in Leon being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the album reaching number three on the Billboard 200, Rolling Stone Magazine naming it one of the top five albums of 2010 and it being the top seller on Amazon on it’s release date.

Their friendship, trust and hard work paid off and even brought Elton to tears at one point in the movie. He wanted this all for Leon. He wanted him to be recognized as the talented musician that he is. My favorite thing about this movie was how it ended with Elton saying, “I love you Leon.”

 

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