George Bowie has teamed up with Scots charity The Catherine McEwan Foundation to release a single raising funds and awareness for their cause.
The song, a cover of 90s trance monster Shine by The Space Brothers, features Scots singer Heather Kane on vocals with George and wife Ellene, along with partner in crime Sparkos, behind the desk.
And with all funds going to support the Foundation’s work for people suffering with Crohn’s and Colitis in Scotland, it means the world to founder Derek McEwan and his team. George wanted to help due to the relationship with Derek, but also a personal connection to the cause.
George said: “One of our best friends from when we used to live in Kilbarchan, Nicola, suffered from Crohns’ and it was not an illness I knew much about before, but watching the hell that she was going through and knowing there was nothing that could be done about it was horrendous.
“I knew Derek from our clubbing days at The Metro in Saltcoats back in the 90s and heard he’d lost his Mum and set up a charity in her name so wanted to help. We are also friends with his wife Julie and are just delighted to be able to do anything to back the amazing work that these guys do day in and day out. He’s dedicated his life to it and his Mum would be very, very proud.”
Derek said: “I was totally blown away when the guys approached me with the idea to do a track together for the charity. It’s a real honour and gives the Catherine McEwan Foundation an incredible platform for awareness and a new audience.
“We’ve all been friends since the early 90s, well they’re friends with my wife, like most people. I think we first met in Ibiza or the Metro back in the day and since I first started the foundation George and Ellene have always supported. I wasn’t initially aware of the personal connection they have but it just makes it that bit more special that the guys really get the battles of our IBD patients and are on board with our vision.”
George releases a lot of charity records, but he explains its simply his way of contributing because he’s so busy at weekends he generally can’t go to fundraisers.
So he donates DJ sets to be auctioned off, which is the only way to get him to play a private party.
“I’ve wanted to do a charity track with Derek for a while now. We’ve supported the charity for a few years with auction prizes. I get asked every day to DJ at weddings and birthday parties but I genuinely don’t have the time to do it. I’m live on the radio every Friday and Saturday till 10pm and then DJing in a club anywhere in Scotland after that. It was easier to do when I was just DJing in Glasgow but now I’m all over. Last week I was in playing Nairn, the week before it was Dumfries, this week it’s Ibiza. I’ve got Liverpool and Benbecula coming up over the next few months so it just isn’t practical.
“I also have this thing where I want to do a charity gig once a week for free to help out, sometimes you forget how lucky you are to be doing this for a living so it makes me feel less of an imposter if I help folk out. I know that sounds weird but you genuinely just feel really good after it, hard to explain. So I let the Catherine McEwan Foundation and a few other charities auction off a GBX party at their events. As a thank you Derek invited my wife Ellene and daughter Lauryn to his Tea Jenny ladies lunch event. Heather Kane was playing at it and both girls were blown away so Ellene asked Derek to introduce her and the idea for this single was born.”
Derek added: “Heather is a phenomenal vocalist. She performed at Colours Classical a few years ago and I was blown away. Since then she has performed at a few of our charity events and when Ellene heard her sing at our ladies lunch, Tea Jenny, everyone was going mad with ideas on a collaboration. We had to do something together!
“It’s an incredible reimagining of an absolute classic for me. I was asked to pick the track for the rework and nothing really jumped out until one day this was on a mix when I was out running. The lyrics fit so well with our charity, where we come from, where we are going and the brave, inspirational patients we are helping every day. It has a very poignant yet inspiring message. I won’t lie, every time I hear it I get a bit emotional. It really has taken on new meaning for me personally. It’s got the potential to be the anthem of Summer ’23.”
George said: “I wasn’t involved in that part of the chat but when Derek introduced Ellene to Heather they started throwing ideas around and all agreed on a track they thought was called Soul Of An Angel. I didn’t know what she was talking about at first and then when she started singing it I said ‘Oh yeah. That’s Shine by The Space Brothers’. All I can say is thank God Heather is singing on the track and not Ellene.
“The plan is for us to perform the song live at the next Tea Jenny. Who knows, I might end up doing a wee DJ set while I’m there and auction off another GBX party. Hopefully Heather can come to some of our bigger festival gigs this summer and perform it live too. Coloursfest would be a good one but we’ll wait and see.
“The main thing for me is not actually raising lots of money through the song, although hopefully it will, but the main thing is getting the word out there about the amazing work The Catherine McEwan Foundation do, so other people and businesses can support them and folks who suffer from Crohns and Colitis don’t suffer alone. You would not believe how many people suffer from this.
“I guarantee everybody reading this interview right now knows at least one person who just hasn’t told anyone about it. The work Derek is doing is lifting the stigma and now more people than ever are speaking out about their suffering. That’s really important.”
Photo: George Bowie
Photo: Ellene Bowie
Derek is also keen to stress this single is about awareness more than anything else, and helping sufferers realise they are far from alone.
“With the help of George, the GBX team and his incredible fanbase we hope to raise awareness of Crohn’s, Colitis and the work of the Catherine McEwan Foundation to a new level. I take no joy in saying this, but Geo is right, everyone will know someone affected by these terrible, life long conditions. If we can create more awareness and educate then we will be making great progress…..We have already had so many people reaching out to us for support through hearing the track on the radio. Now that it’s out I’m sure we will see much more.
“Over the years we have been very lucky to have some incredible support and welcomed those individuals into the Catherine McEwan Foundation family. It’s touching and humbling that people believe in our vision and recognise the positive impact our charity has on the IBD community. The fact that George trusts us and puts his name behind us means the world to me personally and to everyone connected to the Foundation.”
Geo is proud to be working with a cause so close to his heart, and the single kicks off an incredibly busy summer for team GBX – and he wants to continue working with Heather and other artists who deserve more success.
“Hopefully we can work with Heather again and we have some other Scottish artists who we think should be much bigger stars than they are at the moment so we’re going to be pushing them over the next few months.
“We also have a remix of Saint PHNX single Red Brake Lights and we’ve remixed one of Scotland’s biggest ever tunes, Umboza’s Cry India, which is out this Friday. But the big one is Shine, for so many reasons.”
Headline image: Heather Kane
Listen in Spotify
Listen in iTunes