Elton John and ‘Hold Me Closer’ producer describe working with Britney: ‘She took complete control’

Photos of Britney and Elton performing with glowing lights added in behind them

Britney Spears is finally back with new music in her “Hold Me Closer” duet with Elton John, and she is freer than ever. 

The dance tune, based on John’s 1971 hit “Tiny Dancer” and 1992 song “The One”, with a hint of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, has already sky-rocketed to number one on iTunes in 18 countries as well as winning over fans everywhere.

The pop singer, who last released an album in 2016, made her return to the studio nine months after leaving her conservatorship – and according to Elton and producer Andrew Watt, she took the control back. 

Everyone was saying they don’t think she can sing any more,” Elton told The Guardian, “but I said, she was brilliant when she started so I think she can. And she did it, and I was so thrilled with what she did.”


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Watt, who recorded the track with Britney, said: “She was so prepared. She had spent time with the record and knew how she wanted to do it.

“She’s unbelievable at layering her voice and doubling, which is one of the hardest things to do. She really pushed herself, vocally. 

“Sometimes when you produce, the greatest thing in the world you can do is say nothing, so I just let her do her thing. She’s so good at knowing when she got the right take. She took complete control.”

According to Watt, Britney Spears meticulously rerecorded her parts to the highest standard before listening to the music “a bunch of times” and adding “incredible ad libs”.

“‘Tiny Dancer’ with her voice is special enough, but then she went through and did all these amazing runs,” he concluded.

The pop icon’s return to music truly is a miracle and a testament to Elton John’s care for her creative liberty. He hoped the song would be a “big hit” saying it would “give her so much more confidence” after going “through such a traumatic time”.

In December 2021, Britney said not making new music was her “way of saying ‘f**k you” as she planned an “indefinite work hiatus”.

She also opened up about her difficult experiences trying to take control of her music throughout her 13-year conservatorship.

I asked for 13 years to perform new songs and remixes of my old songs. I had two months off between each show setting for four years in Vegas, and every time I asked I was told ‘no’,” she admitted.

Britney Spears performing in 2016. (Steve Jennings_WireImage)

Britney Spears performing in 2016. (Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Her attorney, Matthew Rosengart, told PageSix: “After our hard-fought success in removing her father as conservator and then the termination of the conservatorship, I was inundated with inquiries about what Britney would do next.

“My response was simple: ‘For the first time in 13 years, that is up to one person and one person only: Britney.’ No one should be surprised that her first foray is a smash success.”

And Britney Spears herself was getting emotional at her musical return, posting a reflective Twitter thread the day before the song was released.

“I’m kinda overwhelmed,” she wrote, “it’s a big deal to me!!! I’m meditating more and learning my space is valuable and precious!!!

“I’m learning everyday is a clean slate to try and be a better person and do what makes me happy… yes I choose happiness today.”