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Singer Jodie Abacus grew up with lots of music since his father was a DJ.

He says he was inspired by all sorts of artists, including Elton, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney. He has since been championed by the former, and spoke about this and more with the BBC. Below is a portion of the interview.

Your big breakthrough was a song called I’ll Be That Friend. How did that song arrive?

Three years ago, I came down with pneumonia and almost died. I was bedridden for about three months and, in the middle of all that, I finished with my ex. She moved on to another dude, like, really quickly. I saw pictures of them kissing and, even though I’d broken up with her, it was still a shock.

At the end of that year, I needed to be comforted. I needed someone to say, “it’s going to be alright.’ It didn’t matter who it was. I just needed someone. I’d never felt that way before, but I needed a hug.

Those feelings all came out in the song. As I was writing it, I was crying and singing at the same time.

And yet that song, like a lot of your music, is very positive. Was that something you felt pop was lacking?

Yeah. I feel there’s a fun element missing. Everyone’s thinking about the formula of how to write a hit song. I don’t. Music is such a spiritual thing, it has to move you.

You’ve been getting a lot of support from Elton John on his Beats 1 show. What did you make of that?

That’s incredible. He’s one of my heroes. He’s given me a couple of proper big shout-outs.

And you’ve covered Bennie and the Jets in concert.

That was nuts. He was meant to show up – but he didn’t because the cloud level was low and his helicopter couldn’t land.