idris elba emanuel
Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

Here’s How Idris Elba Ended Up Collaborating With Canadian Musician Emanuel

"I want to document how people are coping, who they are coping with and what they absolutely NEED right now," Elba posted on social media.

Last week, just hours after releasing his debut single, “Need You”, emerging Canadian R&B artist Emanuel caught the attention of actor, musician and DJ Idris Elba. Elba, who was one of the first celebrities to be diagnosed with COVID-19, was so moved by the song that he decided to compile a video montage to accompany it, requesting his social media followers to send in images and clips of their lives in self-isolation.

“I want to document how people are coping, who they are coping with and what they absolutely NEED right now,” Elba posted. “Please send me a pic or a video for the chance to take part in this inspirational collage I’m putting together to this song by Emanuel @cellulardada.”

In his video post, he asked for a “pictorial collage of the one thing that people need to get through this time. For me, it’s definitely been [wife] Sabrina … it could be your partner, it could be the view from your window, it could be your favourite tea cup, it could be whatever.”

People from across the world chimed in, sending in thousands of images and videos for the project from countries like Ghana, Mexico, Croatia and of course Canada. Over the weekend, Elba shared a sneak preview of the intro, writing: “Last Monday I asked you all to participate in a collective movement. You answered the call by the thousands. Your response has been amazing, hope really WILL conquer all. Here is a sneak peek of the visual collage i’m building for Emanuel’s “Need You” to show the world what each of us need to get us through. Thank you. ??❤️”

“Thanks to big bro @idriselba and all of you, we got the whole world answering the call,” wrote Emanuel on Instagram, adding, “Love and Hope conquers all.”

Today, Elba and Emanuel released their video collaboration on YouTube, featuring clips of people painting, dancing, lighting incense, and laughing with their families. “Need You” is the first single from Emanuel, a London, Ont.-based artist whose debut EP Alt Therapy is set to be released this spring. Catch the full video collage below.