This news makes our hearts sing with delight.
The gospel choir that performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s watershed wedding signed a record deal with Sony Music UK earlier this week. They belted out “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King at the nuptials, skyrocketing to international fame.
The group, The Kingdom Choir, is a London-based and formerly relatively unknown group. They had only garnered 200 audience members at their largest gig prior to singing at the royal wedding, which was watched by millions of people around the world. The group has announced that they will release an album through Sony Music in November. The choir leader, Karen Gibson, told Reuters that they are “absolutely over the moon….it’s a dream.”
“Stand By Me” was deliberately chosen to be performed at the royal wedding due to its message of inclusion, acceptance, and romance. Yes, the Jewish connection to this touching report is slight, but we can’t help kvelling anyway. Two of the songwriters of the smash hit single, Stand By Me, are Jewish! You read that right - Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber helped co-write and produce the gospel song with King. The 1960 song, which has been recorded over 400 times, shot up to the top of the Billboard gospel charts and was viewed more than 10 million times on Youtube after the royal wedding.
When our fellow Jews thrive, we cannot help but feel a dash of pride. And when we join together with communities of color to do so, it’s even better.
Mazel tov, Kingdom Choir!
Tamar Skydell is an intern at The Forward. You can contact her at email@example.com