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Alesha Dixon and Gary Barlow unite for new single

Alesha Dixon, The Alesha Show

Story by Jack Foley

ALESHA Dixon has teamed up with Take That’s Gary Barlow for her new single, To Love Again.

Co-written by Alesha, Gary and Grammy Award-winning producer John Shanks, with Gary playing piano, the single leads an enhanced edition of Alesha’s album The Alesha Show – The Encore, released on November 22.

Commenting on the collaboration, Alesha explained: “It’s no secret that I’ve been a fan of Gary’s work for many years. It was a complete honour to write with him and John Shanks. They are a fantastic partnership and I was excited to see them at work. For me, To Love Again was the perfect song to write with Gary.

“It is a personal song to me with an emotional connection. Somehow, he was able to tap into this and draw it out of me. It’s a vulnerable song with the message of hope! This has been a dream come true, more than they’ll ever know!”

Gary Barlow commented: “I’d met Alesha a few times over the years but really got to know her well when we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief earlier this year. Her laugh was audible from any part of that mountain for the whole seven days we were there!

“We kept in contact, and when I was in LA this Summer, Alesha emailed suggesting we write together. I knew all her recent songs as they’re never off the radio so I was very excited to see what we could come up with.

“We hooked up with John Shanks too. I’ve made the last two Take That records with him and thought he’d be perfect for Alesha.

“We all sat around the piano and To Love Again was created throughout that afternoon. I think it’s fair to say we all played our part in the song’s composition.

“It felt like the lyrics were coming from a familiar place with Alesha as she wrote them very quickly and they seemed very real… I didn’t really know Alesha was such a good song writer.

“When we finished the song we treated ourselves and ordered a pile of sushi!!

“Later that night, we recorded the song. It was clear this would take a big vocal performance. I hadn’t heard anything like it on Alesha’s record. She went in the vocal booth and killed it! It was a joy to watch. Take after take she really nailed it! We felt so good about it we treated ourselves to a steak!!”

Barlow went on to add that uniting with Alesha was a big decision, given his workload with Take That.

He added: “I have to really love something to get involved. The whole experience was brilliant and more important than anything else, we had fun.”

In what has been an incredible year for Alesha since the release of her debut album, she has seen The Alesha Show go Platinum – thereby making her one of a tiny handful of debut artists to break the Platinum sales threshold in the last year, and one of 2009’s biggest sellers.

She is also the subject of a special music-focussed documentary hosted by Fearne Cotton (due for broadcast on ITV2 in October), as well as a new judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Commenting on the expanded edition of her LP, Alesha said: “Having written several more songs since we released The Alesha Show, I felt my fans would want the chance to hear the new material.. so I’ve added three new songs to the album.

“I’m really happy with them and wanted to make The Encore edition a great Christmas gift! I really hope people will be delighted with the result!”

To Love Again is released through Asylum Records digitally on November 15 and will be featured on the new version of The Alesha Show – The Encore on November 22.