Listen to Roberta Freeman’s “Wish You Were Here” single.
Roberta Freeman is a NoHo Arts District resident with an amazing new single out – a cover of the epic and brilliant Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” Roberta was, just like the rest of us, pretty stuck this past year or so. However, instead of moping around the house, she decided to put her not inconsiderable talents as a phenomenal singer for bands such as Guns N’ Roses and Pink Floyd to good use. She took one her favourite songs, one more relevant than ever before, and made it her own.
Roberta had some help from her partner Tim Glenn and a group of amazing musicians, and together they produced this beautiful mind-blowing version of “Wish You Were Here.” Pink Floyd was the band that gave Roberta her first big break, so the song is also an homage to them as well as a way for her to express how much she misses her live audience. Her band is a bunch of rock stars; Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction and the Netflix doc “Count Me In”), Teddy Andreadis (Guns N’ Roses), Derek Frank (Gwen Stefani) and Derek Day (Classless Act).
Roberta Freeman is a gifted singer, and as a member of our NoHo community, we can only do whatever we can to help her spread the joy of this song as we all ease our way back into some semblance of almost post covid normal.
Thank you, Roberta and Stephan, Teddy, Derek and Derek for this glorious opus and for bringing some hope to our darkest days.
I wanted to know a little more about about Roberta Freeman’s “Wish You Were Here” and how this all came. So, I asked!!
Hi Roberta! How did you come up with the idea for the recording?
Well, as you know, many musicians were posting home videos on social media during the pandemic. Partly to just keep music alive and partly to convey how much they missed the live connection between artist and audience. I thought it would be nice to do a little home video on my iPhone. My original idea was to have “Brady Bunch” zoom squares of the band with several “Roberta’s” singing a multitude of different vocal parts. I thought it would just be a fun little video, but it ended up turning into a bigger and bigger project every step of the way.
This is a beautiful cover and one of my absolute favourite songs…I’m English! So it was pretty brave of you to attempt to cover it. How did you approach Pink Floyd?
Actually, I went through an agency that handles licensing. Although I have a personal history with Pink Floyd, I wanted to make sure I completely went by the book, 100%. It was an extremely lengthy process though since I chose to do one of the most popular songs of one of the biggest bands on the planet. LOL
How did you pull together everyone for this?
I said, “Pretty please.”
Kidding aside, everyone involved was so incredibly gracious and generous with their time and talent. I am honored they all wanted to be part of it.
What was your purpose exactly? Your reason for this project?
“Wish you Were Here” holds so much meaning on so many levels to so many people and especially holds a special meaning to me, since Pink Floyd is responsible for giving me my very first big break in the business. I wanted to pay homage to them and I wanted to acknowledge what everyone was going thru during the pandemic. There wasn’t one single person who wasn’t struggling in some way. There were single people out there living all alone, who were grappling with severe depression and anxiety. People who hadn’t seen their loved ones for months, and people who had lost family members and friends to the virus. I just wanted to reach out and show in some small way, that I cared and could empathize with what they were going though, you know?
How long did it take you to record this and cut the video together?
I’m not gonna lie…it took forever! As I said, this was supposed to be a little ditty to throw up on social media but it started to have a life of its own!
The very first hurdle was getting the recording done. I live in a house in the NoHo Arts District and it is bustling with noise all day long, so I could only record late at night. At one point, I got so frustrated, I decided to toss everything I did and record at a friend’s studio. When I got there, I found out I only had a couple of hours to record EVERYTHING. You heard how many vocal tracks are on this tune. But, because I was asking a favor, I didn’t have much choice but to rush through it. Needless to say, I was NOT happy with the vocals.
So, I ended up going back home and recording in our spare bedroom. Adriel Ramirez and Armando Aussenac did a stellar job mixing and mastering the song. Keep in mind, everyone was trying to do their own thing to (literally) stay alive during the pandemic, so I had to work around everyone’s schedule. I am so grateful for Derek Day, Stephen Perkins, Teddy Andreadis, and Derek Frank for really taking this version to “church”. I really wanted this to be a spiritual experience as well as producing a warm, fuzzy journey down memory lane for Pink Floyd and Guns N’ Roses fans.
As I mentioned, I originally, filmed everything on my iPhone in my bedroom, but when I ended up having all this footage of myself singing all those vocal parts, I knew I’d had to get an editor. When I gave the footage to Waldemar Wlodyka (who did a brilliant job editing), he suggested I tell a little story instead of just singing the song in my bedroom. That was the turning point.
I had the idea to shoot me walking down my street, wearing a mask, entering into my house, and throwing off my mask before plopping down on the couch and opening my mouth to sing. That is what I filmed but I just wasn’t right. After all, I am not a videographer and the footage quite honestly came out looking grainy, blurry and dark. Then my brilliant boyfriend, Tim Glenn, had the idea to film it at a big empty music venue.
But, even though it was a great idea, it didn’t mean I could bring it to fruition. If we were going to go down that route, I would have to involve a lot more people. I truly believe the Gods were smiling on me because even though we got close to scrapping the project altogether several times, it magically came together in the end. The biggest deal was getting award-winning cinematographer, Michael Franks to shoot it, his son Eli to light it, and of course, securing a first class venue. We had a multitude of scheduling conflicts, technical difficulties, and very little budget to work with – we were in the middle of a pandemic, after all.
I’d love to know where you filmed your part of the video Roberta. I’m assuming everyone else was in their own homes and studios?
Yes, they were, and I did end up filming the Zoom meeting portion in my bedroom. I wanted that to be in as intimate a setting as possible. But for the “daydream” portion of the video, with the help of my dear friend, sound and production manager Robin Danar, I was lucky enough to secure one of the best music venues in LA, The Teragram Ballroom for a few hours.
“Wish you Were Here” is such a beautiful, iconic song, it was only fitting that it be filmed in a beautiful, iconic venue as well!
Thank you so much for this glorious music, it brought a tear to my eye and some hope to my heart.
Thank YOU, Samantha! That really means a lot to me.
Roberta would also like to say…
I just wanted to add that this was truly a special endeavor for me. I am pretty well known for the work I have done with Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd, and other rock legends but this is my very first release as a solo artist which is a big deal to me. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to speak with me.