A Taylor Swift album is always a gift that keeps on giving both for entertainment reasons (we LOVE a TSwift jam) and because of the Easter eggs. Lover came out three days ago and we’re still decoding and discovering new things about Swifty’s latest offering—like the fact she sampled a Toronto youth choir on one of the tracks.
Track 17, “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” is a sweet little ballad about two friends who meet as children and grow up to fall in love and get married (anyone else getting “Mary’s Song” vibes?). In addition to pulling from a classic Swift motif, the song samples vocals and instrumentation from the Regent Park School of Music Youth Choir from Toronto. We love ourselves a Canadian connection! It’s that sampling you hear right at the beginning of the song.
The Regent Park School isn’t just any music school either—it provides subsidized music education for underprivileged youth from high-priority neighbourhoods around Toronto. Their goal is to change children’s lives with music and help open up futures for their students that might otherwise have been limited by financial or social barriers. Last week, she paid the tuition of a fan at the University of Waterloo; is Taylor trying to single-handedly finance Canadian education?
The sampling on “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” is from “Summer in the South” off an album of compositions called Parkscapes the Regent Park choir recorded with Grammy-winning producer Frank Dukes. A Toronto native himself, Dukes has previously worked with the likes of Eminem and Drake and helped create the album in the hopes that artists would sample the compositions and support the school through the royalties.
“The album is comprised of a series of sparse, melancholic compositions that are ripe for use by contemporary music producers and artists,” Dukes said in a press release. “It’s incredible to hear one of world’s most popular artists using the RPSM students’ music as a part of her own song.”
The school is hoping other artists will take Swift’s lead and also sample selections of Parkscapes.
The choir is also in pretty good company on the latest TSwift album—the song “London Boy” features an audio clip from Idris Elba.