The story behind Linkin Park's collaboration with Stormzy

Chester Bennington, Pusha T, Stormzy and Mike Mike Shinoda

Linkin Park say they have huge respect for Stormzy after he collaborated with the band on their new album.

The grime artist features on their track Good Goodbye, along with Pusha T.

It might seem like an unlikely hook up but the band say they were fans of his way before Gang Signs and Prayer was released.

"We heard his stuff, we loved it and we reached out. He said yes," says Mike Shinoda.

Stormzy features on the band's seventh studio album, One More Light, which is being released in May.

Unsurprisingly, the only trouble the band had was pinning him down to record his verse.

"We reached out when his album was still under wraps. His manager came back, he said Stormzy loved the idea and just asked us to be patient.

"Time went by and we thought we should move on and then right before we had to turn in our record, I got a message from his management saying, 'Check your inbox.'"

Linkin Park

"He's tall, well built, handsome, well mannered, smart and funny," laughs singer Chester Bennington.

"The fact that he is so busy, that he actually made the time to do it and turned in a dope verse for the song - that makes me respect him even more."

It's not the only unlikely collaboration on the new album.

The band brought in songwriters Julia Michaels and Justin Trantor for sessions and ended up writing the lead single Heavy.

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Julia and Justin famously co-wrote Justin Bieber's Sorry and have worked with predominantly pop acts such as Fifth Harmony, Gwen Stefani, Selena Gomez and Britney Spears.

Julia - now in the charts herself with Issues - would have been seven when the band's debut, Hybrid Theory, came out in 2000.

"She would have been as talented then as she is now," says Chester.

Justin Trantor and Julia Michaels are responsible for some of pop's biggest hits
Image caption Justin Trantor and Julia Michaels are responsible for some of pop's biggest hits

The result is a more mainstream pop sound that the band have embraced totally.

"We got into the idea of working with other people," says Mike. "But we had to get used to it. I wouldn't be comfortable with someone coming in and pitching a song. It had to come from us and we're the ones that have to play on stage forever."

At times, the new record is deeply personal and Heavy was written on the day that Chester found out a close friend had tried to end their life.

Linkin Park and Stormzy

"Sometimes it feels like life is testing you. But there's perspective in that that can inspire," he says.

The group have come a long way since Hybrid Theory, the debut which became the soundtrack to millions of people's adolescent years.

Only four albums released since the year 2000 have sold more copies worldwide. They are Adele's 21, the Beatles' 1 and Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show.

"It's especially cool for us because it was a debut album and no-one had heard of the band," says Mike.

Chester adds: "It's super special to have created something that lives in that world - but we don't really view ourselves as that."

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