A group of Kiwi celebrities sat down with a group of 6-year-olds to create a song “for the kids, by the kids”.
Team Ball Player Thing features stars like Lorde, Dave Dobbyn, Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, and even Peter Jackson makes one of his famous cameos.
It comes from the charity Cure Kids in an effort to battle Batten disease – a fatal neurodegenerative disease that begins in childhood – and doubles as this year’s Rugby World Cup All Blacks’ supporters song.
At the head of the project, Brooke Howard-Smith and Jesse Griffin first approached Joel Little and Taika Waititi to get the ball rolling before assembling a team of experts.
In 2012, Howard-Smith and Griffin teamed up with Flight of the Conchords on Feel Inside (and stuff like that), a song which involved people like Dave Dobbyn, Brooke Fraser and Savage and after becoming the fastest selling single in NZ history, helped raise $1.3m for the charity.
Their team of experts worked their magic then, so the team stuck with the same idea this time, asking kids how we can help the All Blacks win and help cure disease, then using their quotes as lyrics.
Soul singer Hollie Smith was brought into the fold “last minute”, and says she’s glad she made it in time for the hilarity.
“It was a real fun day in the studio, everyone had a smile on their face all day,” she says.
“Just so many good moments and hilarious lyrics to sing, and it was quite funny sitting there trying to stay serious singing about unicorns and laser beams.”
Other lyrics born of 6-year-old genius include “we believe you can win/it’s not improbable”, “if you can’t do it, just keep on trying” and “New Zealand loves you, boys, no matter what happens, but just in case we borrowed Peter Jackson’s dragon”.
Even the song’s title comes from a young girl explaining the perfect game plan, in which the All Blacks “should just pass to the other team, ball, player…thing”.
And all the while, All Blacks are dressed as vikings, riding unicorns and making doves and rainbows appear out of thin air.
While fending off questions about whether he “likes to dress up a lot at home”, Jerome Kaino wasn’t afraid to laugh at his own expense, saying he was proud to be a part of a project that came “from the kids, and for the kids”.
Accompanying the song and video is a series of video clips showing the project coming together and includes appearances by actress and stuntwoman, Zoe Bell, Youtube sensation Jamie Curry and Sir Peter Jackson.
Griffin says the debut of the song and clip couldn’t have gone better.
“It’s such a great experience to bring all these people together who – some of them are into rugby, some of them aren’t, but all of them are into fighting this disease,” he says.
“This is a sort of microcosm of New Zealand, with the athletes, the musicians, the comedians, the scientists and 6-year-old kids who frankly aren’t utilised enough,” adds Howard-Smith.
He and Howard-Smith describe the process as “magical” and “electric”.
“This project has been long and hard but along the way, we’ve got to direct Peter Jackson, hang out with Dave Dobbyn and play guitar in his home studio, give Joel Little notes about music, and of course sitting there listening to Hollie Smith, Jason Kerrison, all those guys coming in. And to have Savage hyping Brooke Fraser’s rap, it’s such a great coming together of two worlds,” says Howard-Smith.
“We literally thought that if we were lucky Brooke Fraser would tweet it and Lorde might mention it on ‘the Instagram’. But the fact that New Zealanders as a whole are getting behind it now, validates this idea that as a country we can all focus on one little thing. Like bam, let’s cure a disease, how hard can it be? Let’s go for gold.”
Team ball player thing also features: Kimbra, Gin Wigmore, Brooke Fraser, Jon Toogood, Broods, Daniel Bedingfield, The Naked and Famous, Sam McCarty, Sahara Adams, Jemaine Clement, Savage, Jason Kerrison, James Reid, Matiu Walters, Dave Baxter, Hollie Smith, Jupiter Project, Boh Runga, K-ONE, Lizzie Marvelly, Carly Binding, Tom Furniss, Joseph Moore, PNC, Peter Urlich and Julia Deans as well as Griffin, Howard-Smith, Smith and Dobbyn.
It’s available on iTunes now and you can donate to #kiwiscurebatten at Kiwiscurebatten.com.