A ukulele-playing YouTube star from Fulham who produced his own quirky cover of Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk was given the surprise of a lifetime when he was asked to perform the smash hit with the award-winning artist.
John Atkins was one of six people chosen by Ronson from across the country to perform the cover with the BRIT winner as part of the MasterCard’s Priceless Surprises campaign.
He said: “It was an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
The 35-year-old is a full-time YouTuber where he has his own channel called The Ukulele Teacher. When originally contacted he was told he would feature in a film about people that post music covers on the site.
He was picked up in a van with other musicians who had recorded cover versions of Uptown Funk , interviewed on the road and dropped off at Abbey Studios.
Mr Atkins said: “I’m a musician , I love The Beatles, I play the guitar and I’ve been past Abbey Road Studios many times, but I’ve never been there before.
"If the day ended there that would have been amazing, but then they told us we had to go into the studio and record Uptown Funk together, and that was incredible.”
But his day got even better. “About 20 minutes later Mark Ronson walked in and said he was there to help help with the cover version," said Mr Atkins.
"I couldn’t believe it; I thought I was dreaming.
“The fact he was coming in to talk to us and help us seemed unbelievable. When he told us he had seen our versions and chosen us personally that was the cherry on the cake.
"Every part of the day was one more surprise on top of the other.”
The other artists performing on the track were Glasgwegian students Anna Shields on lead vocals with her duet guitarist Blair Crichton, Glasgwegian sisters Laura and Sarah Ayoub on cello and violin, Okrney-born guitarist Ross Campbell, living in Edinburgh.
Mr Atkins continued: “Mark Ronson was a fantastic guy. He sat in the canteen and had lunch with us and we chatted about music. He’s a fantastic musician.
"We’d never played together but he licked us into shape and got our cover sounding really good. He gave order to the chaos.
“It was a great experience.”
Ronson commented afterwards: “It was such a great experience to bring together six very unique talents and produce this new cover of our song.
"I’m always affected by the fact that talented musicians and singers would take the time to figure out our songs and then post their own interpretations, and I really lucked out with the group we chose.
"They were all great people as well as super talented.
“They worked hard and played off each other to create something special.”