Euro 2016

Singer behind 'Freed from Desire' eager to support Will Grigg in France

The unavoidable sound of 'Will Grigg's on Fire' has reached stadiums, dressing rooms and now even the chart's top 10
Liam Blackburn

THE unavoidable sound of 'Will Grigg's on Fire' has reached stadiums, dressing rooms and now even the chart's top 10 - not that the Italian artist behind the original song is familiar with his ability to terrify defences.

Twenty years before Wigan fan Sean Kennedy's ode to Latics and Northern Ireland striker Grigg went viral, New York student Gala released 'Freed from Desire', the song which has been adapted for the season's most infectious chant.

Gala explained: "This guy from England called me and said, 'Your song has become my favourite chant ever! I listen to many of these football chants but this one is my favourite one'.

The 43-year-old admitted she wanted to "save the world" with the Buddhist concept outlined in a tune that topped the charts in multiple European countries in the 1990s.

There may be no profound message behind the "daft video" Kennedy posted on social media one day, though Gala can see parallels between his own devotion and the feeling which motivated her to pen 'Freed from Desire'.

"The passion he has for his team, it's the same passion I had when I wrote this song - to bring together all of my friends around the world, to still be connected to them," she said.

"It was really a desire to bring people together.

"Because I was very young, I wanted to save the world with the Buddhist conception of not wanting more. I believe the worst thing in the world is greed, it's the beginning of all evil. I hate that.

"When I wrote this song I wanted to change the world, it was driven by a strong passion, so whenever this passion is translated to a sport it really makes you happy."

The fact the song was modified for the terraces - and was the anthem of choice for Hull and Barnsley players when they sealed promotion - was not surprising to Gala either.

"It was born as a chant, it is born as a prayer," she said.

"All these people went to clubs and it is like a church. We're all going to die, we are we here in a big room, in the dark, dancing together, because we are celebrating life and it was incredible to see all these people.

"I made it easy to sing but the actual message they are singing is a very deep Buddhist prayer. I like the fact that people can get a vibe out of something even if they don't understand all the details. They got the vibe it was a preaching song, a chant, that there was something to say."

The 'Will Grigg's on Fire' version, released by Blonde this week to raise money for Wigan-based charity Joseph's Goal, had already lodged itself in the iTunes top 10 on Tuesday night alongside Justin Timberlake, Drake and Beyonce,

And if Northern Ireland's friendly in Belfast last Friday is any indication, the chant's popularity is only growing.

With Gala over in Europe when they begin their campaign in Nice on June 12, maybe The Green and White Army will get a special rendition too.

"I dream to come to the stadium and sing it and be there," she added. "It would be nice to be at one game for sure."

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Euro 2016