Paul McCartney Was ‘Nervous’ to Sing The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ After Hearing a Native Language Cover

A teenager got to meet Paul McCartney after he heard her cover of The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” She discussed what she thought about meeting Paul.

If anything proves that music is the universal language, it’s the fact that The Beatles songs have been translate into so many dialects. A teenager covered The Beatles’ “Blackbird” in the Indigenous language Mi’kmaq to help revitalize it. Paul McCartney himself chimed in on the cover.

Paul McCartney was ‘nervous’ to sing The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ after hearing a cover

During a 2019 interview with the CBC, singer Emma Stevens explained she hoped Paul would hear her Mi’kmaq cover of “Blackbird.” While the track is performed in an Indigenous dialect, its sparse folk arrangement is very faithful to original “Blackbird” on The White Album.

Stevens’ teacher, Carter Chiasson, wanted the cover to draw attention to the Mi’kmaq language. Chiasson said his brother, Adam Chiasson, “emailed the right person and said the right things and all of a sudden we had an invitation” to see Paul in concert — and meet him before the show.

Stevens and Chiasson got to spend a few minutes alone with Paul. Chiasson presented the singer a medallion from the Assembly of First Nations with an image of a blackbird on it. “I said, ‘I know you hear this all the time, but it’s an honor to meet you,’” recounted Chiasson. “And then Paul said, ‘I really love your version. I’m going to be nervous singing my version tonight, your version is so beautiful.’” Paul was moved by how Stevens’ “Blackbird” celebrated her culture.

Paul McCartney made some ‘weak’ jokes after discussing the cover of ‘Blackbird’

In a video from Allison Bernard Memorial High School’s YouTube channel, Paul praised Stevens’ cover. He asked the audience if they’d heard Stevens’ “Blackbird,” and many in the crowd cheered.

The “Maybe I’m Amazed” singer asked fans if they knew what Mi’kmaq was. Paul joked that the word “Mi’kmaq” sounded like a combination of his name and Mick Jagger’s. Immediately, he added that the joke was “weak.” Paul’s mention of Jagger probably alluded to the rivalry between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, or the fact that both bands were part of the British Invasion.

Carter Chaiasson and Emma Stevens revealed what The Beatles’ music meant to them

In the CBC interview, Chaiasson discussed the experience of meeting Paul. “It was pretty surreal,” said Chiasson. “I probably wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for the music of The Beatles. It’s a big part of why I’m a musician and a music teacher and a producer. It’s just surreal. It feels like it didn’t happen. But I’m so grateful that it did.”

Stevens revealed her reaction to meeting the musical icon. “Meeting Paul was an unbelievable experience,” said Stevens. “I never thought it would happen, and now, knowing that he knows who I am, what we did and all of the positive things that are happening because of it, makes me really happy. Meeting him made all of this extra special.” She grew up with The Beatles’ music because her father is a fan.

Stevens’ “Blackbird” shows that the Fab Four’s song can transcend culture and even language.

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