With the much-anticipated release of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody happening next month, a handful of Universal Music Group artists are channeling their inner Freddie Mercury. The first of the bunch is Shawn Mendes, who teamed up with frequent collaborator Teddy Geiger for a breezy cover of Queen’s 1981 hit “Under Pressure.”
Mendes and Geiger put their voices at the forefront of the stripped-down rendition, with Mendes’ falsetto and Geiger’s raspy tone complementing their plucky acoustic guitars. Mendes clearly didn’t feel under pressure about emulating the iconic Queen frontman, as he didn’t shy away from Mercury’s signature power moments of “Under Pressure” (listen closely at 2:20).
“I am so honored to be able to support the amazing legacy of Freddie and Queen by doing a cover of one of my favorite songs, ‘Under Pressure,'” Mendes says in a statement. “It was so exciting to me to be able to do this with my close collaborator and one of my best friends, Teddy Geiger, for a cause that is very close to our hearts.”
Though the song is not part of the official Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, Mendes and Geiger’s homage to Queen honors the late Mercury with more than just a cover. A portion of the profits from the “Under Pressure” cover will be donated to Mercury Phoenix Trust, which was founded by Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor (as well as the group’s manager, Jim Beach) after Mercury’s death to help fight AIDS worldwide. “Under Pressure” is one of a series of tracks that UMG will release ahead of Bohemian Rhapsody‘s opening on Nov. 2, which will all benefit MPT.
Listen to Mendes and Geiger’s take on “Under Pressure” below.