Elton John admits Britney Spears had 'a lot of fear' about releasing Hold Me Closer

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Elton John has revealed that Britney Spears had "a lot of fear" about returning to the music industry with their Hold Me Closer duet.

Hold Me Closer, the singer's first song in six years, is a dance track which features a mash-up of Elton's 1971 hit Tiny Dancer and 1992 song The One accompanied by Britney's new vocals, which were recorded in July.

The duet, which was released on Friday, also marks Britney's first new music since she was freed from her 13-year conservatorship in November, after which she declared she had no intention of resuming her pop career.

However, in an interview with The Guardian, Elton insisted Britney didn't need any convincing to record the duet, but she had a lot of concerns about releasing it to the public.

"We had to get her to approve what she did," he explained. "She's been away so long - there's a lot of fear there because she's been betrayed so many times and she hasn't really been in the public eye officially for so long. We've been holding her hand through the whole process, reassuring her that everything's gonna be alright."

The Rocket Man hitmaker described his duet partner as "broken" and expressed his hope that Hold Me Closer will encourage her to make more music.

"I'm so excited to be able to do it with her because if it is a big hit, and I think it may be, it will give her so much more confidence than she's got already and she will realise that people actually love her and care for her and want her to be happy. That's all anybody in their right mind would want after she went through such a traumatic time," he shared.

"I'm just crossing my fingers that this will restore her confidence in herself to get back into the studio, make more records, and realise that she is b**ody good."

The 75-year-old explained that his husband David Furnish suggested Britney as the guest vocalist on the dance track and she "sang fantastically" in the recording studio.

"Everyone was saying they don't think she can sing any more. But I said, she was brilliant when she started so I think she can. And she did it, and I was so thrilled with what she did," he praised.

Before the song's release, Britney admitted on Twitter that she was "kinda overwhelmed" but noted that "it’s pretty damn cool that I’m singing with one of the most classic men of our time".

Her husband Sam Asghari shared a video of him listening to the tune on Instagram on Friday alongside the caption, "Proud husband moment! I will be listening to this all night!"