15 Years Ago Today - The Story of Kanye West's 'Homecoming'

13th February 2021

On 13 February 2006, Coldplay came to Abbey Road Studios to record a live show for BBC Radio 2. In the audience was Kanye West, who had been working in Studio Two with senior engineer Simon Rhodes that day.

When the session was complete, Kanye was shown around Studio Three by our own Mirek Stiles and booked a further three days in the room. After a chance meeting, he invited Chris Martin from Coldplay to feature on the track Homecoming on 14 February, which ended up being featured on Kanye’s third album, Graduation. Mirek Stiles, who engineered the Studio Three sessions, recounts the story 15 years later.
 

Mirek Stiles recounts the Homecoming sessions

"Kanye had a one-day session booked in Studio Two to record some strings. I gave him a tour of the studios and he really liked Studio Three and asked if he could book it for the remainder of the week. By pure coincidence Studio Three had just had a last-minute cancellation, so it kind of worked out perfectly.

I spent the next week recording and editing various vocal takes and cutting together loops in Studio Three with Kanye and his production team. It also just so happened that week Coldplay were doing a live show in Studio One and Kanye, along with the rest of the building, had gotten wind of this. I remember we were working on what turned out to be the track Homecoming. Kanye said to me at the board he was going to ask Chris Martin to sing on the track and off he went out of the studio – it was like a sudden definitive decision he had just made and he was off on a mission I seemed to think at the time it might be unlikely this would happen, he was doing a gig that night and who knows what he had planned after.
 
Anyway, about three hours later Kanye came back with Chris. They just hung out in the control room talking and listening to the track and after a while, Chris said he wanted to try something. I had a U47 set up in the live room and Chris went out and just came up with that line in the chorus. I think we did a couple of takes and then staked it up and that was it, done. It was brilliant and felt so natural. Looking back on it, if Studio Three hadn’t been available that week none of it would have happened. If Kanye didn’t ask and put in the effort to warm Chris to trying something out, none of it would have happened. I guess I learned that some things are meant to be and if you don’t ask you don’t get. I found those sessions really inspiring."

Listen on our Studio Three playlist.