Wish I Was Here, director Zach Braff’s long-in-the-works Garden State follow-up, looks like molten garbage, but perhaps Braff deserves credit for lining up some musical big dogs for the movie’s soundtrack. We’ve already heard the Shins’ “So Now What” and Bon Iver’s “Heavenly Father,” and now the unlikely collaboration “Wish I Was Here” has made its way online. Coldplay’s Chris Martin wrote the song, and Cat Power’s Chan Marshall sang it, with Martin later adding backing harmonies. It’s a slow, stately piano ballad, and it sounds very much like a Coldplay song, but Marshall’s voice can add weary authority to just about anything. Listen to the song below while you read NPR’s explanation of how it came about…
Zach Braff, the creator of the film Wish I Was Here, gave an early version of the film to Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Braff told us via email that Martin got the band together to work on the song. “Chris had the idea that it would be sung by a woman. I thought that was a genius idea, because one of the things the film is about is a strong woman (Kate Hudson’s character) becoming the matriarch of her family. When Chris and I were talking, we both kind of simultaneously said, ’Cat Power.’ I reached out to Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) and she and I met and really clicked. I set her up to watch the film in her apartment. The whole time she was watching she kept texting me all the different parts she was loving. She said yes the instant it was over.”
Chan Marshall went to Electric Lady studios in NYC and tracked her voice. Chris Martin would later add his harmonies with Coldplay producing the song. Zach Braff calls it his favorite cut on the record, a soundtrack filled with originals from and and other tunes by , Hozier and , to name a few.
More Songs From ’Wish I Was Here’
Zach Braff has worked to raise the money via Kickstarter and make this spiritual followup to Garden State, and with songs like this it sounds like it was all worthwhile. “Showing my favorite artist my film, having them write a track that was inspired by their experience and then putting that art back into the film has been one of the most thrilling aspects of making Wish I Was Here,” he writes.
The Wish I Was Here soundtrack is out 7/15 on Columbia.