If Ariana Grande “runs pop,” Mumford And Sons are the kings of anthemic, push-through-anything rock. The English folk-rock band visited the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge to promote their new album Delta, which was released earlier this month. But the band also used their BBC airtime to sing the praises of innovative artists working in other genres — namely, Ariana Grande.
Before launching into a performance of “Breathin,” frontman Marcus Mumford told host Clara Amfo that he believes Grande is “the greatest pop star since Whitney Houston.” The band’s cover of “Breathin” is surprisingly faithful to Grande’s version of the song, keeping Grande’s synth-driven beat and adding… a live string band (courtesy of the London Contemporary Orchestra and Pêtr Aleksänder). The strings give an element of tenderness to Mumford’s rendition of the song, echoing the raw vulnerability of Marcus Mumford’s vocal performance. And, since this is Mumford and Sons, there’s some power piano, too.
Mumford’s cover of “Breathin” follows The 1975’s rendition of “Thank U, Next,” released earlier this week. This being the 29th of November, “Breathin” is one of the last installments of Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month. But we’ve got one more day, so maybe we can cross our fingers for another Ari cover? (You know what to do, Zayn.)
Watch Mumford And Sons’ performance of “Breathin” above, and revisit our interview with Marcus Mumford and bassist Ted Dwane here.