If Courteney Cox becoming a rapper was on your pandemic bingo card, you can thank a Canadian musician for making the outlandish idea come together.
Yet even Connor Price admits he couldn't have anticipated the famous “Friends” star would be so eager to appear in his new music video, dropping her own punchy rap verse over a web conference call with actor Idris Elba.
The silly idea seems perfectly suited for the randomness of life in isolation, where actors and musicians suddenly have the freedom to link up in unpredictable ways over the internet.
“It all happened so fast, it was crazy,” the 26-year-old Price said by phone from his Las Vegas home.
“We went into this writing a fun song that just happened to reference Courteney Cox and then ended up naming the song after her.”
“Courteney Cox,” which also features Elba, is an ode to the famous actress whose pop culture contributions range from dancing with Bruce Springsteen, to being the star of “Cougartown,” and, of course, playing Monica Geller on one of the most iconic sitcoms in history.
Price, who hails from Markham, Ont., said he's always considered himself a fan of Cox's work.
“My mom has always been a super-fan of `Friends' and so growing up it was always on TV,” Price said.
Her name was also the perfect fit for his rhyming scheme.
“The reference works and so that was it. There wasn't anything too deep into it.”
But way before Cox got involved, the story began at the hands of Elba, the superstar actor from "“Luther” and “Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.” Fans of Elba know he's long been a passionate musician who's frequently dabbled in corners of both rap and house music, and during the pandemic he got a little more serious about that side of his creativity.
Last year, Elba released an unfinished track on his Instagram account, challenging his followers to fill a gap in the song with their own rap verse.
Price caught wind of the callout, deciding it was a perfect fit for his own pivot from actor to rapper. For years, he'd played roles on CBC's Second World War thriller “X Company” and sci-fi series “Being Human,” but with more time at home in the pandemic he was zeroing in on music.
So he immediately jumped into action, laying down a few verses within hours, and uploading them to Instagram in hopes that Elba would notice.
“I went to bed that night not really expecting much,” he said.
“And I woke up to him commenting on it, following me, and saying, `Hey I love what you did, let's do a song.”'
After working together by webcam, Elba and Price narrowed down the verses to the one about Cox, and once they started talking, Price realized Elba had a way more ambitious idea in mind.
He didn't want to just rap on a song about Courteney Cox. He wanted to see if she'd participate in some way.
“I kind of thought he was joking,” Price said.
“Then then I was like, `Oh yeah I guess if you're interested you could probably pull those strings.”'
It turns out Elba's publicist knew Cox's publicist, Price said, and within a few days the trio were on a group chat figuring out how to make this wild collaboration and even wilder music video.
Cox threw her own two cents into the conversation, suggesting that if she was going to get involved, she didn't want to go halfway.
She returned to the meeting a few days later with her own little surprise: a rap verse she recorded with the help of her partner Johnny McDaid, a member of the band Snow Patrol.
“She's like, `Hey guys, I wrote a little rap, let me know what you think,”' Price remembered.
“And she plays it through the speakerphone and Idris and I are just freaking out we couldn't believe it.”
The process of creation culminates in a wacky music video that recreates the spirit of those webcam chats during the pandemic, and the twists of creative collaboration.
“We're not taking ourselves too serious and so that was kind of the whole vibe of it,” Price said.
“She was such a trooper. It was so fun.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.