Following the announcement of David Bowie’s death, fans began congregating outside the iconic musician’s New York City apartment to pay their respects – leaving photos, handwritten notes and bouquets of flowers. One such mourner was singer-songwriter Glen Hansard, who showed up on Tuesday to perform an emotional acoustic version of Bowie‘s 1980 track “Ashes to Ashes.”
A video of the performance, filmed by rock photographer Kevin Mazur, finds Hansard belting the Major Tom-referencing lyrics in front of a small crowd. The camera pans back and forth through the memorial display, which features handmade cards reading “The stars looked very different today” and “King of Glam.”
“I really just felt the need like everyone else who was drawn toward somewhere to grieve,” Hansard tells Rolling Stone of the poignant tribute. “I just wanted to sing his song there. It’s very personal. I didn’t look anyone in the eye, I couldn’t. The honesty of the second verse of that song has always moved me deeply; I’ve loved the song since I was a child. Bowie was the one we chose to raise us in our rooms, when we first closed the door on our parents and the world.
“He told us we didn’t have to be masculine to attract girls,” he continues. “He told us we could be strange, and even celebrate it. He was so much more than his music. The first real artist I encountered, someone who provoked thought through his message and image and the songs. Oh boy, the songs…”
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Hansard also paid tribute to Bowie in his new music video for “Wedding Ring,” which finds a young girl passing down her appreciation of the rock innovator to her younger sister.
”Thank you, David, for being a signpost for our growth and boldness,” Hansard wrote in a statement accompanying the clip. “You gave us the courage to become…”