NME recently caught up with Loren Allred, the vocalist behind Square Enix‘s newly-revealed Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth theme song ‘No Promises To Keep’, to learn about the process behind singing as fan-favourite Final Fantasy character Aerith.
In Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the song is performed by Aerith during a performance of the stage play Loveless. But in the real world – including its live debut at The Game Awards 2023 – ‘No Promises To Keep’ is performed by Allred, who is best known for singing ‘Never Enough’ in 2017 musical The Greatest Showman.
Speaking to NME, Allred shared that although she didn’t play Final Fantasy growing up, she became a fan of composer Nobuo Uematsu through watching her friends play. When she was contacted by Square Enix to sing ‘No Promise To Keep’, she wasn’t told that it would be for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – only that it would be a song by Uematsu, which was enough to keep her hooked.
“It was such an honour to have someone that’s such a legend in this industry give me notes in the studio,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if he was going to be there, but he was! It was really special.”
Outside of the recording booth, Allred’s process also involved finding her “connection” to the song, which meant spending a lot of time “learning about Aerith’s character, [protagonist] Cloud, and the story of Final Fantasy 7“.
“It made me feel like I got to know a sense of her personality, so I tried to channel that whenever I’m singing the song,” said Allred.
Despite not playing Final Fantasy 7, the significance of singing as Aerith – one of gaming’s most famous love interests – wasn’t lost on Allred. “It’s such an honour,” she said. “These characters have been so beloved over so many years – to even be able to attach my voice to a character that people love so much is a privilege.”
However, singing as Aerith meant taking a different approach to her similar work on The Greatest Showman, where she provided the singing voice of Rebecca Ferguson’s character. “[On The Greatest Showman] I was able to meet the actress and gel with her, and listen to her speaking voice and make sure the way I was singing would match up with her character and who she is as a person.”
“Here I had to do that process online, you know, getting to know Aerith, her perspective, and her personality,” she explained. “Aerith has a sense of wonder, and the ability to look out for people she cares about. I identify with those qualities. She’s such a breath of fresh air, and what we all wish we could be.”
As a result, Allred changed certain elements of her vocals to better reflect Aerith’s character in the song. “It was a stylistic choice to hold back certain inflections that I would probably do in my original music, because I wanted to maintain the sweetness of her character,” she explained. “If I sing this live in other settings, maybe I’ll add some more riffs and fun things, but I wanted to make sure that pure quality within her character was able to shine through.”
Looking ahead, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is set to launch on February 29, 2024, for PS5. Besides a new trailer and Allred’s performance, the game also won Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards 2023 – you can catch up on all of the night’s winners here.
The post Loren Allred reveals what it’s like to sing as Aerith in the ‘Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’ theme song appeared first on NME.