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News > Alumni > Former pupil releases music featuring Freddie Mercury vocals

Former pupil releases music featuring Freddie Mercury vocals

Former Sullivan pupil and musician Stuart Leathem (Class of 1998) has been instrumental in the release of a music track featuring rare vocals of the late, great, Freddie Mercury.
8 Dec 2022

Stuart initially wrote and released the track, ‘Little Freddie Goes to School’ in 2015.

The track was re-worked in 2021 and due to public demand it launched in physical formats (vinyl and CD) earlier this month.

Each record and cd will be a numbered limited edition and all profits will go to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the charity set up by the members of Queen in memory of lead singer Freddie Mercury who died in 1991.

The song is about a young Freddie Mercury’s journey to boarding school in India, and features Stuart’s friend and collaborator Esther Trousdale on lead vocals alongside two rare samples of Freddie’s voice on chorus.

Stuart and Esther pictured above

But how did the former Sullivan pupil get involved with this Queen/Freddie Mercury project?

It's a very long and rambling story!” laughs Stuart

Essentially I was good friends with Queen's last producer, David Richards. He was an admirer of my work and encouraged me to play around with some rare Freddie Mercury vocal stems.

The experimentation developed into the creation of a full-blown track where it sounds as if Freddie is duetting with my collaborator and vocalist Esther Trousdale.

People within Queen management, including Dr. Brian May, liked the track very much and it was released with all profits going to The Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS Charity.

The initial release event happened at Queen's studio in Montreux, Switzerland in front of 800 Queen fans in fancy dress! It was very surreal.

Somewhat surprisingly Stuart didn’t study music for A-Level at Sullivan (although he has fond memories of bashing a drum kit at House Music and the school talent shows) and his love of music and composing was really just a hobby until 2007.

Having left school in 1998 he pursed a Theology degree at Queens and then a teaching qualification in R.E., even doing some supply work in Sullivan.  

He then spent time as the Head of Player Discipline and Registrations at the Irish Football Association and as an Education Officer in the St Patrick Centre Museum in Downpatrick before being invited to do some part time teaching at the City of Belfast School of Music in 2007.

From 2007 onwards my music and composing hobby started to gather some momentum and lead to paid work. I went back to university and did a Master’s Degree in Music and spent time lecturing at St. Mary's University College, Belfast. I also got involved in community music outreach music programmes in interface areas of Belfast”.

Today Stuart is working in music full time.

I run the Music Department in a secondary school part time, tutor brass part time and write music for all sorts of different companies and projects part time too. It all adds up to a full-time life in Music”.

To be able to work on music for Mercury Records is a highlight for Queen fan Stuart

As a teenager at Sullivan I would always wear a Queen t-shirt on non-uniform day! I even used to dress as Roger Taylor when I was drumming at the school talent shows (back when I had blonde wavy hair). I think teenage Stuart would be stunned at what would come to pass many years later!

Stuart is still in touch with many pals he made at Sullivan.

Apart from meeting my wife Claire at Sullivan (although we didn't become a couple until some years later) I play football on Saturdays with a group containing some fine men from our year group and the godfather of my son is a dear friend from my time in Sullivan too. I was lucky to have a wide network of good mates at the school and some have become lifetime friends.

I am also in a WhatsApp group with many of the folks in the Class of 1998 - no doubt this article will bring much ridicule! The very best of memories with the finest of folk”.

Stuart is a blue tick artist on Spotify and Apple Music (look for Stuart Leathem or Stuart Leathem & Esther Trousdale) and on Instagram @stuartleathem_official.

If you’re interested in learning more about the ‘Little Freddie Goes to School’ track, check out this video that Stuart made for Queen online.

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