Creator of ‘Freed from Desire’ gives thumbs up to Grigg anthem

Gala Rizzatto
Gala Rizzatto

The unavoidable sound of ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ has reached stadiums, dressing rooms and now even the chart’s top 10 – not that the Italian artist behind the original song is familiar with his ability to terrify defences.

Twenty years before Wigan fan Sean Kennedy’s ode to Latics and Northern Ireland striker Grigg went viral, New York student Gala Rizzatto released ‘Freed from Desire’, the song which has been adapted for the season’s most infectious chant.

Will Grigg celebrates after a goal

Will Grigg celebrates after a goal

The singer is now hoping to be asked to sing at one of the Euro 2016 matches once the Championships get under way in France next week.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Gala explained: “This guy from England called me and said, ‘Your song has become my favourite chant ever! I listen to many of these football chants but this one is my favourite one’.

“I don’t follow football so much but I said, ‘If you tell me it’s good, I trust that it’s good’.”

The 43-year-old, born in Milan and now based in New York, admitted she wanted to “save the world” with the Buddhist concept outlined in a tune that topped the charts in multiple European countries in the 1990s.

The passion he has for his team, it’s the same passion I had when I wrote this song - to bring together all of my friends around the world

Gala Rizzatto

There may be no profound message behind the “daft video” Kennedy posted on social media one day, though Gala can see parallels between his own devotion and the feeling which motivated her to pen ‘Freed from Desire’.

“The passion he has for his team, it’s the same passion I had when I wrote this song - to bring together all of my friends around the world, to still be connected to them,” she said. “It was really a desire to bring people together.

“Because I was very young, I wanted to save the world with the Buddhist conception of not wanting more. I believe the worst thing in the world is greed, it’s the beginning of all evil. I hate that.

“When I wrote this song I wanted to change the world, it was driven by a strong passion, so whenever this passion is translated to a sport it really makes you happy.”

Sean Kennedy (right) with Latics' player Yanic Wildschut

Sean Kennedy (right) with Latics' player Yanic Wildschut

The fact the song was modified for the terraces by Latics fans - and was the anthem of choice for Hull and Barnsley players when they sealed promotion - was not surprising to Gala either.

“It was born as a chant, it is born as a prayer,” she said.

“All these people went to clubs and it is like a church. We’re all going to die, we are we here in a big room, in the dark, dancing together, because we are celebrating life and it was incredible to see all these people.

“I made it easy to sing but the actual message they are singing is a very deep Buddhist prayer. I like the fact that people can get a vibe out of something even if they don’t understand all the details. They got the vibe it was a preaching song, a chant, that there was something to say.”

The ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ version, released by Blonde this week to raise money for Joseph’s Goal, had already lodged itself in the iTunes top 10 alongside Justin Timberlake, Drake and Beyonce,

Wherever you go in Wigan and beyond, people are singing it, humming it, watching the latest video on social media.

And if Northern Ireland’s friendly in Belfast last Friday is any indication, the chant’s popularity is only growing.

With Gala over in Europe when they begin their campaign in Nice on June 12, maybe The Green and White Army will get a special rendition too.

“I dream to come to the stadium and sing it and be there,” she added. “It would be nice to be at one game for sure.”

And what does the man himself think of his new-found fame? At the moment he is keeping his thoughts to himself but he was spotted belting it out loud and clear with his fellow Latics team mates on the pitch when they clinched the League One title on the last day of the season!

Will Grigg is, indeed, on fire, but how much do you know about the man himself and the smash hit tune he inspired?

Here are 10 facts about the Latics striker and a few about THAT song.

1 Despite being a Northern Ireland international, Grigg was born in Solihull in the Midlands.

2 The striker is a big Aston Villa fan but has never played against his boyhood club before, so next season will be his first opportunity with both Wigan and Villa in the Championship.

3 Grigg has been promoted from League One three years in a row. He went up with Brentford in 2014 and MK Dons in 2015. However, both of those were as runners-up meaning Wigan was his first title win.

4 His scoring prowess with Wigan may have been marked with a song but at MK Dons it was his dance, dubbed the Griggle, that caught fans’ attention.

5 Grigg scored twice for MK Dons in their famous 4-0 win over Manchester United.

6 His goal for Northern Ireland in their friendly against Belarus last weekend was his first for his country.

7 The Will Grigg’s on Fire chant was not actually made up by Latics superfan Sean Kennedy. The 26-year-old may well have made it famous with his comical videos but it was after he had overheard other supporters singing it at Swindon. Newcastle fans claim they first sung the chant about their striker Mitro. But seeing as he managed 19 less goals than Grigg, it means he’s barely lukewarm.

8 He shares a birthday with racing driver Sebastian Vettel and actor Tom Cruise.

9 Grigg’s goal tally of 28 with Wigan last season is the highest he’s had in his career.

10 Will Grigg IS on fire - fact!