Why Artists Like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande Agreed To Sing On Lil Dicky’s Song ‘Earth’

Happy Earth Day! Dave Burd, better known as Lil Dicky, may have released his charity single “Earth” in April of 2019, but the message in the song is still relevant today. Here’s how Burd got more than 30 pop-charting musical artists to help raise awareness about the environment. 

Dave Burd Lil Dicky 'Earth'
Dave Burd | Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

All of the artists who helped make ‘Earth’ possible 

Burd’s vision was to have each artist represent an animal, organism — or in Kevin Hart’s case, a human being — that lives on Earth. Justin Bieber belts out a lyric about being a baboon; Ariana Grande plays the role of a zebra; Ed Sheeran is a lazy koala bear. Even the Backstreet Boys are featured as the credits roll.

Other music artists that lend their vocal talent to “Earth” include: Halsey, Zac Brown, Brendon Urie, Hailee Steinfeld, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Adam Levine, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Sia, Miley Cyrus, Lil Jon, Rita Ora, Miguel, Katy Perry, Lil Yachty, Meghan Trainor, Tory Lanez, John Legend, PSY, Bad Bunny, and Kris Wu. 

Burd didn’t stop with musical talent. He also included Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid in the song, as well as actor, producer, and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio.

“You start with your friends and people you have relationships with,” Burd told Rolling Stone, explaining how he got this many artists to collaborate on the single. “It’s not that hard to say, ‘I need you on this song. It’s all for a good cause.’ I explained the premise and got a good solid five. Once you have five people, it’s easier to go to somebody you are less friendly with and be like, ‘Hey, would you want to get on this song with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran and Charlie Puth where everyone is playing a different animal?’ The pitch wasn’t that difficult.”

Name-dropping and the fact that the parts he wanted others to sing were short (about one line per artist) helped Burd acquire that long list of talent. 

Lil Dicky joined forces with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation 

In creating “Earth,” Burd was inspired by the environmental crisis — something he wasn’t well-versed in until he started working on the song. “It’s all about saving the Earth,” Burd told Ellen Degeneres. 

Burd’s research gave him insight into the world of climate scientists, who have been encouraging humans to change the ways they interact with the environment for years. “When I started making this song, I didn’t really know the details,” Burd explained. “We have 12 years to completely change the way we do so many things on Earth or the damage is irreversible.” 

Burd partnered with DiCaprio’s foundation, donating all proceeds from the sale of the song. “[Leonardo’s] going to consult with me — his foundation [is] going to explain where they think the money is best-served because they’re in this philanthropic space.” Burd referenced a visit to DiCaprio’s home wherein they discussed earthly matters: “One thing I can tell you is that guy cares so much about the planet.”

Lil Dicky continues to work with celebrities 

Burd has a comedy series on FXX called Dave. The show highlights the hilariously mundane aspects of his life long before he gained notoriety as a rapper. 

In a recent episode “PIBE,” Burd is invited to a party at Bieber’s home. There, he brushes elbows with Hollywood stars, including Kourtney Kardashian. Hart and Scooter Braun are producers on the series. With their help, Burd was able to expand his celebrity contacts and connect with people like Kardashian to bring his show to the next level — much like he did with “Earth.”  

When “Earth” was released a little over a year ago, it got more than 3.5 million views within a few hours, according to Vox. Here’s to another 3.5 million on Earth Day 2020.