April Meservy’s raw, emotional cover of U2’s “With or Without You” was never supposed to be released. It wasn’t even supposed to be recorded.
But one day, as she sat in the aftermath of the end of a serious relationship, she did.
And a year ago, after sitting on the song for some time, the Provo singer and songwriter knew she had to do the brave thing and release it.
“That was a bit scary for me to do,” Meservy said.
The song has connected with at least two people, who have used it to skate to victory.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Canadian figure skaters, are using Meservy’s cover of “With or Without You” for their pairs free skating program. The two skaters are two-time world champions and will be competing in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Duhamel wrote on her blog in June that Radford had wanted to skate to an instrumental version of “With or Without You” since 2011 or 2012. They opted to skate to Coldplay instead, and the idea to skate to “With or Without You” was brought up again this spring.
The duo heard Meservy’s version and were captivated.
“There was no plan B after that,” Duhamel’s blog reads. “This was it. It had to be.”
The International Skating Union voted after the 2014 Sochi Olympics to allow music with lyrics in ice skating programs, which meant the team could use Meservy’s version.
The pair was coming out of rough time, with Radford injured and the team discussing bringing new people on for choreography and coaching.
“It was an emotional roller coaster, but listening to April’s version of ‘With or Without You’ gave us all hope,” Duhamel’s blog reads. “It gave us hope for the future, hope that we, as a team, would be back and hope that we really could evolve and grow our skating to a level it has never been.”
An anonymous donor paid for Meservy to go to Vancouver in January to watch the Canadian pair compete to her song in the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. The skating pair scored 81.78 points in the pairs short program and went on to win the competition and qualify for the Olympics.
Meservy found out six months ago the song would be used in the team’s Olympic bid and has since gotten a crash course on the sport of ice skating.
But when she first recorded the song with her recording engineer, Aaron Edson, who is also on the song, she never expected it to be used in competition.
“I have a lot of goals with music, that was never even remotely on my radar,” Meservy said.
She’s noticed people use the “Shazam” app to find her song more during a skating performance.
Meservy believes the original version of “With or Without You” is perfect and didn’t know how U2 fans would react to her version. She said her cover isn’t about improving the song, but gives a different interpretation and feeling to it.
There’s been talk about having her sing the song live for a performance.
She’s gotten to know the pair in the past few months and has become a fan of them both as athletes and people.
“They are such phenomenal people, just their attitude towards skating, towards life, their attitude about falling on the ice, and they’ve had their share of highs and lows,” Meservy said.
Anonymous donors came forward again to sponsor Meservy to go to South Korea to watch Duhamel and Radford skate to her song. Her tickets are purchased, and her country allegiance might have changed — but only for one event.
“I think I’m on Team Canada,” Meservy said. “I think for everything else, I root for the U.S.”
Olympic competition starts Thursday and the opening ceremonies are on Friday. Figure skating team pairs short programs start on Friday.