The R&B queen collaborated with Disclosure to create a brilliant vocal version of their single F For You in January. Well, that partnership has drifted over into Blige’s new record. In an interview with The Guardian, Blige discusses how London culture–everything from current house music to Adele–influenced her new album.
Our idea was to become part of London. To really embrace the culture–to really live in it. Not that I haven’t been here before, but I’ve never had the chance to really soak in it the way I have this time. To make records from the London-scene perspective.
The music is free over here the way it used to be in the States. Artists are just free to do what they love. Listening to the radio you can hear the freedom. The music is living and breathing–you can hear that from Adele’s last album. It was massive–a big deal. But she did what she loved.
The writing for The London Sessions was a collaborative effort, with Disclosure, Sam Smith, and Jimmy Napes all lending a hand in various places. While Napes, who co-wrote much of Disclosure’s 2013 Settle and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, produced the record, Smith contributed to writing four tracks on the album. Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence went into detail about the writing and recording process of one of the tracks Right Now:
The track Right Now started with some chords I made on Jimmy Napes’ piano. We took that and gave it a Disclosurey feel with some drums that Guy [Lawrence] made. Mary leaves the instrumental side to us and gets much more involved when it comes to writing vocals. So she puts an idea in, then we all have a dog-fight until someone comes up with something that they agree on. It’s a really good way of working, because no one is afraid to just pitch ideas. We did the majority of the songwriting within about two-and-a-half hours, and then spent a lot of time editing and polishing, because that’s how Guy and me work. We’ll write a whole song very roughly, then go in and proof-read it for a long, long time and change it so much that you wouldn’t even recognise it from when you started.
Although Lawrence only mentions one track in the interview, Disclosure confirmed their involvement with Blige in a tweet and implied that they had worked on multiple tracks for the album.
While Mary J. Blige’s London Sessions LP is scheduled for a November release, Disclosure recently revealed that they will be hitting the studio in September to work on their own sophomore album.