The Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, recently spent a month in London working on and cultivating the sound of a brand new album simply titled ‘Mary J Blige: The London Sessions‘ which was confirmed by the UK publication The Guardian. Blige has been working with House music duo Disclosure, Sam Smith, Jimmy Napes, Naughty Boy, Emeli Sandé and more on the upcoming album. She promises that this effort will be the most innovative album of her 22-year career. Although she recorded the album in London and worked with a lot of UK talent, the project will be executive produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins.
“Our idea was to become part of London, to really embrace the culture – to really live in it,” says Blige. “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.” What is that exactly? What does she think London has? “Freedom,” she says. “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."
Sam Smith also shared his take on the success of so many new artists from the UK, and what the project will deliver. “With my record – and when you think about Adele, and Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran – we’re not worried about the way we’re looking, the way we’re coming across in our music,” he said. “We’re just saying what’s in our minds and in our hearts. I see that as strength – to be able to face your issues and your sadness head-on. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my music, and I think that’s what this Mary album is about – a fearless vulnerability.”