Last weekend, Mary J. Blige gave the Guardian the scoop on her upcoming album The London Sessions, a chance to capitalize on the chemistry she showed onstage (and in the case of her “F For You” remake, in the studio) with Sam Smith and Disclosure earlier this year. One track Disclosure producer Howard Lawrence discussed in detail was “Right Now,” which was produced by the duo and co-written by Smith and their shared writing partner, Jimmy Napes.
“[It] started with some chords I made on Jimmy Napes’s piano,” he explained. “We took that and gave it a Disclosure-y 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.”
“Our idea was to become part of London,” Blige added, “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.”
Have a listen to “Right Now” and Blige’s other recent performances down below; The London Sessions is expected later this year, as rounded out by work alongside Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson), Naughty Boy, Emeli Sandé and recent Roc Nation signing Sam Romans…