Last night (October 29), we at Idolator were invited to attend a private screening of Mary J. Blige‘s new documentary in New York City’s Soho House. The film (directed by Sam Wrench) captured all the moments it took to create the singer’s upcoming album - The London Sessions.
Recording began this summer, with the diva spending one month in London’s studios. Heavy hitters like Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Capitol Records’ CEO Steve Barnett, songwriter Jimmy Napes, Sam Smith, Emeli Sand , Naughty Boy and Sam Romans all make appearances in the film. The London Sessions is such a different sound for Blige, with its core being rooted in ’90s-influenced UK house. The film reveals the inspiration sparked when she collaborated with Disclosure in January for their hit, “F For You.” The British brothers stated, “I hope [the album] causes a stir. She could go in the studio with Timbaland, but she chose two boys from Surrey!”
Blige’s vocals have always known to be heartfelt and soulful, so it was a perfect moment when the documentary showed her having lunch with Amy Winehouse‘s father Mitch. The main highlight threaded throughout it is the genuine friendship between Blige and her collaborators, which is reflected in all of the songs that we’ve heard off the album thus far. The film shows the singer in a new light; she exudes confidence as a woman and an artist more than ever. This new album has a distinctively fresh sound that is new for Blige, but it still keeps the emotive soul that we love from her.
After the documentary screening, Blige herself sat down to answer some questions about the making of the record as well as her experience working with artists like Sam Smith and Disclosure. She revealed she went the UK house direction because she was able to do more. Calling the album her “breakout moment,” she stated “It’s the evolution of Mary J. Blige and shows that I could do more than just R&B and Hip-Hop.”
Tina Turner‘s famous “River Deep, Mountain High” era was an inspiration for the singer, as she was able to break free from the constraints that people expected from her. “I haven’t felt like this since the Breakthrough album, since My Life or even What’s The 411?“
The London Sessions (out on December 2), is the singer’s forthcoming thirteenth studio LP - with songs like “Therapy,” “Right Now,” “Nobody But You” and “Whole Damn Year.” It features collaborations from artists like Sam Smith, Emeli Sand and Naughty Boy.
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