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Once I left Bad Boy, I knew it was an opportunity for me to tell the story in the way I’d felt it for my whole life.I felt like I dreamed it…Instead of looking at not having a label like a negative, I looked at it like an opportunity to do the things I wanted to do that a label would have restricted or questioned; they perhaps wouldn’t have allowed an artist like me to go down that road.” What do you mean by “an artist like you”? Coming from two groups, they’d have an idea of what my sound was – I went from a pop-mainstream group to a hip-hop/R&B group.
“I always tell everybody I have this cyber-rainforest in my mind.
I live in this place where I feel like every day I’m in this jungle fighting.
You hear, Dru and I looked at each other like…that wasn’t even our best, we have so much more to give.
I’m so excited about what we can create, I’m like a little giddy kid. ‘Pretty Wicked Things’ sets you up with an atmosphere before it even starts; and just when you think you’ve got an idea of the record, it transforms into something else. When ‘Pretty Wicked Things’ is erratic, it’s urgent. This album is instinctual and animalistic, but it’s innocent and pure at the same time.
I feel like when I wake up I put on armour and I fight these big-ass monsters every day of my life.
I come back and I say Dru, how was your day – and he did the same thing.
I feel like that’s the world, how can you set that up musically? I’m a huge fan of Phil Collins and I’ll say, how do you incorporate that padding or that tone, and that’s what we come up with.” My favourite section of the album might be the moment it hits ‘Faith’, which is a masterclass in build-and-release both in itself and in its positioning two-thirds of the way through , between the multi-layered vocals and luxuriant strings that precede it on ‘Heaven’ and the devotional mysticism of ‘Scripture’.
“I feel like you’re running towards something in ‘Faith’, and there’s a breakdown when it all slows down in ‘Scripture’ – but it never feels slow, it feels like you’re ever moving, your body and your heartbeat are taking you someplace you don’t know.
When I’m at the studio, I’m always telling Dru, this has to change, or this has to move because people are gonna move to this sound in a different way.
He’ll be looking at me like, what are you talking about?