Recently, singer Mary J. Blige brought her London Sessions to Chicago. The new album was influenced by a trip to London and the popular sound found there. Having received a record 30 Grammy nominations, the R&B pioneer decided to visit overseas to see what she could find.
On Nov. 3, there was a line down the block of The Logan Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue to see the documentary about her musical journey following her concert date of the Essence Festival this past July.
Shot in black and white, the filmed depicts her speaking with Amy Winehouse's father on the anniversary of her death. Many lengthy studio sessions were depicted on recordings with electronic group Disclosure and soul singer Sam Smith. A live version of his hit "Stay With Me" was particularly moving. Writer and singer Emili Sande along with English artist Naughty Boy created a sound with her bringing her lyrics to a whole new level.
Blige got by with a little help from her gay friends, including Elton John and George Michaeltwo of the figures she said have greatly influenced her career over the years.
Attending the Chicago screening she stated, "Europe looks at you not as an old or new artist, but an artist that makes great music. They really appreciate soul music. You look at Sam Smith and he is the soul man right now. His voice moves us. He sings from his soul. Amy Winehouse was singing what Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan have been doing for years. I think they really appreciate what soul music is."
She stated that she has known what do from each album in the past and just had to come up with this one each day. She felt this album was Mary J. Blige to the core. She wanted to do club music, combining it with R&B. The whole record was written in only 10 days and recorded in another 10 days.
This release was a bold move, as Blige has now officially left Geffen and Interscope to sign with Capitol Records to make her 13th album, The London Sessions. Blige mentioned that she was nervous about the fans would think, but hopes they will enjoy it.
Find out as the album will be released in the United States Dec. 2 and may be purchased at thequeeninlondon.com or maryblige.com .