James Blake talks Beyoncé collaboration and turning down Drake in new interview
When a producer builds up a body of work as accomplished and distinctive as that of James Blake, it hardly comes as a surprise that other renowned artists are champing at the bit to work with them. In a recent interview with Spotify, Blake elaborated on experiences he’s had working with artists like Beyoncé, whose latest release, Lemonade, featured Blake on the song “Forward.”
According to Blake, when he was approached by Beyoncé’s team about working on the song, they already had lyrics written. “I’ve never sung anybody else’s lyrics,” claimed Blake, and so the “Retrograde” producer ignored them and wrote his own.
It may seem a bit bold to reject out of hand lyrics from one of the biggest names in music, but boldness in the face of superstars seems to be a recurring theme with Blake. He went on to discuss his experience with Drake, who he sent samples to in 2014, hoping to arrange a collaboration. Drake went on to sample Blake on “0 to 100/The Catch Up,” but Blake refused to clear the sample because he was not, as he saw it, appropriately informed of its use.
He claims he doesn’t regret the decision, although he did say that, when he heard how much money he’d potentially lost by not being sampled on the track, he ‘spat out [his] drink.” James Blake has always been an artist that values his integrity and ability to control his work, and one has to respect his resolution to stick to his principles.
Head over to Pitchfork to read more of the interview, and listen to it below.