Mary J. Blige is hard at work on her next album, the follow-up to last year’s brilliant London Sessions, and she’s returned in part to the team of Brits who helped reinvigorate her sound. She’s collaborating closely again with her “Doubt” songwriter RØMANS (né Sam Roman), the young English singer/producer whose work appears on Disclosure’s “Jaded” and Gorgon City’s “Saving My Life,” and comes co-signed by R&B great Rodney Jerkins. This summer, Roman even had the chance to write with John Legend. Around that same time, RØMANS stepped out from behind the scenes with the release of his debut EP, Overthinking Part 1, the first half of an upbeat soul collection meant to preview his forthcoming LP.
The title track from the EP recently caught the ear of the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, who decided to rework “Overthinking” during one of their recent studio sessions together. “I played her some tracks from my new album and she instantly asked if we could duet on one,” RØMANS tells Vulture. “We actually ended up writing a new verse for her to sing and made a new version of the song.” The resulting collaboration, which we’re premiering below, was recorded and filmed on the spot in the studio.
While there are no plans right now to properly release this duet, Blige’s future work continues to be influenced by the recent sounds of British pop, as exhibited by Sam Smith, Disclosure, and Emeli Sandé on The London Sessions. Last year, Blige spoke about feeling freer to make the music she loves in the U.K. as opposed to the States, something that doesn’t surprise RØMANS to hear her say. “We’re a small island with a great musical tapestry and a diverse mix of cultures,” he notes. “It’s an amazing breeding ground for creativity.”
RØMANS’ debut album is due next year, with Blige’s next LP expected at a later date.