Mary J. Blige’s ‘The London Sessions’ documentary of her album of the same title had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. The R&B superstar talked about the making of the album and why she allowed cameras into the recording studio in two separate, and wide-ranging interviews.
The documentary, ‘The London Sessions’ had its premiere at the Beacon Theater in New York City as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. It shares its title with The 44-year-old Queen of hip-hop soul Mary J. Blige’s album, ‘The London Sessions,’ which was released to critical acclaim last November. It was her 13th studio album and it landed on the best albums of 2014 lists of numerous publications including Billboard, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and The Chicago Tribune, just to name a few.
And, yes, it was recorded in the city of its title and it is that process which the documentary chronicles. Over the course of ten days, she collaborated with several of the biggest music stars in the UK including Sam Smith, Disclosure, Naughty Boy, and Emeli Sandé among others.
She spoke with Billboard.com about her decision to allow cameras into the recording studio, saying, “It wasn’t my idea to document — it was something that came from the powers that be — but it was my idea to say, “You know what, I’m going to go ahead and do it.” Because I need people to come inside with me on this one because I’ve never done anything like this before.”
And the resulting 45 minute documentary feature has caused a stir, as it is unusual, and, as critics have pointed out in reviews, it has many revealing and poignant moments, not least, her emotional meeting with Mitch Winehouse, the father of the late Amy Winehouse.
Asked about the creative departure she took with ‘The London Sessions,’ Mary J. Blige said, “That moment came when I realized that as an artist, I needed to do something creatively different and no longer do the same thing. To me, everything was stagnant and redundant — the same thing.”
As for anticipating the fans’ reactions, she went on to say, “I said, “I hope they appreciate this, but I think they will because it’s a move that they don’t even know they need.” I needed to take this chance and do this for myself, because I just couldn’t be stuck anymore.”
Mary J. Blige also spoke with People magazine (video below) and was asked about her future plans. She said, “What’s next is I’m going to go after this acting thing; I’m gonna go hard after that. In the midst of this London Sessions thing, right now I’m reading and studying acting. I’m gonna do drama. That’s first on my list – and surprise people with comedy, a little later. Right now I’m gonna go after the drama.”
That’s great news for fans, especially, after her guest appearance on the hit series ‘Empire,’ which saw her portraying Angie, a woman from Empire Entertainment owner Luscious Lyons’ (Terrence Howard) past. As for whether she will return to the series for the next season, she told People of her role, “It wasn’t much, but I would definitely go back for a whole arc of it.”
The full Billboard.com interview is here and the People interview is here (with video below). The photo gallery from the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Mary J. Blige’s ‘The London Sessions’ documentary is here.
Pictures: PR Photos