Christina Aguilera hasn’t had any contact with Kanye West since 2016, when he helped to produce a pair of songs for her upcoming album.
The pop superstar debuted her first piece of new material on Thursday (03May18), when she released the single Accelerate, featuring rappers Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz.
The track was produced by Kanye, who also worked on a tune called Maria, which samples The Sound of Music and Michael Jackson, for Christina’s forthcoming Liberation project, after meeting at iconic producer Rick Rubin’s Shangri La studio in Malibu, California in late 2015.
Kanye was putting the finishing touches to his The Life of Pablo album at the time, and gave Aguilera a preview of his new music.
They ended up talking “forever”, but Christina reveals they lost touch after completing their recording sessions in 2016 – before the hip-hop heavyweight suffered a mental breakdown.
“There were some personal things that arose…” she tells Billboard magazine, hinting at his hospitalization and the cancellation of his tour in November, 2016.
However, Aguilera – who conducted the interview last month (Apr18), two weeks before Kanye made a surprise return to Twitter and began stirring controversy with posts about his support for U.S. President Donald Trump and his views on slavery – insists she has “always been a huge fan” of his artistry.
“Outside of, you know, his controversial aspects, I just think he’s a great artist and musicmaker and beatmaker,” she shares. “The artists that he chooses to pluck from different walks of life are so interesting.”
Liberation also features collaborations with rapper Anderson.Paak, a track written by up-and-coming singer Julia Michaels, and a duet with Demi Lovato, while there were also plans to work with Cardi B and Childish Gambino, before the studio sessions fell through.
All 11 songs on the project feature a distinct R&B and hip-hop vibe, and the Dirrty hitmaker insists it simply reflects the kind of music she prefers to listen to.
“To me, there’s nothing like an amazing hip-hop beat,” she says. “At the end of the day, I am a soul singer. When you strip back the words ‘pop star’ and the many things that I’ve done, singing soulfully is where my core, my root and my heart really is. And as you can see, it’s what I’m inspired by.”
Liberation, the follow-up to 2012’s Lotus, is released on 15 June (18).
– Cover Media0