The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes was feeling the pressure when he was asked to contribute his vocals to Ariana Grande’s ballad “Almost Is Never Enough.” It marked the first time he would hit the recording studio after undergoing vocal cord surgery back in April.
“I met Ariana at a charity bowling event thing, and she seemed lovely, and we kept in contact, and she’s a really talented girl,” Sykes recalled to MTV News. “I got the call from [manager] Scooter [Braun] like, ’We want you to try this vocal. It’s a really hard vocal, and she doesn’t even know it’s been turned into a duet.’
“This would have been the first time I’ve recorded since my surgery, so I went in,” he explained, noting that the team had to evaluate his post-surgery vocal ability. “I was really nervous. I’ve never been so nervous for a session, and went in and [did] what I like to think is quite possibly the best vocal I’ve ever recorded. I’m really proud of it.”
Grande, who Sykes called the “best female vocalist” out right now, previously gushed to MTV News about how great the boy bander did on the song, which will appear on her debut album, Yours Truly , as well as the soundtrack for “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” The Wanted singer, on the other hand, initially had his reservations.
“I didn’t know how my voice would sound ’cause I didn’t know what my capabilities [were], and it was kind of scary that I’ve had so much more control than I’ve ever had due to the team that I’ve worked with being so great,” the “We Own the Night” singer said. “Honestly, I couldn’t ask to work with a more talented vocalist than Ariana. I have so much respect for what she’s just about to do, and I think it’s a very exciting time for both myself and Ariana for slightly different reasons. I’m just excited I got my voice back. She’s about to go on this quite amazing journey.”
The pair just shot a video for the track, which Braun tweeted has hints of Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey’s recording-session video for 1995’s massive ballad “One Sweet Day.”
“We’re both really excited,” Sykes shared. “It was such a fun day, and I’m really looking forward for people to hear the whole song.”
He said “One Sweet Day” is a good comparison: “Yeah, it’s kind of that vibe, the sort of sound we really took to on the track, and we’re both big fans of both those artists. The video’s a really cool video. It was shot and recorded in the studio. I get to get on the piano at some points. It shows a really fun day recording the track.”