James Blake on Playing Beats for Kanye and Idolizing Stevie Wonder


On James Blake's excellent new album Overgrown, the British electronic musician wrangled a few high profile guest spots like Brian Eno and RZA, the latter of whom he met online and traded beats. Blake recently stopped by Hive for an episode of The Hivecast, where he revealed that another high profile musician invited him over to play some beats. "By chance, there was something happening where Kanye West was getting some people around the studio and he wanted me to come along and play him some beats," he said. "I went along, took my laptop and played him some stuff. Nice guy. He was just very into music."

At one point during this West-Blake pow-wow, 'Ye mentioned that Stevie Wonder might visit, which really perked his ears up. "He said something about Stevie coming along," he recalled. "Sometimes when I'm these situations it's hard to keep your cool. This is a person who I grew up completely idolizing."

Listen closely to the song "Retrograde" on Overgrown. It's easy to hear how the soul legend has seeped into Blake's work: "As a musician, as a person, and as a singer, it warms the cockles of my heart just to think of Stevie Wonder's music. It breathes life into me to listen to his records. He's the one person I could listen to his records and go, 'I know where I'm going from here.'

Overgrown is out now on Republic Records. Subscribe to The Hivecast via iTunes and stream it below: