Artist News

The Roots and John Legend working on covers album

By | Published on Thursday 13 May 2010

Roots drummer ?uestlove has revealed that the band have been working on a covers album with John Legend. The collection originally began as one track, a version of Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’, but quickly span out of control to the point that, while the album will share its name with the track that started it all, that track won’t actually appear on the final release. Instead, it is made up of songs from the 60s and 70s.

?uestlove told Rolling Stone: “People tend to frown on the cover album. So, I wanted to choose cover songs that were so under the radar, so uniquely interpreted, that it would take you a second to realise that these are cover songs”. He adds that he worked hard to take the usual shine off Legend’s voice, adding: “I wanted this to be his worst performance ever. The side I wanted to expose was very raw, so for every vocal take he did, I tried to choose the one with the cracks”.Amongst the songs they have recorded are Marvin Gaye’s ‘Wholy Holy’, Roberta Flack’s ‘Compared To What’, and Nina Simone’s ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free”.

While working on ‘Wake Up’, The Roots have also been working on another new album of their own, ‘How I Got Over’, which will feature two guest appearances from Legend. According to ?uestlove, the band are hoping for a June release for the album, despite the fact that it’s less close to being finished than ‘Wake Up’, which is due in September. But, says the drummer: “We play it very close to the edge. I won’t turn in any record before its time, before I get goose bumps and I get that feeling in my stomach. I definitely have it with both albums”.