For her 12th studio album, Blige headed to London with her producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to work with a crop of British talent at RAK Studios, including Sam Smith and electronic duo Disclosure. In an interview with The Guardian
, Blige explained what drew her to England's capital city. "Our idea was to become part of London," she said, "To really embrace the culture – to really live in it. Not that I haven't been here before, but I've never had the chance to really soak in it the way I have this time. To make records from the London-scene perspective."
She added: "The music is free over here the way it used to be in the States. Artists are just free to do what they love. Listening to the radio you can hear the freedom. The music is living and breathing – you can hear that from Adele's last album [21
]. It was massive – a big deal. But she did what she loved."