Enjoying the critical success of his surprise album The Colour In Anything and a contribution on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, another lauded 2016 release, James Blake sat with Spotify’s newly launched show called “Secret Genius” to discuss his power moves. Interesting revelations disclosed during the chat included Blake explaining how he freestyled his way on Queen Bey’s opus (“Forward”) and what led to his omission on Drake’s Grammy nominated hit, “0 to 100.”

James Blake’s “The Colour In Anything”: First Thoughts

Delving into his work alongside Beyoncé for the Lemonade track “Forward,” Blake said he was originally brought into the studio for a brainstorming session and was given a set of Bey-penned lyrics. While anyone else would have went along with the page of lyrics, Blake had other ideas. “I’ve never sung anybody else’s lyrics, so I just assumed that’s not I was going to be doing,” he explained. “So I got my phone out and sang some of my own lyrics that were about something else and about somebody else.” Albeit a bold move, Blake’s decision played out in his favor because this freestyle made the cut. “It fit somehow,” he said in a surprised tone. “I’m just honored that they used it.”

Clearly someone who cares very much about the quality, authenticity, and originality of his craft, Blake shared an interesting story about his original appearance on Drake’s summer ’14 smash “0 to 100/The Catch Up.” In the original version released to SoundCloud in June 2014, the track features an unreleased Blake sample in the closing seconds. But by the time it hit retail, Blake’s vocals were removed. The singer revealed this was his decision and that he asked for his “contribution” to be taken out, because, “I only sent it as a collaborative idea, not to be sampled on a record.”

“I remember having a conversation with my publisher later, and saying: What did you think of that decision? Because you know that was a massive album. I asked how much money exactly I turned down by doing that. I spat out my drink,” he recalled. “Just because someone has an impressive amount of clout and a global platform, I don’t give a shit about that, I just want to make good music with people. And it was good music. But just ask me. And you know I’m over it. If anything, I could actually do with the track being out, I did like it, but I don’t regret the decision. For anybody who wondered why a version of that came out and then never made it to the record, that’s why.”