Drake's 'More Life': Snoh Aalegra Talks Being Sampled on 'Do Not Disturb'
Drake's More Life, referred to as a "playlist project from the OVO firm," was a musical sampler of the music the Toronto rapper puts his ears to. From his choice of samples to the mix of talent that featured on the 22-track set, More Life was equal parts Drake album and the put-on.
For the final track, the pensive "Do Not Disturb," Drake ruminates on his life at present: why relationships aren't his thing ("I don't have no time to be no Romeo/ All the love I need is at the rodeo/ All the love I need is here at OVO"), and how friends became enemies ("Dissin', but got pictures with me smiling though/ All the things you need, you still want problems though/ All the things I know, I still been silent though").
The Boi-1da-produced track also features a sample of Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra's "Time," another reflective number that was inspired by her father's death in 2009. Aalegra worked with 1da on "Charleville 9200" off her 2016 EP Don't Explain. "Time" also follows her recent releases including the Vince Staples-assisted "Nothing Burns Like The Cold," the John Mayer collaboration "Under The Influence," and the title track "Feels" for her upcoming album due in April.
On the eve of More Life's release (March 18), Aalegra hopped on the phone with Billboard from Los Angeles to discuss how her deep cut made it to Drake's latest offering.
How did your song "Time" end up as a sample on "Do Not Disturb"?
I wrote this song back in January with this guy called Leven Kali. I’m working on my own album called Feels that comes out in April. I worked with [producer] Boi-1da a lot, producer of my Don’t Explain EP on a song called “Charleville .” We worked a lot, back and forth, so he asked me to try to do some hooks and vocals for Drake. I did a bunch of stuff for him but I have a tendency of playing around with existing songs I already have so I felt like sending him an a cappella of the hook of this song called “Time,” that is out now.
So he really loved it and the thing that I did was I sped up my vocals on the hook and I sent it to Boi-1da like that. So the way you hear it on Drake’s album, that’s me speeding it up. I wanted to do something fun with it so it’s not exactly like my own version because mine is a ballad. That’s what happened and Drake loved it and they kept it on the track. Today was actually the first time I heard the song.
What was your initial reaction to “Do Not Disturb”?
I thought it was a really cool piece on the album, 'cause it’s the last song so I feel like it was kind of deep and a nice sum up of the album. I really love the whole album.
Were you able to work with Drake in person or did you send your vocals to Boi-1da?
I sent it to Boi-1da. I was actually with Boi-1da when he sent it to Drake. It was immediately a dope response. It’s more me and Boi-1da collaborating. I’ve met Drake in passing. We’ve never really officially met. He’s one of my favorite artists though, so it was really cool to be a part of this album.
When did you start to have an idea that your song would make the album?
I knew a few weeks ago. Boi-1da has been keeping me in the loop. I’ve been in this game for a while, so I know anything can happen last minute so I didn’t have an expectation. I believe things when it comes out ‘cause I know how it is -- things change all the time. But I knew for a long time that he loved the beat and that Drake was working on it. Super fun to hear it as the outro.
"Silence keeps clouding me, hand on my heart and I.... I wish that time never mattered." - TIME #DoNotDisturb - More life --— SNOH AALEGRA (@snohaalegra) March 19, 2017
What inspired your original song called “Time”?
It’s actually inspired by the loss of my father. I lost my dad in 2009 and on my album Feels, it’s about all different feels. I’m touching on all subjects in my life when it comes to love, life and everything, and that was something I wanted to write about.
Being on a Drake project offers a lot of exposure to his fanbase, so what are you hoping first-time listeners take away from your work?
When it comes to music, I’m such a fan of music and it makes me feel so much. I just want people to feel what I feel when I hear music that I love. I just want people to feel something, you know?