Mary J. Blige Talks Covering 'Friend' Elton John for New Album: Exclusive

Mary J Blige

Mary J. Blige attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 90th Academy Awards at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Elton John never did things by halves. True to form, the legendary British singer on Friday (April 6) released not one but two tribute albums, Revamp and Restoration, which celebrate the beloved discography and songwriting of John and his longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin.

A mind-boggling lineup of stars feature on the new sets, from Ed Sheeran to Pink, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Dolly Parton, Queens of the Stone Age, Miley Cyrus, Logic and many more. 

For the 13-song Revamp project, Blige reinvened "Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word” as a soulful heartbreaker. Tackling "Sorry" was a no-brainer, says Blige. Speaking exclusively with Billboard, the R&B legend says she’s both a fan and a close friend of the Rocket Man. And she selected the song because of its power to move. “I specifically chose to sing ’Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’ because of how beautiful and sad the song is and it was also so cathartic for me to sing,” she says. “Elton and Bernie’s songs, so inspiring and powerful, will continue to stand the test of time.”

Recording a song for Elton’s tribute project “is special to me not only because he is a good friend of mine but also because of my love for his songwriting and amazing songs,” adds Blige, who accepted the Icon honor at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music Awards.

Revamp features modern pop, urban and rock acts hand-selected by John himself, while Restoration, organized by Taupin, finds country artists doing the same. Stream both albums below.