We caught up with the man to hear the backstory on each tune. See for yourself below.
"Drink To You" Feat. Zak Abel
The opening song for the album is a heartfelt moment with a huge emotive vocal from Zak Abel, who I always knew was the right voice for this song. The original demo was a girl singing [Cleo from the Six, who is one of the main songwriters on the track], and actually, the song is written about a friend of hers who passed away. The lyrics are very poignant, especially when you know what the song was written about. I think it really touches the soul. Zak’s voice just has this richness and range that was perfect for it. When he goes up an octave in the second verse, it just grabs you. Adding the strings into the second half was something that I felt would really accentuate the emotion of the song and give it a touch of an orchestral feel -- but, as you can hear, I retained that house beat underneath the track to keep it rooted in an uptempo dance vibe.
"Mama" Feat. William Singe
My hit from summer 2017 had to make an appearance early on in the track list. Such an important part of my journey and catalog, this was the first song I wrote with Sam Romans and Ed Drewett, who’ve become a key part of my creative output. William Singe's vocals were the perfect fit for this one, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
"Perfect Strangers" Feat. JP Cooper
My second single as Jonas Blue, and what a moment this was. I think it surprised a lot of people, as there’s an expectation, in dance music especially, that if you breakout with a huge first single and it’s a cover, like "Fast Car" was, then you might be a one hit wonder. Nope. W proved them wrong with this one, and "Perfect Strangers" went on to be one of the biggest records of 2016. JP Cooper is one of the finest singers around, effortlessly cool with a tone and control to his voice that is really unparalleled to most other UK singers. [This is] a beautifully-timeless song that, again, is an important chapter of my story, and I’m super proud to have it on the album.
"I See Love" Feat. Joe Jonas
I love this one. It just makes me smile when it comes on. Such an uplifting vibe. I wrote the song in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles with Mr Hudson, Mitch Allan and Louis Schoorl. The song ended up being featured in Hotel Transylvania 3 this summer, which was a such a cool thing for the song and a great fit for that kind of fun, animated visual. I was inspired a bit by Daft Punk in the production, but wanted to ensure it really had the Jonas Blue sound, which you can really [hear] with the Marimba melody, finger snaps and piano chords.
"Polaroid" Feat. Liam Payne & Lennon Stella
My current single, with a guy who’s been a absolute pleasure to work with, Liam Payne, and the adorable Lennon Stella. Their voices work so well together. I’d never done a duet, and this just felt like the perfect moment to do it. The subject matter of the song is so relevant to have both the male and female perspective. In verse one, you have Liam coming from the guy’s point of view, then verse two from the girl’s perspective, and in the third verse, it’s what they’re both feeling. The song is a proper story; there’s a real narrative to it, which I love. It’s about a couple who met on a night out, love at first sight. He takes a Polaroid of her, she signs it, and then she’s gone. They don’t see each other again, but he has the Polaroid and never forgets her. Watch the video, and you can see the story and find out if he does ever see her again. Another collaboration with Sam Romas and Ed Drewett. This time, JP Cooper joined us for the writing session, and what a song we got out of that session.
"Desperate" Feat. Nina Nesbitt
The first song I ever wrote in L.A., and it was with the amazing Julia Michaels who blew my mind in the studio. Her writing ability is like no one else I’ve seen. It’s second nature to her, like talking or breathing. She locked into the melody I had written on the Rhodes, which you can hear at the start of the record, and just got in the zone. "Desperate" was written in a couple of hours, then she was off to another session -- one of three that day, I think. What a talent Julia is. I’m honored to have written this song with her and for it to be on the album. The perfect voice to feature on the song came to me in the form of a young lady who’s just such a special talent, Miss Nina Nesbitt. I couldn't be happier that she said yes to the feature, and it’s become one of my favorite tracks on the album.
"By Your Side" Feat. RAYE
My third single, which featured a then-relatively unknown talent called Raye. A straight-up dance floor smash on the drop, and something that I still play in pretty much every DJ set. love the contrast of the stripped orchestral piano and strings moments with a drop that just bangs.
"Wild" Feat. Chelcee Grimes, TINI & Jhay Cortez
This one is a truly global collaboration; from Liverpool to London, to Buenos Aires and finally Puerto Rico. It's a song I wrote with the legend Steve Mac and the phenomenally talented Chelcee Grimes. I then decided it really needed some authentic Spanish singing as part of it and loved the translation of "Wild With You" to "Loco Contigo." It’s just phonetically two cool words which flow nicely, so I reached out to the Argentinian superstar Tini Stoessel, gave her the English lyrics and the Loco Contigo idea, and she smashed it. The icing on the cake was bringing in up-and-coming Puerto Rican rapper Jhay Cortez to lay down a killer, eight-bar, melodic, Spanish rap, which has become one of my favorite sections in the record.
"Wherever You Go" Feat. Jessie Reyez & Juan Magan
Jessie Reyez -- what a talent. I remember when I first heard her voice, when Zane Lowe premiered her song "Figures" in 2016. She was unsigned, and I was completely blown away by the depth of emotion in her voice. Every word carried so much passion...unreal. I knew, at that point, I had to work with her. I'm so happy to have this song and Jessie on the album. She’s really one of the great talents of our time. It was a pleasure to also have Juan Magan join me on the production for this one, probably my favorite of the new songs on the album.
"Purpose" Feat. Era Istrefi
This one went a little more urban on the production. The song just took me in that direction. Era Istrefi was the perfect fit. She just had the right level of swagger for this song. When you hear this one on a big system, it really bangs, too. I'm super happy with how the production turned out. It was great to also have Banx & Ranx jump in on it with me, who brought their flavor to it, too.
"Rise" Feat. Jack & Jack
My hit from summer 2018, which is still getting played on the radio all over the world. I could’t be happier with how this one turned out, from both the creative side, and how it reacted out there in the world. It's another collaboration with Ed Drewett and Sam Romans, and you can kind of hear it. We picked up where we left off with "Mama" but also took it to another level. It’s an anthem for the millennials, and Jack & Jack were the perfect feature. It’s their generation that the song is talking to, and they connected so perfectly with the song. It was just meant to be.
"Supernova" Feat. Charlotte OC & Dark Heart
I wrote this song on a spring afternoon in the East Village area of Manhattan with the amazingly talented Teddy Sinclair and Willy Moon. The whole mood of the music and the song has a melancholy sadness to it, but it’s got hope, too. Charlotte OC’s voice just absolutely encapsulated that mood perfectly. There’s a bit of a Stevie Nicks vibe going on at points, which I love. I also drafted my boy Dark Heart in to help on the production. I love the vibe he added in the drop with the cut up vocals. He’s a serious talent to watch out for.
"We Could Go Back" Feat. Moelogo
This song will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s got such a great nostalgic feeling to it, and we had the most fun shooting the video in Tokyo -- my favorite city in the world. Whenever I hear the song, it just transports me back to Tokyo. It feels like the perfect vibe for this point in the album. There’s just a little bit of magic in that intro guitar combined with Moelogo’s vocal.
"Come Through" Feat. Kaskade & Olivia Noelle
Another song I wrote in New York, but this one was with Scott Harris and Joni Fatora. I always loved the song, but to be honest, I didn’t have a clear direction on the production. I had been speaking to Kaskade about doing something together and sent him the song. He loved it and got the direction going. I absolutely loved what he did, and you can really hear a marriage of our two sounds on this record. It turned out so great; a really special moment on the album for me and an honor to collaborate with Kaskade.
"Fast Car" Feat. Dakota
Ending the album where it all started, my first single, the single that changed my life and set me off on this journey. Covering this song was something that I took on with great care, attention and respect for Tracy and the mood of the original song; hence not wanting to change the key and having to find a girl that could sing as low in pitch as Tracy, which, believe me, was not easy. Dakota was the perfect fit. The song was a hit, and the rest is history.
Blue is out now on Universal, Positiva and Virgin EMI Records. Listen to it below.