Ahead of its highly-anticipated release, Billboard spoke to Legend, Mau and Ricky about the joining of forces for this feel-good pop track that celebrates love and resilience. It also becomes the brothers’ first English-language collaboration.
“I don’t know if we’re the best for the job but we for sure will be the quickest and the most efficient and the most hungry and excited for it,” Mau tells Billboard. “We’re just so grateful because to be honest, John is one of the artist that we admire the most so this is crazy and we still can’t believe it.”
The making of the remix took no more than a month and after Legend — who has collaborated with other Latin artists like Juanes and Flor de Toloache — heard what Mau y Ricky had done with the song, he says. “The only feedback I gave them was that I wanted more. They were being a little too shy at first. We asked them to give us more, we want to hear your voice with mine so that there’s a real collaboration and interaction.”
In an interview with Billboard, Legend and Mau y Ricky share details about how the “Bigger Love” collaboration came about.
Billboard: So, who reached out to to who for this “Bigger Love” collab?
John Legend: We reached out to them and they said yes. They started working on the song immediately and sent us back the vocals and we loved it. I’m just so happy we were able to make it happen.
BB: Mau y Ricky what were your initial reactions like? Was is sort of like a pinch-me-moment?
Mau: Yes, it’s still a pinch me moment! The whole story is that I was in the middle of making a barbecue for my close friends and I got this news as if they would have told me ‘hey, you got a package’ just like super chill. So, I’m making this barbecue and they’re like, there is this opportunity that came up that maybe you guys might be doing a remix. In that moment, I obviously left the barbecue in half. I left that sh–.
Ricky: No one ate…
Mau: And I was making the barbecue in the studio so it was perfect because we were able to jump in the studio that same day. We wrote the part that second and recorded. It was great. Rick and I thought, you know what I don’t know if we’re the best for the job but we for sure will be the quickest and the most efficient and the most hungry and excited for it. We’re just so grateful because to be honest, John is one of the artist that we admire the most so this is crazy and we still can’t believe it.
And what were some of those initial conversations like between the three? John did you give them some sort of instruction on what you were looking for or did you just let them work their magic?
JL: Well they started and did whatever came to mind. Part of it was just listening to the original melodies that we had written and them doing their own version with that but they added so much extra flavor. And I said, I want even more why don’t you sing on the chorus? And so the only feedback I gave them was that I wanted more. They were being a little too shy at first. We asked them to give us more, we want to hear your voice with mine so that there’s a real collaboration and interaction.
Mau: We were just being cautious, man. Especially when there’s a song that already existed amazingly by itself, it’s hard to add anything because it’s already perfect. What Rick and I did was figure out a way that we can exist inside that world but the truth is that we were just trying to take care of the song in a way that was not overstepping and not invading.
What were your reactions when you listened to the end result?
JL: I was so thrilled. I was dancing to it and smiling. I just felt the love and I just want people to feel that when they hear it.
Ricky: When we heard the master version we were in the middle of nowhere in Utah shooting a music video and my team sends me the final version and we played it in the car. Our whole team was there and we just couldn’t believe it was real. I sent it over there to my dad and he said, ‘esto es un palo (this is a hit)’ and he sent the picture that said ‘John Legend & Mau y Ricky’ to the entire family. He was so proud.
John, you’ve teamed up with a handful of Latin artists like Juanes and Flor de Toloache and now Mau Y Ricky. What do you take away from these Latin collaborations?
JL: For me, music is music and we have so much more in common than what separates us. We might be separated by language sometimes but there’s so much musically that we have in common. Particularly if you think about African music, Caribbean music, Latin music there’s so much that connects us rhythmically and everything and so I always feel that it’s a natural thing for us to make music together. We were made to make music together. It just makes sense.
How did you find Mau y Ricky? Had you listened to their music?
JL: I’ve heard some of their songs and you know when I’m thinking about doing a remix I’m researching too. I’m looking up artists that I’m thinking about and listening to the timbre of their voice thinking will it match with mine. I’m doing all of that. I thought Mau y Ricky will be perfect for it.
Mau y Ricky, anything you guys want to add?
Ricky: This obviously for us is a blessing. For all our culture and knowing that we’re continuing the spread of Latin music around the world and having somebody like John Legend invite us into his world and hopefully we can represent our culture and people are proud of what we’ve done with the song. So many dreams coming true. We were telling John yesterday that working for him, our first English-speaking song and at the same time working with Ryan Tedder who also wrote in this song. All of those things are just beautiful blessings and that we can be here representing Venezuela is my most proud thing.