Arlissa vs. Nas – ‘Hard To Love Somebody’
aaamusic | On 09, Aug 2012
London Records have announced plans to release a unique, one-off collaboration by Grammy-nominated hip-hop legend Nas and stunning South London newcomer Arlissa. ‘Hard To Love Somebody’ is due out on September 30, and features remixes by 88 Keys (who most recently produced ‘No Church in the Wild’) and celebrated DJ and production duo The Nextmen (Plan B, Paul Epworth). Further information will be announced shortly.
For Arlissa, it was the call of a lifetime. At just nineteen years old, the singer and songwriter with that unusual name – half German, half American, but raised in Crystal Palace – had finished her A-Levels, and was contemplating her next move. She’d broken up with her first boyfriend of three years, moved out of the family home, and watched her friends go off to university, whilst she stayed put; intent on making music her life. And then one such song, ‘Hard To Love Somebody’, found its way largely via word-of-mouth from her producer to a publisher, and then finally to Nas – who has sold over 13 million records in the United States alone, and recently spent two weeks at number 1 in America (and returned to the UK Top 10) with a new album, ‘Life Is Good’.
Nas was such a fan of ‘Hard to Love Somebody’ that he not only asked to record an alternate rap version of it, but flew Arlissa to L.A, wishing to do so in-person. The resulting collaboration is an infectious and emotive mix of Nas’ idiosyncratic delivery with Arlissa’s gorgeous original chorus (“oh it’s hard to love somebody, when all I want is you”). “The whole experience was completely surreal,” Arlissa recalls. “My ex was obsessed by Nas, and we used to listen to him all the time…though I was only a year old when ‘Illmatic’ was released.” Typically charismatic, Nas wrote his rap virtually on the spot, and proved an encouraging presence for Arlissa: after all, the only other time Nas has featured a UK artist was with the late Amy Winehouse. “He just makes you feel so comfortable,” Arlissa says, “that it wasn’t until I was on the plane home that I suddenly realised, ‘F**k, I just did a track with Nas’. It’s been an incredible opportunity.”
Aged just nineteen, Arlissa has emerged overnight to become one of the brightest UK talents of the moment. Armed with a dauntingly strong set of songs, Arlissa’s is a voice – and a name – that looks set to be planted firmly in the pop map heading into next year