British singer Sam Smith’s irresistible single “Stay With Me” has a new remix featuring Mary J. Blige — but the reasoning behind releasing a duet version of the track remains unclear. “Stay With Me” has already reached number one on the UK Singles chart, but the song is taking a little more time to take off in the United States. Obviously, Smith’s record label, Capitol Records, wants “Stay With Me” to be a big hit. Is that why they’ve decided to release this new remix with Blige — to appeal to a wider audience? Or is it a response to Smith’s recent admission that the songs on his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, are about a man? Hmm, very curious, indeed.
Because the sales and airplay of song’s remixes count collectively toward its position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it’s not uncommon for record labels to commission alternate versions of a song in order to help push it over the top (see: the remixes of Katy Perry’s singles from her Teenage Dream album, Rihanna’s “S&M” remix with Britney Spears, etc.). When you look at it that way, this new remix of “Stay With Me” makes sense.
But doesn’t it seem a little strange that a duet version of the song with a woman was released right after Smith revealed that the songs on his new album are about a man? Is this all a part of Capitol’s “damage control” strategy for Smith? Or is it just simply good business? I'm just asking the questions, I don't have the answers. Still, I’m not so sure that I could buy that the timing here is completely coincidental. Food for thought.
Regardless of why this new “Stay With Me” remix was released, it sounds really good. Blige’s voice compliments Smith’s so nicely. Turning the song into a duet actually adds a cool new dimension. I don’t know that the remix has more radio appeal than the original version of “Stay With Me,” but it certainly won’t hurt the song’s chances. I, for one, will definitely be buying it.
The cherry on top here is the live rendition of the remix that Smith and Blige did exclusively for Good Morning America. Both Smith and Blige were absolutely on fire, laying down improvised vocal runs with total ease. Come to think of it, Blige’s guest appearance might give “Stay With Me” some much-needed clout when it comes time for next year’s Grammy Awards (she’s a nine-time winner, after all). Maybe that’s why Capitol released this remix. Who knows?
Check out the new remix of “Stay With Me” below. You can watch Smith’s live performance with Blige over at the Good Morning America website. The remix is available on iTunes now, while In the Lonely Hour will be released in the United States on June 17.
Image: ABC News