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Who You Love

Interview at the Oxford Union
"Life in Music"

Interviewer: That neatly brings me on to my next question which is about collaborations. I know your most recent single "Who You Love" is of course a duet written and performed with Katy Perry. What was that like to do, to write, to perform, and how is that different from your other collaborations? I know you've collaborated with Frank Ocean as well on the recent album.

JM: That's a good question. Well I wouldn't have brought her a song if I didn't think it was going to be great. She wouldn't have said that she would do it if she didn't think it was going to be great. So it was a completely artistic transaction. I think the power of the song protected me certainly—I don't know about her—but protected me from the feeling of it being a little too cute. I certainly didn't say—and this is where directionality of an idea really comes into play—that song would have been completely different if I'd sat there and said, "hey let's do a duet!" Would I ever have written "Who You Love?" No, it would have been something completely different.

And so you can have two people in a room doing something that—the mission statement could be the same in two different situations, but if the directionality of the idea comes from a pure place—if you're just playing and I go, "hey, I think I got a song for you,"—then the quality or, the the "dignity" of a song can explain a lot about: "why did you do a song with your girlfriend?" The dignity of the song itself and the quality of it sort of stands up for—

Interviewer: The song explains why. 

JM: It explains why we would have gone in the studio to do that, but it certainly wasn't hair twirling, like, "you know what we should do?" Because we both know there's more reason not to do that.

Ellen Appearance with Katy Perry
From a guest appearance with Katy Perry on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013

ED: You’re in holiday mode already.

And that is such a great video. How long ago did yall do that and where did you do it?

JM: About two weeks ago.

KP: Yeah, we did it in one day and they’re all real life couples. All of us. And they were put on a bull and just shot in slow motion.

JM: They’re on the bull for about two seconds but we shot in such slow motion that you get about a minute of footage.

ED: They all fell off? You threw all the couples off?

I’ve done it before; it’s really fun.

JM: That was the first time doing it sober. That was the first sober bull ride.