Neiked on re-working a Stevie Wonder classic with Anne-Marie and Latto: "When Stevie says I want you to do it, you have to do it!"
What does it take to re-work a classic?
According to super producers Neiked (Victor Rådström and Mikael Rabus) nothing else other than the blessing from Stevie Wonder, whose 1984 classic track I Just Called To Say I Love You gets a very 2022-remake in the form of new track I Just Called, which features Anne-Marie and Latto.
Blowing up on TikTok, I Just Called brilliantly twists Stevie's ode to love to...well...an ode to hate, and blowing off that ex you should have never let back into your life.
Joining us for a Zoom, Victor and Mikael discuss the making of the track, getting actual Stevie Wonder's seal of approval and what's coming next for them.
What started the initial spark of - I'm going to re-work this Stevie Wonder song? Safe to say it's a classic!
We obviously love Stevie Wonder, we love the original. We heard [a demo] of Anne-Marie [singing I Just Called] and it sounded completely different at the time, but we really loved the idea of doing something on that record and flipping it.
We started some production ideas and eventually came up with something we thought was interesting and fun - it's given the record a real twist, which is always important.
So Anne-Marie was already involved...how did Latto get on-board?
We were thinking about a lot of different people [for the second feature]. We love Latto and what she's been doing lately, we reached out and she really responded to the track. We got the verse back and we just thought it was incredible, and Stevie [Wonder, actual Stevie Wonder] thought the same too.
We were just going to ask, did you play the song for Stevie before releasing it. Imagine that pressure!
The pressure dropped as soon as we got his blessing. That was awesome. When Stevie says "I want you guys to do it," you gotta do it!
A lot of effort today goes into ensuring tracks go viral on TikTok - and I Just Called is doing extremely well on there, but do you ever feel the pressure to tailor specific songs to go viral?
The things is, it's really impossible to [tailor] records for a format. I think that everything we do, we do on a gut feeling. If that feels real, then whatever format or context the song is released into, that works. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, we still work with amazing people.
The best thing about it, of course, is that you're helping a new generation discover Stevie Wonder's music, most likely for the first time ever
That [to us] says that we have to like [and embrace] TikTok, it's bringing all the real artists and people the kids haven't heard yet [back in conversation]. It's really cool.