British producer Harmony Samuels: “This EP is going to be exciting”

British producer Harmony Samuels has confirmed that Janet Jackson will be releasing a new EP later this year. He also features as a cameo in her new music video Made For Now.

In an interview with Billboard magazine, he said that “this EP is going to be exciting”. He stated that the vibe is extremely international and the project is anchored in themes around love whilst harking back to Janet’s Velvet Rope and Control eras.

“Like I said, she’s not bound to any genre of music. She does have some classic R&B, but some other stuff that’s grungy where you’ll be like, woo! What vibe is that? Kind of George Michael-esque. I can’t say more than that.. But it’s very impressive and people that have listened before me, it feels like she’s gone back to Velvet Rope and Control but it’s new, it’s a different vibe and you can hear that. For me, that’s more than I can ask, that people feel that same connection from where she was 30 years ago. That’s amazing. This EP is going to be exciting. It’s young and fresh but it’s not young trying to be young. It’s open for everyone to receive.”

Janet Jackson producer Harmony Samuels

When asked how he got involved in Janet’s new project and the single Made For Now, Samuels said:

“I have good friends in high places. Janet’s A&R, his name is JQ, he’s from London. We’re both from London. So we met each other about 10 years ago. On my way to Clive Davis’ yearly Grammy party, he saw me in the plane like, “We need to talk about Janet.” I was like, please. I said, OK cool! Let’s talk about Janet. Three months later, never heard from him. Then he called me out of the blue. He said, Janet wants to start recording. This was just before she went on tour. We go to meet with Janet for the first time and I’m shaking in my boots. because oh my goodness, it’s Janet Jackson. This isn’t just any artist. This is an icon, a legend! So many different things. She walks in the room so beautifully, gracefully, just like, “Hi!” She asked, “Whose birthday is May 16?” and I said mine. She said, “Oh, we share the same birthday!” I was like, yes! I’m in. Then she was so amazing, talking to us about what she really wanted to talk about on this record. She said she wanted it to be about love and the world coming together. She wanted it to be about unity. She felt like, where in the world was that? She was a place where she felt like she could help bring it together culturally, spiritually, mentally, by love. I was like, wow, no pressure!

I go to the studio and I created this writing camp, me and JQ, we’re in the studio writing song after song for 10 days. I kept saying to myself, I need Janet to have something different and new that sparks everyone to be like, we never heard her this way before, but she still sounds amazing. I was scratching my head and pacing around the studio, like, what is it? One morning, it just hit me. I quickly did research on her and she’s never done an Afrocentric cultural record before. I said, perfect. That’s exactly what I’m going to do: cultural, Afrocentric, with a little bit of Latino [inspiration] and we’re gonna write a great record to it. I’m in the shower and the first guitar line you hear in the song, I literally hear it in my head. I jump out the shower and scream, yes yes! I sing into my phone, I get in my clothes and run to the studio, speeding down the freeway like, this is going to be the record. I’m making the track and going crazy. We end up making the song, the team of us: Al Sherrod [Lambert], Shawn Butler, Verren Wade, Edgar “JV” Etienne and myself. We’re all just working together like, this is actually going to be perfect for Janet.

She comes in and hears it and loves the record, her and her brother Randy love the record. She makes the changes and does all the things that make it her, fit her. She’s very unique and has her own vibe and sound. We go to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to cut the record. They were another set of icons. Legendary people. All of them in one room? That’s all too much. Then we cut the record, she loved it and she’d been preparing to put it out for a while. It’s been an experience. I’m excited about her EP too that’s coming out, because we’ve got other records that are just as good.”