James Blake says lyrics for his Nirvana ‘Come As You Are’ cover “feel quite potent at the moment”

He interprets the lyrics as being about "inclusion"

James Blake has said the lyrics to Nirvana classic ‘Come As You Are’ are “potent” in the current climate, suggesting that he chose to cover the song to reflect the times.

The musician provided his own rendition of the US band’s hit 1991 single last month as part of a fundraiser for The Loveland Foundation.

Now, Blake has spoken to Zane Lowe on Apple Music about his decision to cover that song in particular. “This Nirvana song felt like a blank canvas, because taking away the instrumentation, just being left with the song, the lyrics are extremely powerful. They feel quite potent at the moment: ‘Come as you are’. It’s like there’s an inclusion to that. Even though I think potentially the song was written about heroin, I think that the lyrics can actually be applied to a lot of things.”


He continued: “I think with the Nirvana cover…I mean, I really put the question out to my Twitter followers and Instagram as well, to just find out what people would be interested in hearing me sing. I just went down the list and I was open to doing stuff of different styles. It wasn’t just about what suited me in terms of subject matter and stuff like that. It was more about, ‘Do I like the song? Does it sound right in my voice?'”

James Blake
James Blake. CREDIT: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

“Sometimes it took a little bit longer to get the cover. One of them took a week, and then another one took three weeks, and whatever, but it was because I was going through the whole list of everything that people had sent me and actually trying them at the piano and just seeing if it worked in my voice.”

‘Come As You Are’ is the latest in a series of covers Blake has shared in recent months. In May, he tackled Stevie Wonder’s ‘Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer’, while others before it include Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’Billie Eilish’s ‘When The Party’s Over’ and Frank Ocean’s ‘Godspeed’. The musician also performed a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case Of You’ on US TV, which he originally covered on his 2011 EP ‘Enough Thunder’.