After the Swedish electronic group Little Dragon finished tracking its recent album, "Season High," a song remained on the cutting-room floor that the act didn't know what to do with. It was missing something, recalls singer Yukimi Nagano, explaining that the group "had a hard time taking it to where we wanted."
Her younger self hardly could have fathomed that the missing ingredient to the song, called "Peace of Mind," would be singer Faith Evans.
The story of how that happened involves Little Dragon's friend, producer-musician Raphael Saadiq, and some well-connected fans.
Nagano said Little Dragon's first step after deciding to try and salvage the song was to send the track to Saadiq to see if he had any ideas. What the producer returned "had a different vibe that we really resonated with," she said.
As they were listening to the song, the group had what she describes as "this vision" of adding another female vocalist to the track
Asking Evans, says Nagano, was a shot in the dark. She had no idea whether the R&B star would want to be involved and recalled thinking that "maybe it was too weird for her."
But they had an in, according to the story Nagano heard: "Apparently her kids knew who we were, and they were like, 'No, no. You should do it.' "
Evans convened with Little Dragon and Saadiq in his studio to shoot the video, which The Times is premiering.
The whole thing was wonderfully casual, says Nagano, and the resulting track reflects that vibe. A quiet-storm ballad, the Little Dragon singer delivers the verses and Evans handles the hook. As they do so, Saadiq listens from the mixing board.
Nagano, whose work has drawn the attention of any number of superstars, says she's still in a state of bliss about the collaboration. The Little Dragon singer has been a huge Evans fan for years.
"It was kind of like a dream come true," Nagano says. "I still can't really get that it happened, and when I listen to the song I feel really honored to be on the same track as her."
Watch the video below.