Britney sings with her soul.
In BreatheHeavy’s new series, “B-Sides,” we take a closer look at some precious unreleased material from the princess of pop. The latest gem just surfaced. It’s a two-minute clip of Britney gorgeously covering blues icon Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”
Related: B-Sides: Here’s Why “State Of Grace” Is Britney’s Best Unreleased Track… Ever
In the clip, Britney’s angelic vibrato floats over a dreamy piano melody as she sings the words: “I’ve been loving you… a little too long now.” Her dreamy vocals layer on top of one another to create something sensational.
We don’t know much about Britney’s version, but it producer Christopher “Notes” Olsen is responsible for helping her create it in 2006. Olsen, who tragically (and mysteriously) fell to his death in 2010, co-produced “Rebellion,” as well as songs featured on Kevin Federline’s debut album, Playing With Fire. It’s also believed that Olsen helped Britney mix the M+M Tour versions of her songs, and her cover of Elvis Presley’s “Trouble,” featured in the singer’s infamous 2007 VMA performance.
2006 was one of the most adventurous years for Britney’s musicality. It’s around that time she began to explore her artistry, and create music for the love of it. Songs like “Rebellion,” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” are inherently vulnerable and therapeutic, but there’s a mystique that clouds our perception of her reality. Who was this beloved pop star? What was she going through at the time? What did she want people to take away from these works?
In her 2006 cover story with People magazine, Britney opened up about experimenting with her sound in her home studio.
“I’ll get on the piano and just play whatever feels good,” she said at the time. “When I was little, I would listen to myself, but the record label signs you, and you’re just thankful to get a hit song. You can’t really show off your voice and where you came from.”
She added: “I used to listen to blues music and all that stuff. I would like to try to have more influences of that sound. Not that I’m going to be like frickin’ Tina Turner. But you never know.”
Not long after this recording, superstardom’s gravitational pull would eventually become too powerful for her to escape on her own. That makes this unearthed audio even more special. Britney wasn’t particularly interested in recording dance hits. She wanted her authenticity to shine, but somewhere along the way Brit’s classic covers were replaced with Danja’s icy beats. More than a decade later, we’re still putting together the pieces.