The idea for the project began as a homework assignment from Kristian Bush, Ell's producer on her 2017 album The Project, who tasked Ell with reimagining her desert-island record in two weeks, recording every single instrument and singing every part alone in her studio.
“Recording Continuum was the thing that started it all," Ell shared in a press release. "Kristian taught me some of the most valuable lessons as my producer from this ‘homework’ assignment. He gave me three rules: I needed to play all the instruments myself, I needed to record it alone in my studio, and I had two weeks. Through it all, I remembered all the things I first loved about making music. I can’t wait for my fans to hear the music that helped shape ‘Criminal’ and The Project!”
Ell previously released her version of Mayer's "Stop This Train" on her 2017 EP, Worth the Wait.
"It's the complete, raw version. The guitars are out of tune, things are out of time. It's as imperfect as imperfect could be," she told Rolling Stone Country of the track at the time of the EP's release. "But there's just a humanness in that, and it was part of my journey of getting here and it was just such a part of this discovery process, of me figuring out my sound and what I want to say and how I want to say it and really discovering the reason why I love doing this so flippin' much when before, I kind of lost sight of that."
The premise of The Continuum Project is similar to Ryan Adams' 2015 LP 1989, which saw the musician offer his own take on Taylor Swift's monster 2014 album, 1989.
“It was a learning experience and it was nothing more than that, and it really helped us find the sound for The Project,” Ell told CMT.com of the assignment. “It was part of the story of how we got to the sound of my album, and I wanted to bring fans into that.”
She added that she doesn't mind what Mayer thinks of her tribute, as long as he hears it.
“I just want him to hear it, and at the end of the day, it’s inspired me so much,” she said. “Regardless of what he thought about it, it’s just my snapshot of some of my favorite music.”
The Continuum Project will be released on May 25.
Photo Credit: Getty / Jason Kempin