There’s no denying that “Stay” is a powerful song. The Grammys agree, Patti Smith agrees, and when Rihanna heard songwriter Mikky Ekko’s original, she did too — and now you can hear the version that first caught RiRi’s attention exclusively here.
Ekko, who provides guest vocals on the final cut that we’ve all come to know, wrote the ballad with Justin Parker back in 2012, though it wasn’t easy, initially; “I struggled so much with that song,” he has said. “It came from a really vulnerable place for me and I don’t like writing that kind of stuff.”
That struggle, of course, led to the song that became one of the biggest hits from Rihanna’s Unapologetic, and earned the singer some of the biggest accolades of her career, including a spot in EW’s own year-end 10 best singles list.
Take a listen to the original Ekko version below: