Reading on mobile? Watch here
Nineteen-year-old Londoner Arlissa sort of has her ex-boyfriend to thank for her success. Inspired by their break-up after a three-year relationship, she wrote Hard to Love Somebody, which made its way to Nas. The rapper liked what he heard and asked to turn the song into a duet of sorts, flying Arlissa out to LA to watch him record his mainly improvised verses. "The whole experience was completely surreal," Arlissa said recently about the collaboration. "My ex was obsessed with Nas, and we used to listen to him all the time. [Nas] just makes you feel so comfortable that it wasn't until I was on the plane home that I suddenly realised, 'Fuck, I just did a track with Nas.'" Over a swelling intro of delicate piano and angelic backing vocals, Arlissa delivers lines about the usual things people who are recently heartbroken feel: running out of love and sunshine being replaced by rain. But it's Arlissa's voice that makes it all seem less cliched – her resigned, Beth Orton-esque lilt weaving in and out of Nas's typically energetic verses.
• Hard to Love Somebody is released on London Records on 30 September.
Making sites popular is about more than Twitter and Facebook. Burgess Powers makes social: personal