On August 25, 1992, Mary J. Blige released “Real Love,” the second single from her debut album, What’s the 411? Over three decades since it dropped, the song is now widely regarded as an R&B classic. During a recent tribute performance by Summer Walker, “Real Love” is one of the songs the singer covers. Unfortunately, the performance has caught mixed reactions since it reached the internet. Although Walker is a great singer herself, fans argue that better covers of “Real Love” exist.

Certainly, many covers of “Real Love” have been made by several artists across different genres. However, many of the best ones we’ve seen keep the song true to its R&B roots. There are a multitude of gifted vocalists around the world, and some truly blessed singers have covered this track. Here’s a list of some of the best covers of “Real Love” that exist.

Ciana Pelekai

Singer and YouTuber Ciana Pelekai uploaded her cover of “Real Love” to YouTube on May 21, 2020. It is a really simple video and shows Pelekai performing the song karaoke-style from the comfort of her home. However, a good vocalist is recognizable with or without big production, and Pelekai delivers a great performance. She infuses just the right amount of emotion into her singing and effortlessly glides through the entire song. Many other covers are available on her channel, but the “Real Love” video is a must-watch. 

Coco Jones

In celebration of Black Music Month 2023, REVOLT and Xfinity invited Coco Jones to perform “Real Love” on an episode of The Link Up. The episode was uploaded to REVOLT’s YouTube channel on June 19, and they describe Jones’s cover as a “modern twist” of the classic. Admittedly so, considering the interesting choices that are made with the performance. It features an ensemble of musicians playing several instruments, ranging from a cello to a vocoder. Everything is held together by Coco Jones, whose voice glides through it all like butter.

Alicia Keys

It’s no coincidence that Alicia Keys is on this list. Despite the drama concerning her performance at the Super Bowl, Keys is a great vocalist, and that’s a fact. During a One Night Only event in 2011, the singer performed Blige’s classic. Although she only briefly covers “Real Love,” Alicia Keys’s performance of the song leaves a lasting impression. While many would argue that nobody else can sing it quite like Mary J. Blige, Keys’ voice is also a really good fit. Her cover, only accompanied by a piano which she plays, is simple but profound. 

Dia Malai

For her blind audition at NBC’s The Voice in October 2022, Dia Malai performed this smash hit. Despite the nerves, she undoubtedly feels Malai covers “Real Love” like a pro. Merely seconds after she started singing, she received a turn from John Legend, and rightly so. While the rest of the performance went by without any more turns, the singer undoubtedly brought the heat on stage. Her vocals and stage presence were right on point.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson is the queen of covers, and she absolutely devoured “Real Love” when she performed it on her show. In the middle of every episode of the Kelly Clarkson Show, the singer covers a song that is a hit every single time. Fans now lovingly refer to this segment of the show as “Kellyoke.” Without a doubt, it is one of the highlights of the entire. Time after time, it showcases what an incredible singer Clarkson is. She has a reputation for eating up every song she sings, and she certainly left no crumbs on “Real Love.”


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