Beyonce Runs Her World

Aug 1, 2011 1:43 PM, By Blair Jackson

INSIDE THE RECORDING OF '4'

Polls


Mix Regional

The Mix Regional section for Mix's July 2014 issue focuses on Atlanta. Send us your studio news: updates, sessions, new rooms, club performances and installations. Let the Mix audience know what is going on! Send photos and descriptions to mixeditorial@nbmedia.com.

It only seems as though Beyonce has been a superstar forever. Since her days fronting the hit machine known as Destiny’s Child in the late ’90s, she has conquered the world with her four solo albums—selling 75 million records and picking up 16 Grammys along the way—triumphed on a succession of increasingly extravagant tours, been praised for her acting in several major feature films, launched successful fashion and fragrance lines, and become one of the highest-paid commercial spokespeople in the U.S. Her latest album, 4, was an instant smash when it was released in late June while she was on tour in France; two days after it came out, she headlined the Glastonbury Festival in England in front of 170,000 people. She’s beautiful, talented, independent—and driven.

One reason Beyonce has ascended to these lofty heights is that she is a perfectionist with a fierce work ethic. To quote a previous generation’s R&B giant, she works hard for the money. And that includes the many long days and nights she puts into recording her albums. This isn’t some diva who pops into the studio after everything has been tracked, lays down some lead vocals and then splits. Instead, she’s involved with co-writing most of the songs she sings, often has very specific arrangement ideas, and is always deeply invested in the album’s production.

Like so many contemporary R&B albums, 4 is loaded with songs by multiple writers and producers, many of them high-wattage hit-makers, including The-Dream, Babyface, Kanye West, Switch, Tricky Stewart, Jeff Bhasker, Shea Taylor, Symbolyc One (S1) and others.

“The majority of the album, we would bring writers in and B [Beyonce] and I would be in one room, and then we’d have one or two writers in one or two other rooms working on things,” says Jordan “DJ Swivel” Young, who was the principal engineer throughout the project, which stretched out over a year. “I think there was a period of about three months where we had three rooms going at MSR [Manhattan Sound Recording]. But at every studio, we’d usually have two rooms going. We’d bring different writers in for a week or whatever. Dream would come in, Jeff Bhasker came in, and they would write and they might already have some tracks together, or Shea Taylor would come up with tracks, and when they were done with the records they would play them for B and she would add ideas of her own, mold the lyrics to fit her and then we’d start cutting them.






Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95

Newsletters

MixLine

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.