Heard the story of how Beyonce saved R&B?
Meet us below for a TGJ exclusive…
The year is 2011 and Dance music is ruling the waves.
Keen to retain their grip on the charts and commercial relevance, a group of Hip-Hop and R&B staples stepped away from their genres to join a wave fronted by the likes of David Guetta, Taio Cruz and Pitbull.
Unbeknownst to the general public, their departure caused a crisis in R&B.
For, with labels keen to cash in on club-ready trends, demand for R&B smash hits (and the writers behind them) reached an all-time low as radio prioritised their four-on-the-floor counterparts.
As a result?
A new generation of writers (the class who was supposed to take over from The Dream, Rico Love, Ester Dean and Keri Hilson) faced with a library of unclaimed hits and murmurs that catalogues crafted by black creatives were not worth any more than $30,000.
A slim figure to say the least.
Stepping up to save them?
Here’s what went down.
If these writers’ fortunes were to improve, the industry would have to believe that there was a demand for their art.
So, after listening to a number of incomplete demos, the singer/songwriter (then riding high on the critical success of 2011’s ‘4‘) put the word out that she was interested in recording/completing tracks penned by a number of black writers who were in their early 20s at the time.
One of these tracks was ‘I Choose You’…eventually recorded and released by Keyshia Cole.
When Beyonce speaks, the business listens.
So, with her co-sign in their arsenal, the once undervalued scribes could now command and demand the attention of the publishers and A&Rs who were now very interested in their tunes.
After all, if they were good enough for Beyonce….
By the time her self-titled surprise set was released in 2013, the lyricists she championed behind the scenes had become market leaders blessed with life-changing publishing deals approved by execs who used the star’s endorsement to justify their investments.
Beyoncé won’t stop until she makes sure every single black creative realizes they’re a gift.
— lighter flick in Frontline by Kelela (@GRNTUB) April 17, 2019