Beyoncé loved country music as a baby, dad reveals

Connie Queline

Beyoncé loved country music as a baby, dad reveals

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In case you’ve been living under a rock, Beyoncé is releasing country music and it’s already topping charts.

Her new hit Texas Hold ‘Em is the first song by a black woman to debut at top spot on the Billboard country chart.

The pivot from R&B and pop may have come as a surprise to some but her dad thinks it’s always been in her blood.

Dr Matthew Knowles tells BBC Asian Network that as a child Beyoncé would spend time with his parents in Alabama who loved country music.

“When Beyoncé was a little baby, and I’m talking two-three years old, she would go down and spend the summer with my parents,” Dr Knowles says.

“And her grandfather – my father – loved country music, and he used to sing to her. At an early age, she heard this music.

“And when you’re two, three years old, subconsciously music stays in your head,” he says.

Dr Knowles, who until 2011 managed his daughter, says he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Beyoncé’s childhood memories played a role in her new direction.

The record executive has also previously managed Beyoncé’s sister Solange and her group Destiny’s Child.

He says Beyoncé now has the chance to bring a “totally new audience” to the country genre.

Dr Matthew Knowles pictured with Beyoncé at the Dream Girls in 2007. Dr Knowles, a black man in his 70s, has short black hair, brown eyes and a moustache. He wears a black and white dog-tooth blazer over a black top. Beyoncé is a black woman who in this picture would have been in her mid 20s. She has long honey-coloured hair and smiles at the camera. A crowd of people are pictured behind the pair

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Beyoncé announced her new album, the second part to her Renaissance project, during the Super Bowl last week with two tracks released immediately.

The second track, 16 Carriages, entered the Billboard country charts at number nine and it’s anticipated that the full album – due to be released next month – will be country too.

While a full country album will be a first for the Texas-born singer, Dr Knowles points out it’s not her first time at the rodeo.

“On a previous album [Lemonade, 2016], there’s a country song Daddy Lessons,” he says.

While the song was put forward for the country category at the Grammys, it was rejected by the Recording Academy.

Music critics say the genre has an issue with representation, particularly for black and female artists, and a US country station last week had to reverse a decision not to play Texas Hold ‘Em.

But Dr Knowles believes Beyoncé’s new direction could change this and introduce a whole new fan base to country music.

“The country music industry should really look at that as a plus not a minus, that she’s bringing a completely new audience.”

Anna Prasek, known as anMari. Anna is a 22-year-old white woman and stands sideways, her long brown hair worn loose down her back. She has her eyes closed and her head tilted up. She is pictured outside against a blue sky wearing a black dress covered in a red floral pattern.

Wisniewska.fotografia

The businessman and lecturer says diversity in the music industry is heading “in the right direction” but there’s still room for improvement.

It’s why he’s launched a scholarship at London College of Contemporary Music in his name for rising stars.

The first musician to be awarded the bursary, worth £10,500, is Polish composer, singer and pianist Anna Prasek, known as anMari.

“I feel very honoured and grateful,” she tells BBC Asian Network.

“It gave me big hope to keep working hard to keep pushing my boundaries and thinking outside of the box, trying something new.”

And it’s trying out something fresh which Dr Knowles says caught his attention.

“In this world of music, we look for what’s different,” he says.

“We don’t need another Beyoncé, we have one. We don’t need another Taylor Swift, we have one. But we do need a new anMari.”

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And his advice for the next generation of artists is no different to the advice he gave Beyoncé and Solange, he says.

“The advice I gave my kids is that if this is your passion, then I’ll surround you with the tools.

“You have to be disciplined, patient, but you have to have the passion and the work ethic.

“Those two things are critically important,” he says.

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Related Topics

  • Country music
  • London
  • Alabama
  • Beyoncé
  • United States
  • Music

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