20 Creatives You Don’t Know Who Worked on ‘Beyonce’

By Steven J. Horowitz, Kristen Yoonsoo Kim and Lee Mills • December 13, 2013

Queen Bey unexpectedly released her fifth album, enlisting help from heavy hitters including Pharrell, Timbaland and Drake. But peep the liner notes and there’s a litany of names you might not know. We break them down for you. Get familiar

Beyoncé has never played by the rules, and the release of her new album straight disrespected them. As Thursday evening crept into Friday morning (December 13), burners of the midnight oil were treated to the unexpected: Mrs. Carter not only dropped her self-titled fifth LP out of the sky, but she also included a video for all 14 songs on the record. It’s available on iTunes exclusively until December 21, when it gets a physical release. It’s a stunt she’s pulled before—just check her B’Day video anthology DVD, sold at Wal-Mart—but never one this sudden, without a hint that she would drop a full body of work. Not even her husband Jay Z dared to cold-release his 12th studio album Magna Carta… Holy Grail, which he announced two weeks prior to its hitting Samsung users’ devices.

It was rumored that Bey was cooking up a new project since 2012, though no official word was given. Some surmised that the release of “Grown Woman” and its fizzled impact delayed the LP, and headlines blared earlier this year that she’d scrapped her album entirely and started over. Then, in October, Columbia Chairman Rob Stringer hinted that there would be “one or two records” that would come late in the fourth quarter. Maybe Beyoncé would unleash a single—or a video, if the listening public was lucky—before the ball dropped.

And just like that, Beyoncé’s back. Peep the liner notes and you’ll see a litany of familiar names like Hov, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Sia, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean and even her daughter Blue Ivy Carter. But dig a little deeper and you’ll realize that she tapped into some unmined talent to assist in writing, directing and producing for the LP. Get familiar with 20 creatives who helped bring Beyoncé to life.


Contribution: Producer, Writer, “Pretty Hurts”

Coleman, who goes by “Ammo,” is an exclusive producer and songwriter for Dr. Luke’s company, Prescription Songs. He’s best known for his work with Ke$ha, having co-produced and co-written some of her big hits (“Your Love Is My Drug”), but his CV doesn’t stop there. Ammo’s production skills can be heard on records from Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Pitbull and many more. He got his start with Jordin Sparks“Watch You Go.”


Contribution: Producer, Writer, “Ghost/Haunted,” “Heaven,” “Blue”; Writer, “Jealous”

Official // Twitter

The paper trail leading to the mysterious Boots is thin, and one of the only paths is his Facebook page. The Roc Nation songwriter, who announced his signing to Roc Nation in 2013, had a number of songs up on his Soundcloud page, a few of which served as demos and solo versions for tracks that ended up on Beyoncé. He took down all of the song except for one: “Haunted,” which can be streamed here. He wrote on his FB page last night, shortly after the album was released. “Hi, I've been working on this for most of the past year. I've produced 85% of it and have four original songs on the album. Enjoy.”


Contribution: Director, “Ghost”

Myspace // Official

The 29-year-old Belgian photographer, videographer and art director has lent his lens to several editorial spreads, from Vogue Homme to Dazed & Confused. His fashionable portfolio has also landed him directing gigs for Hugo Boss, Fred Perry and more.


Contribution: Writer, Co-Producer, “Flawless”

Official // Twitter

Though this Hollywood-based producer is a relative newcomer to the game, he’s quickly established himself as one of hip-hop’s most auspicious studio talents. Behind the scenes, he’s worked on singles such as Casey Veggies’ “Sacrifice” and Lil Wayne’s “Space Jam” and the Hit-Boy remix of will.i.am’s “Scream & Shout.”


Contribution: Vocals, “Flawless”


Born in Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (36) is an Igbo writer who’s published an array of critically acclaimed novels, short stories, poems and plays. As a leading figure in contemporary African literature, she’s received several awards (Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Orange Prize for Fiction, BBC Short Story Awards) as well as a spot on The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction list. She received her master’s in creative writing at Johns Hopkins, a master’s in African studies at Yale and fellowships from Princeton and Harvard.


Contribution: Writer, “Grown Woman”

Official // Twitter

A member of the Roc Nation family in addition to Dr. Luke’s Prescription Songs, songwriter and recording engineer Kelly Sheehan (who also goes by “Madame Buttons”) is a studio double threat. As a writer, she’s helped pen hits for a range of artists including Nicki Minaj, Rita Ora, Cher and DJ Khaled, while her technical credits include Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg. Though she’s cut her teeth with a mixer and pen and paper, Sheehan can sing, too; she provided vocals on the Nicki Minaj single “Masquerade” in 2012.


Contribution: Writer, “Drunk in Love”

Little is known about Andre Eric Proctor, but his name has appeared in the credits for a few recent tracks including Drake’s “Own It” and Wale’s “Sunshine.”


Contribution: Director, “Angel”

Official // Twitter

A creative director for Karmaloop TV, Lil Internet’s projects range from an all-DMX acapella mix to vocals on Panteros666’s electro anthem “Orbit.” As a director, his reel includes music videos like Diplo’s “Express Yourself,” Robyn’s “Dancehall Queen” and the Dillon Francis and Diplo collab “Que Que.��� Earlier this summer, his project I Through Proxy, a collage of self-documented YouTube clips focused on depression and isolation, exhibited at Boston’s Thomas Young Studio.


Contribution: Director, “Jealous,” “Heaven”

The L.A.-based art director, designer and illustrator started his own studio, The Glyph Set, in 2010, and has given art consultation for both stars (Lady Gaga) and brands (Polaroid). Before that, he attended Art Center College of Design and has worked as an art director at Warner Bros. and creative director at Flaunt magazine.


Contribution: Writer, “Mine”

Little is known about this songwriter, with “Mine” being his or her second official album credit. Seeing as the first is Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” it’s likely that Drizzy had a had in bringing Ullman’s name to the attention of Queen B.


Contribution: Writer, “Drunk in Love,” “Jealous”

The producer/composer has written for a handful of hip-hop’s hot shots, like Nelly, Future and, most notably, Lil Wayne for “No Worries.”


Contribution: Writer, “Grown Woman”

Aside from having an amazingly appropriate last name, Godbey is an audio engineer whose love for synthesizers got his start in the business. Even just in 2013, he has mixed, produced and engineered some of the biggest records of the year: Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Jay Z’s Magna Carta... Holy Grail.


Contribution: Writer, “Drunk in Love,” “Jealous”

Official // Twitter

Better known by his professional moniker Detail, Noel Fisher is a songwriter, producer and rapper from Detroit, Michigan. Since producing the majority of Ray J’s 2005 album Raydation, Fisher has become one of the most sought after producers in pop and hip-hop, with a catalog that includes Drake, Lil Wayne and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. As a prominent member of the Young Money and Cash Money Family, he produced, wrote and rapped on the 2013 compilation album Rich Gang.


Contribution: Director, “Blue”

The cinematographer has worked on four short films in the past five years: Hold On!, The Lunchbox, A Cowboy Never Dies and A Green Death. He is now the in-house director/filmmaker for Beyoncé and served as producer and additional cinematographer for her Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream documentary, released earlier this year.


Contribution: Writer, “Drunk in Love,” “Jealous”

Soko is a songwriter who’s worked on the Young Money/Cash Money compilation album, Rich Gang, which boasts features from Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes and other members of the family.


Contribution: Director, “Yoncé”


The San Francisco-born, New York-based artist is multi-talented. He’s the Co-Head Designer at the streetwear line Supreme, a consultant for Kanye West and his creative team DONDA, and a filmmaker on top of it all. He’s directed both commercial spots and music videos—for Hanni El Khatib, and now Beyoncé.


Contribution: Producer, Writer, “Angel”

Myspace // Official // Twitter

As frontwoman of Brooklyn indie band Chairlift, Polacheck sings, writes and plays the synths/tambourine. In 2008, her band released its debut, Does You Inspire You (Kanine), which birthed their hit song, “Bruises” (featured in an iPod Nano commercial). The band’s latest album is the sophomore follow-up, Something (Columbia/Young Turks, 2012). When she’s not working on Chairlift, Polacheck dabbles in her solo side project, plays in her all-girl cover supergroup, Girl Crisis, and lends vocals to bands like Washed Out, Holy Ghost! and Acrylics.


Contribution: Writer, “Grown Woman”


Mosley, who goes by his stage name Sebastian, is a rapper/songwriter and the younger brother of Timbaland, who was a big influence on his music career. Sebastian has contributed to many of his brother’s songs, his first being “We at It Again” (featured on the Romeo Must Die soundtrack). He’s currently signed to Timbaland’s Mosley Music Group, and in addition to working with Timbo throughout his career, Sebastian is currently prepping his debut album Cruel Intentions, led by the already released single “Wobbley.”


Contribution: Director, “Jealous”

Myspace // Official // Twitter

This 31-year-old visual artist has been groomed to direct music videos since birth. Son of Italian Vogue EIC Franca Sozzani, he studied film at University of California in Los Angeles, Calif., later returning to New York to set off a white-hot career as a photographer in 2006. Since then, he’s shot for Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, extending his talents to film for his short film 1937 and commercials for Tommy Hilfiger and Ray Ban. He only recently entered the music video game, sitting in the director’s chair for A$AP Rocky’s “Phoenix” and BANKS“Waiting Game.”


Contribution: Writer, “Drunk in Love,” “Blow,” “Yoncé/Partition”; Co-Producer, Writer, “Rocket,” “Grown Woman”

Myspace // Official // Twitter

One of Timbaland’s secret weapons, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon has crept into the liner notes of some of the past few years’ biggest releases. Initially serving as a session player for albums by Kirk Franklin, the Fort Worth, Texas native started working closely with Tim in 2007, heavily contributing to Ashlee Simpson’s 2008 album Bittersweet World and Chris Cornell’s Scream, released the following year. Since then, J-Roc has produced and written on songs for Justin Timberlake (The Complete 20/20 Experience), Jay Z (Magna Carta... Holy Grail) and Timbaland (Shock Value II).


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  1. Jonathan.Lomond.Legans
    Jonathan Lomond Legans Beyonce keep up with the good work and may God bless you! You are looking good as ever!
  2. olivaresjennifer
    JeN wow unbelievable, but still amazing
  3. riazahmad.baboojee.3
  4. steknik1
  5. 288944472
    Lisa Smith Great just awesome and yes Beyoncé looks great, she is very beautiful!
  6. Brunettadeisogni19
  7. aasi.siddique

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