“With artificial intelligence, digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments”: Beyoncé on her new album Cowboy Carter

“I didn’t want layers of instruments perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw.”

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Image: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Beyoncé has revealed a desire to “go back to real instruments” in a discussion about the making of her latest album Cowboy Carter.

The superstar’s long-awaited 27-track project was released on 29 March, and it’s already shattering records on streaming platforms, with Spotify announcing it as their “most-streamed album in a single day in 2024 so far.”

Referring to Cowboy Carter — which spent 5 years in the making — as “the best music I’ve ever made”, Queen Bey said in a press release that “It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it.”

“I was initially going to put Cowboy Carter out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

Delving into her artistic process and some of the nuts and bolts of the album’s production, Beyoncé explained: “The joy of creating music is that there are no rules. The more I see the world evolving the more I felt a deeper connection to purity.”

“With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones.”

“I didn’t want some layers of instruments like strings, especially guitars, and organs perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw and leaned into folk.”

According to Beyoncé, there was a concerted effort to infuse her music with elements from the natural world: “All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature,” she said.

The singer’s comment on the growing presence of artificial intelligence in music is the latest in a string of voices — both in and out of the industry — who have expressed at the minimum some degree of scepticism toward the explosion of AI-generated music.

Rick Beato, for one, has voiced his concerns about the technology and its impact on artists in the future, saying: “There will be things that people like, that are created by AI, and there will be people 20 years from now, [saying], ‘Oh, I much prefer AI Rolling Stones than [the original] Rolling Stones. That’s just gonna be a thing.”


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