It took a lot of hands to squeeze out a powerhouse album like Beyonce‘s Lemonade. The credits on the pop star’s sixth album, which dropped over the weekend via streaming service Tidal and in a docu-style HBO special, show that there were 72 writers involved. The third track “Hold Up” involved 15 writers alone, including indie rocker Josh Tillman. As Tillman, who performs under the moniker Father John Misty, tells it, it’s a wonder he made it on the album.
“I went crazy,” Tillman said in a statement, “[I] recorded a verse, melody and refrain that, unbelievably – when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo – ended up making the record.”
The singer was brought on board when music producer Emile Haynie (Brian Wilson, Lana Del Rey) played Beyonce some of Tillman’s music over a year ago. When Tillman got the demo for “Hold Up,” he had no idea how much of his work would be used. “I was mostly kind of in the dark,” he said. Tillman said he didn’t know he was getting a writing credit until Queen Bey told him in person that his refrain and verse made the final cut after his 2015 Coachella set.
Tillman offered a more humorous version of the story via Twitter Monday in a string of tweets about playing airhorn. “I make ends meet taking the occasional session playing airhorn … I’m something of a dilettante when it comes to airhorn, and I require quite a bit of guidance to nail the take.”
TBH I’m something of a dilettante when it comes to airhorn, and I required quite a bit of guidance (and extensive comping) to nail the take
Other collaborators on “Hold Up” include Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig, hip-hop producer Diplo and a writing credit to punk band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the titular line: “Hold up/ They don’t love you like I love you,” which references the YYY’s 2003 somber rocker “Maps.”