Beyoncé has looked up to Michael Jackson for years. Today, she’s a widely respected performer in her own right, and according to producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins — who’s worked with both artists — Beyoncé is more like Jackson than she may realize.
Beyoncé has looked up to Michael Jackson for years
Jerkins stopped by the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast in July 2022 and reflected on his years working with Beyoncé. He produced her smash single “Déjà Vu,” regarded by many to be her best song, and looked back on the time fondly.
“As we were riding to 7-11, I told [bassist] Jon-Jon [Webb], ‘Man, what if we gave Beyoncé some Michael Jackson-type stuff?’ I worked with Michael and I’m a big fan, but Beyoncé was probably the only female artist that was challenging herself in a way that Michael would, and that could really entertain in that way,” he said.
Beyoncé has the ‘same type of intensity’ while recording as Michael Jackson
Beyoncé’s talents as an entertainer aren’t the only thing that connect her to Jackson. Like the King of Pop, Beyoncé is also a perfectionist in the studio, and will do multiple takes even if she’s told she sounds good.
“She just goes at it with such intensity. I’m telling you, when I work with her, it reminds me so much of working with Michael. She has that same type of intensity in the booth,” he said. “And the thing about her too, is she pushes herself. You can push her and she wants to be pushed, but she pushes herself too, because there’s moments where she’ll do something and it’s flawless and everybody in the room knows it’s flawless. And she’ll say, ‘Let me get that again.’ And you kind of look at her like ‘B, you nailed it.’ And she says, ‘I can get it better.'”
“It’s a 10, and she’ll keep going. It could be a little bit something extra, maybe just a little rasp or something in it,” he said. “Next thing you know, it turns into, like, a 13, just that quick. You’re just like, whoa, she nailed it — and she did exactly what she said she was gonna do.”
Beyoncé released her ‘Renaissance’ album in 2022
Nearly two decades after “Déjà Vu,” Beyoncé continues to push herself in the studio, and have fun doing it. She released her album Renaissance in 2022, and shared on Instagram about how liberating of a process it was to record the project.
“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving,” she said. “My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”