Beyoncé’s ‘Pretty Hurts’ Was Co-Written by This Major Pop Star

Beyoncé made “Pretty Hurts” famous, however, she was not the only writer of the song. In fact, one of the writers of the song was another major pop star. Here’s a look at what that pop star said about what it’s like to write for Beyoncé.

Beyoncé wearing a necklace
Beyoncé | BET Awards 2020/Getty Images via Getty Images

A major pop star wrote ‘Pretty Hurts’ by Beyoncé at a ‘writing camp’

In 2013, Beyoncé released her self-titled album. The sonically eclectic album features a number of feminist songs, including the body positive anthem “Pretty Hurts.” “Pretty Hurts” is an emotive ballad with powerhouse vocals and electronic instrumentation. Musically, it’s not very different from the power ballads Sia released in the mid-2010s like “Chandelier,” “Bird Set Free,” or “Fire Meet Gasoline.” In fact, Sia co-wrote “Pretty Hurts.”

During an interview with Rolling Stone, Sia discussed how she wrote tracks for Beyoncé’s self-titled album. “I got ‘Pretty Hurts’ from that album, but originally I wrote 25 songs for it while we were in the Hamptons and one made the record. Isn’t that amazing?”

“Cheap Thrills”

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Later in the interview, Sia described what it is like to write songs for Beyoncé. “The process is like a writing camp, essentially,” Sia recalled. “She flies us all in and puts us all up. We all live in a house together — like five producers and five topline writers. She visits each room and will contribute and let us know what she’s feeling and what she’s not feeling. Lyrically, melodically, anything. She’s very Frankenstein when she comes to songs. She’ll say, ‘I like the verse from that. I like the pre-chorus from that. Can you try mixing it with that?’”

This Sia album includes a song meant for Beyoncé

Ultimately, Beyoncé did not record all of the tracks Sia composed for her self-titled album. Sia revealed what happened to these songs after Queen B rejected them. “In the end, she had maybe 25 songs of mine on hold, and I was very excited to get a couple of them back,” Sia said. “Definitely one is on the album.” The album in question is Sia’s This Is Acting, which includes Sia’s recordings of rejected songs she composed for other artists like Rihanna, Shakira, Adele, and Queen B. Sia did not specify which of the songs from This Is Acting was written with Beyoncé in mind.

“Pretty Hurts”

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How the world reacted to ‘Pretty Hurts’

Although “Pretty Hurts” features the efforts of two major pop stars, it wasn’t much of a hit. The track only reached No. 13 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100, which is the equivalent of reaching No. 113 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album fared a lot better, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200. “Pretty Hurts” is a collaboration between two of the biggest pop stars of our time, however, it didn’t have much commercial success.