The Story Behind Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’

Destiny’s Child’s 1999 single “Say My Name” is arguably the group’s most notable song and favorite among fans. The accompanying music video also marked a new phase for the group as it debuted the group’s first lineup change. In a new interview, producer Rodney Jerkins gives insight into creating the legendary song. 

Destiny's Child
Destiny’s Child 1999 | Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Rodney Jerkins on producing Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name,’ disses the original beat for the song

Jerkins worked on a number of songs for Destiny’s Child’s sophomore album The Writings On The Wall – one of which is their 1999 single “Say My Name.” Prior to working with the group, Jerkins tells Vlad TV in a new interview that he was working with another huge girl group, The Spice Girls.

“I was in London…they [The Spice Girls] took me to a club and the DJ was playing this really fast style of music,” Jerkins begins. “It’s called two-step, garage two-step music, and I was actually blown away by it – I’m like, ‘Man what is this sound? I’m bringing that back to the U.S.’”

Source: YouTube

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Jerkins says the two-step garage music became his inspiration for his sessions with Destiny’s Child. He originally used the uptempo beat derived from what he heard in London for “Say My Name” but the group did not like it.

“The girls hated it actually,” Jerkins explained. “They recorded the song but they didn’t like the beat. No one liked the beat – the label, management Matthew Knowles at the time hated it and I was like, ‘Trust me, it’s going to be the new wave’ as I’m trying to convince them and myself that it’s dope.”

Jerkins replayed the song while mixing the final edit and he too realized the beat did not go well with the song. He calls the original beat “wack.” He redid the beat and it’s what fans know today.

‘Say My Name’ is one of Destiny’s Child’s biggest hits

It’s a good thing that Jerkins listened to Destiny’s Child’s complaints about the original beat as the version that was released went on to become the group’s signature song. It’s also one of their most successful singles. 

“Say My Name” was released as the group’s third single from The Writings On The Wall in November 1999. It took 12 weeks to reach the number one spot on the Billboard charts but spent 32 weeks on the Hot 100.

The single performed well internationally also, topping the charts in the U.K. and becoming the group’s first number-one single in Asia.

Source: YouTube

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The song won two Grammy awards, which was a first for both Destiny’s Child and Jerkins. Jerkins says “Say My Name” is his favorite song he’s produced in his career because of the journey behind it.

In addition to Grammy awards, “Say My Name” also earned Destiny’s Child and MTV Video Music Award, and a Soul Train Award among others. Billboard lists the song at the number seven spot on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time – as well as naming the song the best song of 2000.