Beyonce’s Renaissance: Cuff It, The Groove of Virgo Explained by Nova Wav

Two years ago, songwriting and production duo Nova Wav first chatted with Beyoncé about her seventh full-length album: “Renaissance” about pizza.

Friday’s release of 16 tracks is packed with infectious, danceable tracks, and Nova Wav, consisting of Brittany “Chi” Coney and Denisia “Blu June” Andrews, is proud to be part of eight of them. song. The duo, who has produced and written for Jay-Z, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Kehlani, DJ Khaled, HER, Jazmine Sullivan and more, first met Beyoncé in 2014 . In 2020, they went gold for Beyoncé’s single “Black Parade,” which went on to win a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. So when they got the call for a “revival” in the midst of a pandemic, The duo is ready to dive in.

“She wants people to feel like they’re fleeing,” Jean told type Beyonce’s take on the album. “We’re outside again, and even though the world’s climate is still unstable, she’s giving us something to dance to and make us feel good.”

Below, Nova Wav breaks down several songs from “Renaissance” — including “Cuff It” and “Summer Renaissance,” written after a trip to the strip club — gushing about Beyoncé and sharing what the album has to offer them What it means to be a woman in a male-dominated field.

Before we dive into the songs, please tell me how Nova Wav came to be.

Chi: In 2009, someone approached me on Facebook, a rapper, and he said, “Yo, I heard your beats on MySpace, can you send me some?”  …I was like, “Okay, cool. I’ll send it to you.” He was like, “I got this girl to come over and do the hook,” and then when he sent it, I was like, “Oh my god, who is that? ?” [Blu June’s] The sound is absolutely incredible, out of this world. So we worked for about a year, and I was like, “Yo, if you move to Atlanta with me, we’re going to be huge.”

blue june: I ended up moving to Atlanta with her in 2011. Quit her job, left everything behind, and moved into her and her mom’s home. 2012 was when we got our first position, so we kept working.

Let’s start with “Cuff It” that you co-authored and produced. The song has an insane lineup of writers, including Nile Rodgers and Raphael Saadiq, and features Sheila E. on drums. How did it come together?

blue june: We did some meetings in Atlanta and a couple of people came out to make this album. I just remember having a creative block for two days in a row, like I didn’t do anything, so we all went to strip clubs. We came back from the strip club, about 2, 3 in the morning, and Chi said to me, “Yo, I’ve got this beat that I’ve been working on.” I didn’t listen to the beat because sometimes she was thinking on her own. She played the beat and I was like, “Wow.” I was almost intimidated, I almost didn’t want to do it, but I was like, “Okay, keep the beat going, and I’ll see if I can come up with some ideas.” Literally, we just started an idea, it was a rough idea, we sent it to B and she went crazy about it.

Chi: Make it our own, give it to her, let her take it to the next level and bring in other collaborators, it’s been amazing to see the process from the greatest.

I love that you go to strip clubs to overcome writer’s block.

blue june: Too important. We actually did that, we did “Summer Revival,” we did “Energy.”

Chi: We made a couple the night after the strip club. We are deeply inspired.

Twitter is freaking out about the “Virgo groove.” How did you contribute to the writing process of that book?

Chi: “Virgo’s Groove” is a vibe I haven’t heard in a long time. It’s just a different type of pocket and it really takes me to a different era. We just came in and did what we were supposed to do and put our sauce on top. The way we talked, we were kind of considered girls with smooth mouths, so we went in.

blue june: Let’s say that!

Chi: I think that’s one of the main reasons why B likes to work with us, is that we can do a younger voice, but we can also make it sound mature and cater to married women with kids who have developed their careers . I love that she’s calling us for records like this, because we can be who we are, but also be sexual and yet be powerful at the same time.

blue june: When we sat down at her house and she played for the first time – how different it is now from what she does – she was incredible.

What was your first reaction when you heard the finished album?

Chi: I was like, “Yo, she’s going to have summer.” People would dance. It just makes me proud of her because she keeps doing things no one else does and she’s so fearless, you know? With her experience, I feel like a lot of people are stuck trying to do what is popular. But she has struggled to do unpopular things, and after more than 25 years in the industry, she is constantly leading the way. This is a very difficult thing. She’s an icon, she’s a legend, she’s a queen.

Let’s talk about “Move” you co-wrote. What was it like to have your name on a song with Grace Jones?

blue june: A dream come true. It’s just like, This Grace Jones. Just witness her greatness – you can never really plan for a moment like this, so when it happens, it feels like a big surprise. You feel like a fan again, we’re just super humble.

Chi: On my 2021 vision board, with Grace Jones on it, it says “Icon”. So being able to cross out something with our vision board is also awesome.

“Pure/Honey” is a lot of fun and samples legends Kevin Aviance and Moi Renee. What was it like to make and write that, and how did you get those samples?

Chi: “Honey” was the last song we did. We tried to sit down with B and find out some of her energy and where her headspace was, but she was in and out of town. But we were actually able to create the idea in her studio, so that gave us energy.

blue june: We wanted something that felt modern, but also gave you that retro, retro, disco feel. I remember playing some chords on the keyboard…it felt cool, it felt funky.

Chi: She likes it very much. I remember talking to Dream in the studio about a week later, and I was like, “Who found a sample of ‘Miss Honey’? Is that you?” He was like “No, that’s B.” The song was “Honey “, the sample is “Honey”; it’s in the same key. Its synchronicity is insane.

“Summer Renaissance” samples Donna Summer’s iconic song “I Feel Love.” What did that song inspire you?

blue june: That’s another work we produced and co-wrote. Donna Summer has inspired her a lot, so we really wanted to give her that inspiration. Even Donna Summer was a disco pioneer — some people don’t know the story behind it, so we wanted to get people dancing while also giving them a little history and saying, “Hey, look, we have roots.” As two people of color Women of the race, being able to bring it to the forefront is something we really want to do.

Chi: It was a very magical moment in the studio. We did do research on disco. We literally sat down and googled “disco” – how did it start? Literally, it started with Donna Summer’s “I Feel Loved.” So we did research on synths and delays. So good we couldn’t get around it, we had to sample it. But we also said, “Yo, remember when she said she never had a house song?” So we just mixed disco with the house.

What was your favorite memory during the recording session?

Chi: Our favorite thing is sitting with her outside of music and outside of work, just seeing her as a person and sitting with her like a friend. Kick it, eat pizza; talk about we shouldn’t eat pizza. But only she is a true life lover and true sincerity. People thought she was the unreachable kind of person, she was really just a normal person who wanted to be great, and she genuinely wanted to love everyone.

blue june: I remember we went to her house in 2020, like during the pandemic, I’ve been working out and lost 40 pounds. As soon as I walked in, as soon as she saw me, she said, “Oh my God, you’ve been snatched!” I started laughing, and she said, “No, I’m serious, you look good.” This It’s been bugging me and giving me confidence in writing these songs. I feel good about myself and I am satisfied with my life. Moments like these, very human moments, that you can share with a great artist like Beyoncé — it means a lot to you. I’m pretty sure she’ll always get compliments, but giving compliments to others means a lot to me.

Chi: Even when we first met her, she reached out to shake our hand and she said, “Hi, I’m Beyoncé” as if we didn’t know she was Beyoncé. She is so pure.

What does it mean to you to be so invested in this album in the male-dominated world of songwriting and production?

blue june: Honestly, it’s a dream come true, but it’s something we know we’re going to accomplish. Because number one, we have each other. So we all know how talented we are and nothing really stops us as long as it’s put together. But it’s been a long and hard struggle, especially when it comes to production. So three songs were made on this album, and there were two additional production credits, so there were five total on the album — something that had never been done before.

Chi: Especially with the two hits right now, “Cuff It” and “Summer Renaissance,” it’s incredible for the writing that’s become and started with us. We are very excited.

Can you talk about the next two acts of this project?

Chi: Here it comes.

Blue June: This is good.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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