Beyoncé once again stunned the internet with the release of her eighth studio album “Cowboy Carter.” However, she revealed via Variety that she initially had different plans for the 27-track project.

The singer explained,

“This album took over five years. It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put ‘Cowboy Carter’ out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

Beyoncé, known for her infrequent public appearances, shared that every track on “Carter” draws inspiration from a distinct Western movie. She disclosed that she frequently had these films playing in the background during the recording sessions. Specifically, she cited “Five Fingers For Marseilles,” “Urban Cowboy,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Space Cowboys,” “The Harder They Fall,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” as the primary sources of inspiration for the album. Additionally, she revealed that certain elements of percussion in the album were influenced by the soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
“My process is that I typically have to experiment,” says Beyoncé. “I enjoy being open to have the freedom to get all aspects of things I love out and so I worked on many songs. I recorded probably 100 songs. Once that is done, I am able to put the puzzle together and realize the consistencies and the common themes, and then create a solid body of work.”

For her album, paying tribute to country, blues, and Black folk, Beyoncé aimed to incorporate “authentic instrumentation,” including the accordion, washboard, and pedal steel guitar. Notably, she emphasized her use of nails for percussion, drawing inspiration from Dolly Parton’s approach during the recording of “9 to 5.” Beyoncé described the resulting sounds as “organic and human,” capturing everyday elements such as the wind, snaps, and even the sounds of birds and chickens, evoking the essence of nature.

Furthermore, she disclosed that the character of Cowboy Carter was influenced by the “original Black cowboys of the American West.” Highlighting the historical context, she remarked that the term “cowboy” was historically used to diminish former slaves as “boys.” By crafting Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé aimed to subvert this derogatory association and instead underscore “the strength and resiliency of these men who were the true definition of Western fortitude.”

“Carter,” a project spanning five years in the making, boasts an extensive lineup of collaborators and influences. While credits were not initially disclosed during the album’s release rollout, Beyoncé collaborated with a multitude of musicians throughout the project. Notable contributors include The-Dream, Pharrell Williams, NO ID, Raphael Saadiq, Ryan Tedder, Ryan Beatty, Swizz Beatz, Khirye Tyler, Derek Dixie, Ink, Nova Wav, Mamii, Cam, Tyler Johnson, Dave Hamelin, and her husband Jay-Z.

With the collaboration of numerous musicians to bring her vision to life, Beyoncé expresses that she views “Carter” as her most exceptional work.

“I think people are going to be surprised because I don’t think this music is what everyone expects,” she remarks, “but it’s the best music I’ve ever made.”