Daddy Lessons

Album: Lemonade (2016)
Charted: 40 41
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song finds Beyoncé singing of her father, Matthew Knowles. She recounts how he taught her to be strong and always stand up for herself - making her a "soldier."

    The pair have a complicated relationship. Matthew Knowles had been Beyonce's longtime manager from her early Girls Tyme days through Destiny's Child and her early solo career. However, after firing him as her manager in March 2011, they became estranged. Their split was driven in part by Matthew Knowles' infidelity to Bey's mom. (Knowles fathered at least two children outside of his marriage to Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles-Lawson. The couple divorced in 2011, after 31 years of marriage).
  • At the end of verse two, Beyoncé sings of her daddy dying. Matthew Knowles is in fact very much alive and she's probably referring to her parents' divorce and subsequent estrangement from her father.
  • This is Beyoncé's first foray into country and the only track on Lemonade where she is the sole credited main producer. Beyoncé is a Houston girl where country music is huge and would have grown up surrounded by the sounds of Nashville. It is interesting that she uses the type of music she grew up with to revisit her own father's infidelity.
  • Beyoncé wrote the song with:

    African-American singer- songwriter Wynter Gordon, who also co-wrote and coproduced "Sorry" and has a writing credit on "Don't Hurt Yourself."

    R&B songwriter Kevin Cossom, who has also penned songs for the likes of Keri Hilson ("Knock You Down'"), Rick Ross ("Speedin'") and Rihanna ("Jump").

    Alex Delicata who is best known for co-writing and playing the guitar on Rihanna's "California King Bed."
  • Kevin Cossom told Billboard magazine the song was written back in 2014. "We were in my condo in Miami," he recalled. "Wynter just wanted to do something from scratch. I called over a good friend of mine, Alex Delicata, who is also co-producer and writer. He played the guitar, wrote it and we pretty much pressed record on the laptop and sang it down - harmonies, stomping and clapping, and that was the vibe. We probably did it a few times till we got it right. We knew that we had something."

    "Wynter wanted to take it to Bey," Cossom continued. "She wanted to keep it just as organic, as simple as possible. That situation was an awesome session as far as us being free, open and organic and not being contrived to what we think radio is looking for."
  • Cossom explained the song's lyrical content: "When I did it with Wynter, I just honestly let her vibe out. It was obviously a female record. When it comes to that, I like to listen as far as the perspective of a woman or how they're feeling. I don't want to take the lead as a man so we were going off on how she was vibing and what her feelings were.

    It's pretty much daddy lessons. A girl that grew up tough. Her father was hard on her, didn't want nobody to take advantage of her. Definitely one of those situations. It painted a country picture in our minds. It sounded tough. 'So my daddy said shoot.' You see the whiskey on the table. You see the rifle. It just had that feel to it.

    It didn't take the hip-hop element to make it tough, which I think is very cool especially for Beyoncé. And it goes with her being from Texas. Her vibe to it just makes sense for how it all came together."
  • Wynter Gordon told Entertainment Weekly that she and her co-writers wrote this specifically for Beyoncé. "When I played it for her, I was like, 'This is one of my favorite songs,"' said the songwriter. "She was like, 'This is my life.' I told her, 'You know what, take it, do what you want with it.' She went and re-produced it, she changed some words, added the bridge, it's hers."

    "She didn't talk to me about her father," Gordon continued. "We didn't go into details. I see their relationship in the media just like everyone else. I watched the HBO special just like everyone else. When you do work closely with an artist they touch on things and she touched on it. Beyoncé's been in our homes for nearly 20 years. I've loved her since she was in Destiny's Child, so yeah I know her story."
  • Beyoncé sang this with the Dixie Chicks at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards on November 2, 2016 accompanied by harmonica and horns. During their performance, the quartet flipped to the Chicks' 2002 single "Long Time Gone." Shortly afterwards a studio version of their collaboration was released.

    The collaboration should not have been a major surprise as The Dixie Chicks had covered the song on tour, but some eyebrows were raised as the country trio are still remembered by some conservative critics for the political controversy they sparked in the lead up to US-led invasion of Iraq.
  • Did you catch the Blue Ivy cameo at the end of the song? Beyoncé's daughter exclaims "Good job Bey!" to her mom during the last five seconds.

    Blue Ivy Carter already holds one record as an artist. Her father Jay-Z's 2012 single "Glory" features her cries and coos, which were recorded when she was less than two days old. Listed as a featured artist, Blue Ivy became the youngest ever credited artist to feature on a Billboard chart when the song debuted on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at #74.
  • As well as contributing guitar to the Lemonade cut "Don't Hurt Yourself ," Jack White also submitted an alternative version of this song. Speaking with Rolling Stone, the former White Stripes frontman revealed that Beyoncé had requested a more bluesy-country version of "Daddy Lessons," but White's arrangement remained unused on the album.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Benny MardonesSongwriter Interviews

His song "Into The Night" is one of the most-played of all time. For Benny, it took him to hell and back.

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."