You might think Destiny's Child singer Beyoncé Knowles would feel threatened by her younger sister Solange, who is rapidly becoming the talk of the pop industry and earning praise from various producers scrambling to work with her.
However, according to producer Damon Elliott, who worked on five songs on Solange's debut album, there's no time for sibling rivalry in the Knowles household. In fact, Beyoncé will be performing along with her 16-year-old sis on various tracks on the disc, which is due January 21. (see "Solange, Beyonce's Lil' Sis, Says She's No Destiny's Child").
One of Beyoncé's most notable contributions comes in the song "Thinking About You," Elliott revealed.
"Beyoncé is just so talented," he said. "And the two of them sound amazing together, totally off the hook. And they're really close. They had a great time."
Another standout track is the first single "Feeling You," which features N.O.R.E. Elliott asked the rapper to sing on the track after "Nothin' " started blowing up at radio.
"I'm a big N.O.R.E. fan," Elliott said. "That song was just popping in the clubs, and I was like, 'Man, this cat is out of here.' It was just perfect timing because that's still riding strong right now. If that's got the staying power like that, just that imagine what Solange and him could do on the record."
Elliott wrote "Feeling You" with Solange, then sent it to the rapper, who added his part in New York before mailing it back to the producer in Los Angeles. Although Elliott is thrilled with the collaboration, he was initially a little concerned.
"You always worry if they're going to get what you're striving for," he said. "But he just nailed from the gate. From the first three lines that he said in the song, he just had it. I was a little nervous, because I creatively moved his vocals around a little bit [in the mix] and slicked up the intro. So when I saw him, I was a little worried he'd go, 'Yo, damn, man. Why you f--- up my
song?' But he came up and said, 'I love it. You think like me.' "
A video for "Feeling You" was recently shot in Los Angeles by Sanna Hamri, who directed Kelly Rowland's "Stole" video. Solange came up with the treatment for the clip, which also features N.O.R.E.
"There's a guy she's digging and she's hanging out and coming out of a café," Elliott said. "She's really feeling for this guy and she sees him and he throws her off a little bit. Then she goes off into the park and has a big barbecue. It's basically about her having fun with her friends. It's a performance video, but it's also got a little bit of the theatrical side, and it does the song so much justice."
The Solange record also features production by IMX, Timbaland and Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes. (see "Between Toilet Pranks, IMX Produce Music For Solange, Whitney, Mya").
As impressive as the roster of producers and guests is, Elliott said it's Solange who makes the songs shine.
"People going to be shocked, man," he said. "I think they're lying about her age because she's too smart. She's just too on it. I think she's maybe like 70 or something in a 16-year-old's body. She wrote the lyrics to almost every song and that's not really heard of for somebody that young. And then she also produced a couple tracks. It's like, damn, man. It's amazing."