Maze frontman Frankie Beverly, who wrote the 1981 hit “Before I Let Go,” said he was “blown away” when he first heard Beyoncé’s cover of his song.
Queen Bey’s release of the Maze song on her new “Homecoming” live album was “off the chain,” Beverly told Billboard in an interview published Wednesday, calling it “one of the high points of my life.”
“She’s a great friend of mine, but I didn’t know she was going to do this,” said Beverly, who wrote and performed the song with the soul/funk/R&B band. “I was hearing stuff, but I didn’t even want to approach her about it. She kept it quiet, until her people called me one day maybe a week or two ago.”
He continued: “When they played it, that’s when I heard the first draft of it, and I was blown away. It’s a blessing. It’s amazing how she works, she’s very smart. I’m caught off guard, but in a beautiful way.”
Last week, Beyoncé dropped her much-anticipated Netflix documentary “Homecoming,” and a surprise live album of her performance at last year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California.
The “Lemonade” artist gave fans a bounce-sounding cover of “Before I Let Go,” which plays over the credits in the documentary and is featured as a bonus track on the album.
Beyoncé fans celebrated the cover on social media, recognizing “Homecoming” as an ode to black culture.
Beverly told Billboard that he “never thought” when he wrote the song decades ago that it would remain popular today. “Before I Let Go” has become a staple at family gatherings in black communities.
“Other people have done my songs, but the way she did this was in a class of its own,” Beverly said. “I’m hearing from people I haven’t heard from in years. She’s done something that has affected my life. I haven’t even spoken to a publication like yours in quite a while. So it’s changed things around for me.”
Read Beverly’s entire interview with Billboard here.