'If I Were a Boy' writer BC Jean has a new friend: Reba McEntire
When I sat down recently with BC Jean, the cowriter of Beyoncé’s monster hit “If I Were a Boy,” she spoke about her gratitude for getting her song recorded by one of the leading players in pop music today, and about the burden it put on her to show that she’s more than a one-hit wonder.
That’s part of the reason she teamed with a variety of songwriting and producing partners -- including the Matrix, Ryan Tedder and Max Martin -- besides Toby Gad, her collaborator on “If I Were a Boy,” in crafting material for her debut album, which will be released early next year.
“After ‘If I Were A Boy,’ I felt like I needed to prove myself,” she told me during our chat at her record company offices in Beverly Hills. “I wanted to prove that it’s not just one person I can write with, or not just one person I can produce with -- I can write with everybody. As long as you know what you want, you can make that clear.”
She's getting her big test this week, when her own single, “Just a Guy,” is sent to radio stations to see which ones will put it on their play lists.
“I’ve got lots [of songs] in me,” she said with a laugh. “I’m hoping that’s what ‘Just a Guy’ will say: Alright, ‘If I Were a Boy’ [was a hit], girl, can you do it again?’ OK , I can do it again. I’m trying to prove that with this record.”
Beyond that, the story isn’t over on “If I Were a Boy.” The song has found its way to another audience -- the country music audience -- in a version sung by Reba McEntire, who included it when she appeared on Country Music Television’s “Unplugged” series in May. The video of her performance is up now, and a studio version will be part of McEntire’s new album, “All the Women I Am,” scheduled for release Nov. 9.
The enthusiastic reaction to the song reportedly pushed McEntire's label to get the new album ready in time for a fall release, a period typically reserved for record companies' heaviest hitters.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of singer-songwriter BC Jean at her apartment in Hollywood. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times