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Boots: Beyoncé's most mysterious and least talkative collaborator

Boots performs for the podcast Sideshow from PRI and Studio 360.
Boots performs for the podcast Sideshow from PRI and Studio 360.
Amy Pearl / WNYC

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Beyoncé has now released the Platinum Edition of her hit, self-titled 2013 album and posted all her videos on Vevo. She's made the new album available for streaming on Spotify (previously only on iTunes) and you can buy a CD box set complete with lots of goodies.

In honor of this day in Beyoncé-land, we hear from her most enigmatic — and least talkative — collaborator, who goes by the name of Boots. He spoke with Sean Rameswaram of Side Show, a podcast that's part of WNYC's Studio 360.

Boots became the Internet’s favorite mystery late in 2013 when he was credited as a songwriter and producer on Beyoncé’s surprise self-titled album alongside super-producers such as Timbaland, Pharrell, and Frank Ocean. But it was Boots who was credited with writing some of the album’s most personal songs: “Heaven”, about a miscarriage; “Blue” about Beyoncé’s daughter; and “Haunted," which maligns the music industry. 

In no time, BuzzFeed, PitchforkVogue and just about everyone else took cracks at answering the question, Who is Boots? Once reporters learned his real name, Jordy Asher, they began calling his parents’ house in Florida, someone tried to sell photos of him, and Beyoncé fans started following him around Brooklyn.

“To go from none of that to a lot of that, I didn’t take it well,” he says. Still, the 27-year-old has nothing but positive things to say about Beyoncé. “The only reason she and I worked so well together is because something I had to say resonated very deeply with her,” he says. “It’s amazing that it happened.”

Asher started in Miami. He was in a string of rock bands before he and a girlfriend took a hard left turn towards indie-pop as Blonds. They broke up; Jordy moved to New York, became Boots. How he got from there to Beyoncé (and Jay Z’s label, Roc Nation) is still unknown, and Boots won’t discuss the matter. He’d prefer to talk about the future, beginning with the lead single from his upcoming album, “Mercy.”

To see videos of Boots performing "Mercy" and to hear a longer version of this story — and more from the podcast Sideshow — go to the Sideshow website

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