The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
November 18th, 2014
Episode 17 of 186 episodes
Beyoncé’s surprise self-titled album in 2013 was a giant hit, thanks to collaborations with super-producers like Timbaland, Pharrell, and Frank Ocean. But it was some guy named 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, Pitchfork, Vogue, and just about everyone else took cracks at answering the question, “Who is Boots?” Reporters were 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 her. “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.” Jordy 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 (andJay Z’s label, Roc Nation)is still unknown, and Boots won’t be the first to discuss the matter. He’d prefer to talk about the future, beginning with the lead single from his upcoming album, “Mercy.” Watch Boots play an acoustic version of “Mercy” on piano here. Boots is sticking with his idiosyncratic indie methods. He replaces all the songs on his SoundCloud on a whim. He almost exclusively releases music without warning – no marketing or social media campaigns. And when he tours the country, as he is doing now with FKA Twigs, he prefers to get a rental and drive himself. The mystery of Boots has been solved, but he remains an enigma. Watch Boots cover St. Vincent: Watch Boots perform "Only" (new):