Kevin Aviance Had No Idea Beyoncé Would Sample Her Song In ‘Renaissance’
- Beyoncé’s latest album, “Renaissance”, was released on July 29, 2022.
- The song contains a sample of a Kevin Aviance song from 1996.
- Aviance told Insider he didn’t know his track would be featured on the album.
Kevin Aviance said he was grateful to Beyoncé for bringing her music to a new generation.
When the 28-Grammy Award-winning superstar’s latest album, “Renaissance,” was released on July 29, the legendary drag performer and LGBTQ+ icon’s name started trending.
Aviance said he had no idea “Cunty,” his 1996 gay dance club staple, would appear on “Pure/Honey,” the 15th track on Beyoncé’s album.
“It just happened, and no, I didn’t know anything about it,” Aviance told Insider. “Someone sent me the track listing at 1am and I saw my name on it, and I couldn’t believe it.”
“It made me gag, the portrayal of it, the vocal performance…it’s amazing,” Aviance said of Beyoncé’s album.
“A Hymn for a Generation”
Aviance, who was born Eric Snead, previously enjoyed mainstream success with three Billboard Dance Club No. 1 singles in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Known for his extravagant, androgynous fashion sensibilities and vibrato a booming vocalist, the 54-year-old Richmond, Va. native has achieved cult status with a string of songs, including 1997’s thumper “Din Da Da”, 2003’s “sexually provocative Give It Up” and a bold cover of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” topped the international charts in 2007.
Aviance’s song “Cunty” is instantly recognizable in the opening seconds of Beyoncé’s ballroom culture-themed song. Another LGBTQ+ anthem, drag performer Moi Renee’s 1992 track “Miss Honey,” is also heard on “Pure/Honey” alongside vocals from DJ Mike Q.
Although the word used in the title has a negative connotation, the Glammy Award winner said it was not intended to be used in a pejorative manner.
“The song is an anthem for a generation,” Aviance said. “I remember working in nightclubs and everything was so phenomenal, and as I traveled all over the world, I felt like a jerk. It’s not a negative word, it’s like an anointing from God. C It’s like a mantra meaning ‘I feel fabulous, I feel amazing, that’s me.'”
Aviance calls Beyoncé a genius, “I mean, she gets it.”
A survivor of a widely reported hate crime attack in 2006, Aviance’s story was the focus of Chris Moukarbel’s 2019 HBO drag culture documentary, “Wig.”
Although he released a new song called “I’m Back” last month, the “Alive” singer said he has remained active in the community over the years.
“I never really quit and just kept going as much as I could,” he said. “Like I’m back as a DJ right now and…I mostly wrote and always did stuff, worked with other artists, so I never really stopped doing my thing with Kevin Aviance.”
“You know ‘Cunty’ never let me down, it was always kind of wonderful,” he continued. “Those five letters have brought an incredible life. I want to thank Beyoncé, it’s such an honor. I mean, she gets it.”
Aviance said he met Beyoncé and her mother Tina Knowles while promoting her first post-Destiny’s Child solo album, “Dangerously In Love” in 2003. “When she started her first tour, she performed at the Roxy. I immediately thought she was a genius, she was so beautiful.
He didn’t know the song would be sampled
Aviance said he wasn’t fazed that he didn’t know his song would be sampled before “Renaissance” was released.
Singer Kelis recently made headlines for claiming Beyoncé committed “theft” for featuring a song she sang on a “Renaissance” track without her knowledge.
“Some people are upset about this, but I don’t have a problem with it,” Aviance told Insider. “When you’re in a place where you share things…that’s what art is.”
“It influences people and influences space, it happens,” he continued. “So people get upset about it and I get it, but it’s just not that deep. As long as you deal with the business part sooner or later.”
When asked about copyright ownership of the song in question, Aviance was quick to end that line of questioning.
“I’m not allowed to talk about any of this,” he said. “It’s just like that.”
A long list of hitmakers
“Renaissance”, that Spotify announcement racked up the most single-day streams this year, features a treasure trove of world-class musicians.
Jay-Z, Drake, Pharrell, The-Dream, Raphael Saadiq, Hit Boy, Tems, Donna Summer, Teena Marie, dance music hitmaker Nile Rodgers and gospel music pioneer Twinkie Clark are all credited among the authors- album composers.
“God knows what he’s doing,” Aviance said. “My mother always told me, ‘God always knows what time it is. So when you think you’re not on time, it’s a good time.