SESAC Affiliate Dixson on Collaborating with Beyonce on ‘Be Alive’: ‘I’m Honored for the Recognition That the Song Has Gotten’
How was “Be Alive” created?
Dixson: Be Alive was created with about 80% live instrumentation and 20% electronic drum programming. I took it as far as I could get it and then I sent the demo to Beyonce’s team. They came back with her incredible vocals and it changed my entire approach. She is such an amazing lyricist, vocalist and producer that I had to go in and do some re‐production after hearing the energy her vocals brought to the record.
What did you learn the most from working with Beyoncé on “Be Alive”?
Dixson: I really learned to let the collaborative process be the guiding force for creativity. Because I wasn’t always able to work in the same room with her, I had to make some educated guesses about what she might like and it sharpened my ear as a producer and as a songwriter.
How did “Be Alive” end up in the King Richard soundtrack?
Dixson: After submitting a few demos to Beyonce, we saw clips of the film and began writing the song and as the pieces began to come together, the song felt more and more connected to the story and the plot of the film.
Did you expect this amount of success from the song when you were finished?
Dixson: I never really go into the process thinking about the success. I go into the process thinking about the goal and the result being a completed song that makes you feel something. For me, if we accomplish that, I feel very successful. All the rest of the accolades and the success stories are icing on the cake. I also like icing too, so I’m honored for the recognition that the song has gotten and hopefully, there will be more sweet moments like this in my career.
Has working on this project changed how you are working on other music now?
Dixson: It’s allowed me to think bigger and broader about what’s possible for creatives of color. So often, we are used as Swiss Army Knives and we aren’t often told that we are the Swiss Army Knives. So, I’m thinking bigger about my ambitions, about my dreams, about my sound, and it’s all thanks to working at such a high level on this.
What do you have planned for 2022?
Dixson: 2022 will hopefully be just as busy as 2021 was. 2022, I’ll be putting out two projects, I’ll be cutting my teeth as a composer for television/film, and I’m going to be working on myself – my mind, body, and spirit – to ensure that I have enough fuel to run this marathon.
What advice would you give up-and-coming songwriters?
Dixson: Become a producer. The industry isn’t set up, yet, to give songwriters the complete fullness of what they are owed. The only way to get on the other side of that right now, is to teach yourself some form of production, be it some form of traditional production, or vocal production. There’s more possibility for you to get paid sooner as a producer, than there is as a songwriter.