Beyonce out-of-tune video hoaxer explains himself

It's official: Beyonce can sing.
It's official: Beyonce can sing.

Ah, the power of the internet. A clip appears on YouTube purporting to show Beyonce singing a hopelessly out of tune version of If I Were A Boy on the Today show in November 2008. Howard Stern then plays it on his radio show and, suddenly, the whole world's talking about it.

It was a great story - world-famous singer exposed! - but, predictably enough, it turns out this supposed 'soundboard recording' was created on a computer using pitch-shifting software.

Matthew Zeghibe, the man behind the stunt, has now explained why he did it in a new video, which you can watch below. He claims that, by ruining the Beyonce vocal, he wanted to make a point about how easy it is to manipulate singers' voices (usually to make them sound better).

This is just about plausible, though Zeghibe probably won't be complaining about the raising of his own profile. What's more, you could argue that what's really been proved is how much many of us want to believe that superstars can't actually sing: if they sound great, they must have been Auto-Tuned; if they sound bad, it must be real.

Beyonce doesn't seem too bothered though as, even before Zeghibe had confirmed that the audio was fake, she described the clip as "perfect promotion" when she spoke to MTV News.

However, her father, Matthew Knowles, was less impressed: "At 12 years into her career, the last thing someone should be questioning is her vocal ability," he said in a statement to TMZ.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.