A Hungarian Roma singer has accused Beyoncé of sampling her voice without credit or permission. Monika Miczura Juhász claims that Beyoncé illegally appropriated one of her tracks for one of Drunk In Love’s most distinctive hooks.
Juhász, who performs under the name Mitsou, filed the civil suit in Manhattan supreme court, naming Beyoncé, Jay Z and one of Drunk in Love’s songwriters, Timbaland, as co-defendants. Her lawyers allege that a recurring section of the song is a “digitally manipulated” excerpt from the track Bajba, Bajba Pelém, which Juhász recorded with the group Ando Drom in 1995.
“All together, Mitsou’s vocals are featured for over one and a half minutes of the five and one half minute song,” the lawsuit states. “[Drunk in Love exploits her voice] to evoke foreign eroticism alongside the sexually intense lyrics performed by Beyoncé and Jay Z.”
According to Drunk in Love’s official liner notes, the song was written by Beyoncé, Jay Z, Timbaland and five other composers: Noel “Detail” Fisher, Andre Eric Proctor, Rasoon Diaz, Brian Soko and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon. It was produced by Beyoncé and Detail. No information on the samples is provided.
“Mitsou’s incredible voice is widely considered unique and ethereal, and since the 1990s, she has been in high demand for countless international collaborations as a featured guest singer,” her lawyers said. “[But she] has never signed any documents that would permit anyone to use her voice for advertising or trade purposes … and never granted any of the defendants permission to use her voice for any purpose.”
Drunk in Love appears on Beyoncé’s self-titled 2013 album, which has sold more than 5m copies worldwide. The song itself has also been purchased more than 1.6m times in the US alone. Beyoncé has yet to respond to the lawsuit.
This article was written by Sean Michaels, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 16th December 2014 08.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010