Secrets of Sandcastles: Beyonce’s producer on Being Homeless and the Politics of Music

Adrienne Gibbs
2 min readMay 27, 2017


This story first appeared in Forbes.

It’s been a month since Beyoncé’s groundbreaking performance of “Sandcastles” at the 2017 Grammy Awards. The song’s producer, Vincent Berry, is able to finally sit back and digest his good fortune and his Grammy win. Berry, who once was homeless, was shocked that Beyoncé selected his song for her album. When he performed it for a friend, he had no idea that the performance was a tryout for the Grammy-nominated Lemonade.

Seeing a pregnant Bey perform this particular song for that particular audience was more than a dream come true, says Berry. It was providence.

“How many times can she be pregnant with twins and singing your song at the Grammys?” says Berry, 31, who once attended Morehouse College in Atlanta but left school his senior year to pursue his songwriting dreams. “That is a moment ordained before time.”

Since working on Lemonade, Berry has stayed busy. He is working with the hit Fox show Empire. He also has worked with Migos, Kierra Sheard, Brandy, Nipsey Hustle and Steve Aoki. Working with Bey has certainly opened more doors. And that’s not surprising.

Recording artist Anderson Paak and singer-songwriter Vincent Berry II. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“I feel like my whole life was a path to Sandcastles,” he says of the song that debuted at №43 early last year on the Billboard Top 100. “I don’t know where you go from here other than putting your own stuff out.”

In terms of Lemonade not winning for album of the year, Berry shares the sentiments of many who are able to vote for winners in that such awards are intensely political.

“The anatomy of a Grammy-winning song is politics,” he says, adding that voters have to remember to pay their $100 a year fee to the Grammy Academy in order to be able to vote. “You have to be a politician. You have to go and build a relationship with people, the constituents. You have to be there and be present. Whoever that artist is [has to] be an incredible politician and you need an incredible story and a manager who is really good with relationship building.”



Adrienne Gibbs

Director, Creator Growth @Medium. Editor of ZORA and MOMENTUM. Writer. Mother. Proud recipient of an official Beyoncé shout out.