Staffers at the highest levels of Columbia Records were kept in the dark about Beyoncé’s new album until Thursday night, when they found out along with the rest of the world their top client had secretly been recording music and making unbelievable videos in anticipation of the stealthy release Thursday.
“Honestly, most of us found out when everyone else did,” one Columbia insider tells Confidenti@l. “That’s just how secret it all was, and what it takes to keep it as such.”
We’re told Queen Bey had called for operation “TNO” — “Tell No One” — which was strictly followed by the crews, directors, makeup and wardrobe people whom the singer worked with for the past year and a half on the project.
“There were a few people that were absolutely necessary and essential to set it all up, and they held their cards tight,” our source says. “They trusted her vision.”
While on her “Mrs. Carter World Tour,” and oh, giving birth and raising 2-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, Beyoncé was hard at work behind the scenes with hubby Jay Z on creating her new sound and sexy image.
The 14 new songs and 17 videos were recorded and shot in Bey’s hometown of Houston, in her Tribeca apartment in New York, in the Hamptons and in Sydney and on the beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Directors included Terry Richardson, hip-hop directing legend Hype Williams and Beyoncé herself, being heavily involved in the visuals on “Blue,” sung for her baby girl.
Bey, who said she was “bored” with the usual early promotions and the release of a single, wanted to speak directly to her fans.
Leaks were discouraged by having all people involved sign a nondisclosure agreement for the shoots they were involved in. They were also not told the titles of the songs, or when they would be released, as the videos were shot.
“A handful of people knew about the entire project,” says another record industry insider. “Beyoncé was originally going to unleash one single at a time, the way Justin Bieber has been doing it online. But she ultimately decided to release them all at once.”
The songs can downloaded from iTunes now and will be available on CD Friday.
Have y’all listened to the new project yet? So far “Drunk In Love” is our favorite.