Well, this is a shock.
Beyonce — on the eve of her new album, “The Lion King: The Gift,” has parted ways with her music advisor of 28 years, the legendary Teresa Labarbera Whites. Sources tell me the split was amicable, since Whites is maybe the Most Wanted music advisor in pop music today. Everyone from Katy Perry to Taylor Swift, Alessia Cara, Selena Gomez, etc will be knocking down her door when they hear this news. Adele would do well to call her.
TLW met Beyonce when she was nine years old, signed her when she was 11, and launched Destiny’s Child. She has overseen almost all of Beyonce’s music, with a brief time out years ago when she was lured to Jive Records to resuscitate Britney Spears. She did, too, and then returned to be on staff with Beyonce as her in house A&R person. (She also discovered Jessica Simpson, and has consulted on albums by Pink and the Backstreet Boys, among others.)
But as “The Gift” — which TLW oversaw — releases tomorrow, Whites is said to be down in her home of Texas getting some rest before advancing on the charts again.
So what happened? I’m told that as Beyonce’s business grew, there was tension at the top of Parkwood Entertainment. A new co-COO, Steve Pamon, from JP Morgan Chase, was brought in. Art and commerce clashed. Pamon’s background is in running a company, not picking music or developing musical ideas. TLW has long been known in the industry as Beyonce’s secret weapon. How the internationally beloved singer will function without her is now a big question.
Whites, by the way, is so low key that she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. But if you search for her on Wikipedia, her name comes up a lot, always in conjunction with making a hit record. From what I can tell, she smells a hit and knows almost better than anyone how to pull it together.