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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
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Hungarian Wants a Piece of ‘Drunk in Love’

MANHATTAN (CN) - Beyonce and Jay Z have someone else to thank for the "foreign eroticism alongside the sexually intense lyrics" of their hit song "Drunk in Love," a Hungarian pop star claims in court.

Monika Juhasz Miczura, who goes by the stage name Mitsou (not to be confused with the Canadian celebrity of the same name), filed her complaint Friday in New York County Supreme Court.

The 10-page complaint alleges that it is Mitsou's voice that appears throughout the song, "sampled and digitally manipulated without her permission from a recording she made in 1995 of Bajba, Bajba Pélem, a traditional Roma folk song that she learned from her grandmother and that Mitsou wished to preserve."

Mitsou says Bey and Jay used her voice, which is "widely considered unique and ethereal," "to evoke foreign eroticism alongside the sexually intense lyrics" they performed in "Drunk in Love."

"The 'Drunk in Love' recording begins with Mitsou's voice singing an a cappella solo and isolated for the first 13 seconds of 'Drunk in Love,'" the complaint states. "Following Mitsou's stirring featured solo vocal introduction, Mitsou's voice continues to sing as Beyoncé begins to sing. Mitsou and Beyoncé sing together until the 41 second mark in the song. Mitsou's vocals then join Jay-Z when he appears rapping in the song from 3:14 until 4:05, a total of 51 seconds. All together, Mitsou's vocals are featured for over one and half minutes of the five and one half-minute of the song (over 29% of the song), including solo, together with Beyoncé and together with Jay Z."

Mitsou says that the song's producers, including Noel "Detail" Fisher, Timothy "Timbaland" Mosley, and Jordan "Boots" Asher, obscured the origins of the vocals through a four-step process.

First the producers altered the pitch of Mitsou's voice with autotune, then they "cut and transposed one semitone up a breathing from the song, and inserted it into the first part," according to the complaint.

After repeating this section one more time, they "used Celemony Melodyne pitch and time correction plug-in on another extended note of Baja Bajba Pelem to create the second part of the 13 second a cappella intro of 'Drunk in Love,'" the action continues.

"Drunk in Love" appears on the album "Beyoncé," which was released exclusively on iTunes and became the online music retailer's highest-selling album to date.

Miczura claims she recorded her rendition of "Bajba, Bajba Pelem" in 1995. "The song is about hopelessness, when one can no longer trust anyone but her own mother and God," according to the complaint.

Mitsou seeks damages and an injunction for a violation of New York's Right of Publicity.

She is represented by Marsha Mozammel of Imbesi Law.

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