Aside from those powerhouse vocals, the rapturous sound heard during the performance can be attributed to Too Many Zooz, the performance’s electrifying and vivacious backing band. The self-described “brass house” trio — who recently released the full-length album Subway Gawdz and have plans to tour this spring — are still reeling from the night, which they say was amazing, incredible and inspiring.
“I was really nervous 10 or 15 minutes before,” Leo (who plays saxophone) tells Billboard over the phone while waiting to catch a flight. “But once it started, it felt perfectly natural and great and meant to be.”
David (“King of Sludge,” who plays drums and percussion) and Matt (who plays trumpet) say they are just now starting to dive into the social-media reaction. In terms of seeing a drastic spike in followers, David says, “We have a steady stream of new people who are coming in to our existence anyway, [so] this probably won’t shake out for probably another week or so. But generally, everything is pointing up.”
The trio’s connection with Beyonce dates years prior to Wednesday night, as they first met about two years ago to work on her then-unreleased album Lemonade; they played on both “Daddy Lessons” as well as “Formation.” Matt says her team reached out after seeing a viral video of theirs that shows them performing at the Union Square subway station.
Surely the stakes are higher when performing on such a large platform when compared to a more literal subway platform, though Matt says, “I can’t stress enough how nicely we were treated and brought in like family.” David agrees, and adds that both the Dixie Chicks and Beyonce “were really kind to us and really down to earth.”
Even though performing for a television broadcast with global reach is a bit different than playing to passersby in the subway, David notes, “We’ve been preparing for this our whole lives.”