“The bass chose me—I didn’t really choose it.
I was seven years old,” says Lauren “LT” Taneil, currently holding down
the bottom in Beyoncé’s Mrs. Carter Show world tour. Encouraged by
her producer/musician father to play music, LT and her two sisters
formed the GG’s, a band that started out playing churches and graduated
to a major-label record deal. Fortune favored LT in 2010, when
Beyoncé’s musical director witnessed a GG’s show and scooped her up,
initially for the Black Girls Rock Awards. Following that gig, she backed
Beyoncé at the Michael Jackson Tribute and went on to replace Divinity
Roxx as the band’s permanent bass player. While Beyoncé belts
out show-stopping ballads like “Halo” and “Irreplaceable” in the current
show, the musician-minded folk in the audience might be just as
thrilled by the booming bass vibrations LT leaves in their chest. Not
only does Taneil deliver sonically, but with her distinctive Neon-strung
Music Man 5-string bass and a lipstick color to match any outfit, the
part-time fashion designer has also slotted seamlessly into Beyoncé’s
How much of your own playing style have
you incorporated into Beyoncé’s band?
I am able to incorporate my roots and also
many other styles. I grew up on a lot of old-school
funk, gospel, and R&B music. I appreciate all
genres, and this helps me be ready for any music
environment I decide to put myself in. When on
any gig, I make adjustments accordingly, but I
can only play like myself and be me. In my band
the GG’s, I’m free to play whatever and however
I like. It’s a positive-energy-only zone! We all
have great ideas, like to be creative, have fun,
and laugh, which is very important.
Would you say that being part of this
11-piece band has changed the way you play?
Yes, for the better. Anytime I’m playing with
other musicians, I like to grow and take whatever
I can from them. I think that’s what we’re
supposed to do as musicians. When you get to
another level of playing, it changes the way you
play, the way you think.
Had you tried different ways of playing
before arriving at your own style?
I have not yet felt that feeling of arrival. I’m
self-taught—never been to school for music. I
am always constantly learning something new.
Learning is addictive; you never stop! I started
playing when I was seven, so I believe that I’m
just a product of my environment. My dad would
sit me down and teach me grooves, how to slap,
and scales; I guess that was my music school.
It’s still the base of my playing today. I love to
groove! It’s all about the groove and whatever
I do, it’s got to be funky.
In the dense mix of a Beyoncé show,
what discussions have you had with your
tech Sean O’Brien regarding tone?
If you can’t hear me, then for sure you can feel
me. In this music environment, sometimes the
bass is meant to be felt, not heard—especially
playing in huge stadiums and arenas. I can
hear and feel myself because I’m using in-ear
monitors and also have a ButtKicker so that I
can feel myself playing. I go for a really warm,
clear, clean tone. People comment on the bass
vibrations that they feel. I have discussions all
the time with Sean, the front-of-house engineer,
the in-ear monitor engineer, etc., to see how I
can have the best tone in this environment.
It was a process, and I’m still not 100 percent
satisfied, but it’s the best for this situation.
Basses Two Ernie Ball
Music Man StingRay
5 HH 5-strings, Little
Strings DR Strings
Rig Line 6 HD Pro
Komplete Ultimate 9
for the bass synth