Rising singer/songwriter and producer Boots spent a year living in a van on the streets of Miami, Florida before landing his big break as Beyonce's sidekick. The self-taught musician has been thrust into the limelight after contributing to the majority of tracks on the superstar's self-titled new album, but Boots admits his life before the surprise release last month (Dec13) was far from comfortable. The mysterious producer, who has avoided taking advantage of his new-found fame, reveals he dropped out of high school at the age of 18 without any qualifications, became estranged from his parents, and ended up homeless. He tells Pitchfork.com, "It was no one's fault but my own, but my life instantly got super-miserable. For four years I was virtually homeless and one year I was really, really homeless. I lived in a van. "In Miami, it's really hard to stay asleep in a car for more than four hours before it gets wretchedly hot, so I would try to catch a few more hours in the bathroom of Walmart (superstore) before someone banged on the door. I was too prideful (sic) to let anybody know what was really going on. I joined a gym; that was my rent money, and it's where I would shower. "I learned real young that you can f**k your own life up, and I did, for a while." Boots' fortunes picked up last summer (13) when he signed a publishing deal with Jay Z's Roc Nation label and ended up working with the rap mogul's wife, Beyonce, on her new material. However, he has shied away from giving interviews in the mainstream media or posing for photoshoots for fear of losing the privacy he treasures. He says, "When the album came out, people were calling my parents' house within days. A dude was trying to sell pictures of me - just crazy s**t that I'm not trying to bring into my life. It got rabid for a second. "I know the information is going to get out there at some point; I'm not stupid. But I don't know that I want to be the one to just hand it over to everyone. It can become a weird world real quick."