She has just received Billboard’s Millennium Award and is ready to write a new chapter in her career with her latest album. Beyonce covers ‘Billboard’ magazine and discusses film career, female empowerment, reaching 30 and taking a break in her life, but she also reveals the name of her fourth solo album called ‘4’.
“We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me. It’s the day I was born. My mother’s birthday, and a lot of my friends’ birthdays are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date,” Beyonce told the magazine.
On the creative process, the singer says that, “I recorded more than 60 songs: everything I ever wanted to try, I just did it. I started off being inspired by [Afrobeat music pioneer] Fela Kuti. I actually worked with the band from “Fela!” [the hit Broadway musical based on his life] for a couple of days, just to get the feel for the soul and heart of his music; it’s so sexy, and has a great groove you get lost in. I loved his drums, all the horns, how everything was on the one. What I learned most from Fela was artistic freedom: he just felt the spirit.”
Beyonce also found inspiration in ’90s R&B, Earth, Wind & Fire, DeBarge, Lionel Richie, and Teena Marie. “I listened to a lot of Jackson 5 and New Edition, but also Adele, Florence + the Machine, and Prince. Add in my hip-hop influences, and you can hear how broad it is. I also gave myself more freedom to really belt out some songs, and bring soul singing back: I used a lot of the brassiness and grittiness in my voice that people hear in my live performances, but not necessarily on my records,” she said.
‘Run the World (Girls)’ is the first single on her new album and is considered as a message of female empowerment. “It’s definitely riskier than something a bit more…simple. I just heard the track and loved that it was so different: it felt a bit African, a bit electronic and futuristic. It reminded me of what I love, which is mixing different cultures and eras — things that typically don’t go together — to create a new sound. I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain. As soon as I accomplish one thing, I just set a higher goal. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am,” Beyonce shared.
This is Beyonce’s first album made without her father’s management. “It’s not that anything bad happened between us. My family has my support always, and they support me, but when you’ve been working with the same people for 15 years, it’s natural to eventually have your own ideas. I believe that parents prepare their kids for the moment that they’re on their own: at this point, I’m taking everything my dad and my mother have taught me, and I’m able to do things my way. We were at a point where we’d learned so much from each other, and now it’s exciting for me to do this on my own and hire my own team. I’ve started managing myself,” the beautiful singer told ‘Billboard’.
As for her film career, Beyonce is working with Clint Eastwood on the latest remake of “A Star is Born.” “It’s a dream come true; I’m still in shock that it’s really going to happen. Clint Eastwood is clearly the absolute best, and I’m so honored and humbled. I was in no rush to do another movie unless it was the right film, and I didn’t even want to touch “A Star is Born” unless it was with him. I actually learned that this project was in existence, and kind of claimed it. I want to get to work right now,” she confesses.
Beyonce has always proved to be a real hard worker. Still, after so many achievements, she believed it was time to have a break, recharge her batteries and simply enjoy life. “I’m approaching 30, and finally took a break in my life, which I’ve never had. I took more than a year off: I traveled around, spent time with my husband, woke up in my own bed, ate whatever I wanted, went to museums and Broadway plays, watched documentaries, and just had life experiences. I never get to go to concerts because I’m usually performing, so I saw so many shows – great bands, like Muse and Rage Against the Machine, that also inspired the album. There were a lot of artists I’d never been exposed to: I’m like a sponge and soak everything up, and I learned so much from watching these great performers,” she said.
It seems that this break was a fruitful period and all those experiences inspired her. “Having time to grow as a human being was really inspiring, and gave me a lot to pull from. I’m excited about growing: I can just have fun, and the artistic freedom to do whatever I want. At this point, I really know who I am, and don’t feel like I have to put myself in a box. I’m not afraid of taking risks – no one can define me.”
Photos via Billboard, Beyonce Facebook