Bey will be hitting Billboard magazine’s cover for the June 2011 issue and she also dishes about her upcoming album. She reveals the title of the album, the meaning behind it and how she began the creative process to start the album.
Whenever you put out a new song, it seems to generate a catchphrase. Is that something you think about?
That’s what I always want to do – I’m attracted to songs that will become a dinner conversation! [laughs] With “Single Ladies,” clearly I’d just gotten married, and people want to get married every day – then there was the whole Justin Timberlake thing [recreating the video] on “Saturday Night Live,” and it was also the year YouTube blew up. With “Irreplaceable,” the aggressive lyrics, the acoustic guitar, and the 808 [drum machine] – those things don’t typically go together, and it sounded fresh. “Crazy in Love” was another one of those classic moments in pop culture that none of us expected. I asked Jay to get on the song the night before I had to turn my album in – thank God he did. It still never gets old, no matter how many times I sing it.
The new album is called “4.” Aside from this being your fourth solo album, what significance does that number hold?
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.
How did the creative process begin with the new body of work?
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. I also found a lot of inspiration in ’90s R&B, Earth, Wind & Fire, DeBarge, Lionel Richie, 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.