Beyonce Titles Her New Album “4”

In an exclusive interview with Billboard magazine Beyonce finally reveals the title of her new album (“4″ as in her number of solo albums) and talks openly about why, at almost 30, she felt it was time for her to officially take control of her career.

According to the 29 year old pop diva, her role within the music industry is to constantly “push the limits” and hopefully “evolve” in the process. The singer’s longtime collaborator The Dream echoes those sentiments, saying “Run the World (Girls) was not a safe singles choice for Beyonce to make. That [kind of song treatment] would never happen with any other artist of her stature, male or female.”

New music aside, Beyonce also confirms her role in the 3rd remake of the 1937 classic “A Star is Born,” which is being directed this time around by Clint Eastwood.

To read the entire interview, which is pretty good, click here to visit Billboard.com.

Excerpts can be read below.

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.

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.

Beyonce Returns to Her Roots

French magazine, L’Officiel, will celebrate its 90th birthday by having Beyonce Knowles grace their March 2011 cover. The 29 year old pop diva agreed to pose for an incredible “African Queen” themed photo shoot in which she donned costumes in tribute to African musician/activist, Fela Kuti. Beyonce voluntarily allowed her skin to be darkened, a move I’m sure won’t sit well with Americans; however, the magazine called it a return to the singer’s African roots.

In contrast to the image above, the cover featuring Beyonce seemed to have swung the other way. Beyonce is almost unrecognizable to me, as her skin color has once again been manipulated by magazine editors so as not to offend their mostly white female audience.

Update: Check out a preview of the photo shoot here.

Michelle Williams Heads Back to Broadway

MICHELLE WILLIAMS JOINS BROADWAY CAST OF FELA

Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams is set to return to Broadway later this month.

According to Playbill, Williams will be joining the latest national tour of the hit musical ‘Fela!,’ which kicks off its 16 city run in New York on January 29th.

‘Fela!’ tells the story of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who died of complications from AIDS in 1997 at the age of 58.

Michelle will reportedly play the role of Isadore, one of Fela’s American lovers.

Previous Broadway stints for Michelle include starring roles in ‘Aida,’ ‘The Color Purple’ and the London (West End) version of ‘Chicago.’