Page 82 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine III

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She doesn’t worry that male collaborators might miss
some of her central message. Because she broke another
rule of classic female pop artistry by mostly telling women,
not men, how utterly wonderful they are in song.
“I have enough oestrogen for male writers, believe me,”
she says.
“By the end of the session they are, like, ‘Okay!
I get it! I know how it feels to be a woman.’ I’m always
representing the ladies. You can guarantee that.”
For Beyoncé, quite apart from the Brand, girls feeling
good about themselves has been her mission statement.
Her golden period of pop singles, from 1999’s Say My
Name to the riotous Run the World (Girls), have spelt it
out in bold capitals.
So cruel, then, that only five years after she’d recorded
Independent Women, Pussycat Dolls, whose claim
to fame was their lap-dancer style, spoilt this shift by
introducing the playground chant
“Don’t cha wish your
girlfriend was hot like me?” to urban pop’s playing field.
“When women don’t have friends, I’m afraid of them,”
Beyoncé says.
“I grew up around women. I believe that we
can teach each other so much. I’m always thinking about
how unselfish we are and the things we need to hear and
how much pressure there is being a woman. I try to write
songs that will bring out the best in all of us and keep us
close together. Put a ring on it? That’s a nice little way to
hint something without being the psycho that’s like ‘Marry
me!’ You know? Sometimes we gain 5, 10 pounds, sometimes
more. Whatever. Sometimes you have to just embrace it and
find the beauty in it. So, Bootylicious. When I travelled
around the world, I could see how important Independent
Women was and I could see how much strength it gave
women when they were able to sing Irreplaceable. For
women in burqas, women who may have been accepted
to not have any goals of their own. When I have women
coming up to me and saying, ‘I had to sneak to listen to your
music, but it makes me feel strong and now I’m saving up
my money and I’m moving away from here’, it makes me feel
like my purpose is so much deeper than I ever imagined. So
I’m going to continue to write those songs that give women
strength.”
After Glastonbury, after 4, Beyoncé will be directed by
Clint Eastwood in his remake of A Star Is Born. And is
it? “I think maybe a star is born. I was born to do what I
do. It’s just too natural. There are certain things I do that
nobody taught me. Nobody can teach you. It’s just, you
are. I feel like we all are stars.”
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S IMPLY ABU DHABI
Pau l Fl ynn / The Sunday Time s / The Int er v i ew Pe op l e
“It’s happened gradually,”
she says.
“I didn’t wake up one day
and, one album, two albums later, say, ‘Now I’m a star.’ I
had to grind it out, probably more than any artist I know.”
On the road with Destiny’s Child,
“we travelled in coach.
We were sharing rooms and fighting over phones, even with
multiple No1 singles. We worked so hard. Sixteen-hour days.
Everything that I’ve done, I’ve worked so hard for, until
my toes are bleeding. And no complaints. I think the more
you have to work for something, the more you cherish it.
Every time I think about doing something silly or something
that’s going to be detrimental to my career, I think about
everything I built and all that time I sacrificed”.
On the new record there are echoes of the rock-funk strut
of Tina Turner; she mentions Earth Wind & Fire and the
Chi-Lites as key influences. It’s her rawest, boldest yet. “I
have become bolder as a person,” she explains.
Beyoncé has schooled herself in her own musicology,
saying she can sit for 10 hours at a time, traipsing across
the internet in search of new sounds. Her sister Solange
introduced her to the Brooklyn noiseniks Sleigh Bells
while DJing in Williamsburg.
“She needs to be in A&R,”
she says of Solange, “because, I swear, all of the underground
and more indie artists, my sister discovers maybe three or
four years before they hit the scene.”
She found another new collaborator, Frank Ocean,
playing on Jay’s car stereo.
“After one song, I said, ‘Okay,
who is that? Because I want them on a flight tonight.”
She
likes the thrill of working with new artists.
“It keeps me
anxious. I love to give people opportunities, because someone
gave me an opportunity.”