Page 79 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine III

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The title warrants a deeper significance beyond being
her fourth solo album.
“I was married on April 4. I was
born on September 4. My husband was born December 4.
My mother was born January 4.”
It signifies some of the
ways in which she considers herself blessed.
“I’ve won a
lot of money on the number four, when I was gambling,”
chuckles, before redirecting the sentiment back to Brand
“Which I don’t do often.”
You don’t come to Beyoncé for scandal. You come to
her for grace, good manners and a glimpse into how her
dextrous performance technique and ear for a stone-cold
pop classic turned her into a 21st-century global icon.
Yet in direct contrast to her ferocious stage presence, she
is actually a discreet, gentle woman. Beyoncé Knowles
told her mother when she was nine years old, watching
Whitney Houston singing The Star Spangled Banner at
the Super Bowl, that she would be there one day. Tina
Knowles politely laughed off the idea, but there Beyoncé
was, 19 years later, the day the White House turned black,
singing for the Obamas’ first dance, at the president’s
request, during his inauguration party.
“There was so much power coming from that couple, it was
hard to sing,”
she says.
“I had to keep my composure and
remind myself, ‘You better do this right, because this is a
moment in history. This is your legacy. Forget your legacy,
this is Obama’s legacy. So you better suck it up and be the
person that they asked to perform this song.’”
She regained her nerve after her turn backstage,
contemplating what had just happened.
“I just witnessed
and I was so close and a part of one of the best moments in
American history.”
Beyonce will headline the Pyramid stage at
Glastonbury, and she is no less complacent:
“I am very, very nervous. But it feels good to know I still
can feel so out of my element.” She watched from the wings
three years ago as her husband, the American hip-hop giant
Jay-Z, conquered the predominantly white rock institution.
“Yes, I saw Jay... Jay Zee... Jay Zed conquer Glastonbury,
and I was also a bit nervous because of the controversy. And
he just completely took over.”
Clearly wowed by the experience, she blanches at the
suggestion of asking his advice on this one.
“I saw the advice. I don’t have to ask. The best way is to see
it for yourself.” Besides, she has had an elite coterie of rock
veteran friends to call on.
“I’ve spoken with Bono and Edge, who’ve given me tips. And
of course Chris [Martin] has given me tips and Gwyn’s given
me tips, so we’ll see.”
Beyoncé doesn’t mind the thought of getting her
fingernails chipped at the festival.
I’ve been there behind the scenes and I had the time of my
life. I hope it rains. I want it muddy. I want to ditch the
heels and put on my wellies. I just want to make sure that I
deliver. I’m sure it’ll be one of those memories I’ll take with
me to my grave.”
In incremental steps since 1998, when she busted out
with the Wyclef Jean-produced Destiny’s Child hit No,
No, No (Part 1), Beyoncé has become one of perhaps half
a dozen defining stars of our age. Now best friends with
Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow (their children call
her “Auntie B”), calling on rock gods for advice, at nearly
30, Beyoncé has risen above the carefully constructed
controversies of Madonna and Gaga to build her
reputation purely — and more credibly — on a deeply
intuitive reading of street funk.
Pau l Fl ynn / The Sunday Time s / The Int er v i ew Pe op l e
She sang at Obama’s inauguration, and headlined Glastonbury. Beyoncé may be at the top of her
game, but she’s still got something to say .
It is a scorching June afternoon in downtown Manhattan, in a converted loft on Lafayette. Yet even
the 35C outside cannot compete with the heat given off by Beyoncé as she enters the room. The star
steps onto a film set, her translucent beauty framed by black drapes. She is wearing a short silver dress,
chunky rings of exotic stones she cannot quite identify and heels that stretch her to the height of the
bearded crewmembers mumbling meaningfully at kit. Hers is the best skin I have seen on any human.
Beyoncé is filming an ad for her new album, 4.