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  'When I'm onstage, I'm aggressive, strong — I'm fearless. I'm not who I am in real life.' ...



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 'I had a lot to say [on B'Day]. And the beats I was attracted to were a lot harder.' ...





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B was so enthusiastic about her character, the role actually played a heavy part in inspiring the feel and music of her upcoming B'Day LP, which is due on September 5, the day after her birthday. This time around, B is decidedly more forceful and assertive than on her solo debut, Dangerously in Love. Just listen to "Ring the Alarm," where she screams, "I'll be damned if I see another chick on your arm!" (She gets even crazier in the video, which was inspired in part by Sharon Stone's role in "Basic Instinct.") There's also "Freakum Dress," where the singer fixes a man who doesn't know how to treat her by going out in her sexiest outfit to elicit the lust of other men.

"Deena was a woman that was married and her dreams became her husband's dream," says Beyoncé, discussing her character. "She didn't know what her dreams were, she didn't know who she was — she didn't know her voice. And eventually she does find her voice, and she knows where she wants to go in life and she steps out of her husband's shadow.

Beyoncé's Ultimate Videos

A bootylicious roundup of Ms. B's finest, including her latest smash, "De ja vu", past solo hits and Destiny's Child videos.


"I was Deena for six months and I refused to go into the studio 'cause I didn't want to get myself confused with this character," she continues. "I wanted to live and breathe Deena, I didn't even watch TV during that time. [When filming ended] I had so many things bottled up, so many emotions, so many ideas, that while I was supposed to be on vacation I snuck into the studio and recorded this album in two weeks. That's why most of the records are so aggressive. I had a lot to say. And the beats I was attracted to were a lot harder."

Beyoncé is quick to clarify, though, that although she has taken a more aggressive turn, it doesn't necessarily mean she's angry. "I'm very happy and calm and in a good place in my life," she says. "[B'Day is] very empowering — it's a record women need to hear."

Two women in particular were very instrumental in helping Beyoncé bring structure to B'Day. Along with hit-songwriter Sean Garrett (Mary J. Blige, Usher, Britney Spears), Knowles enlisted her cousin Angela Beyince and up-and-coming songwriter Makeba Riddick, who actually made her way onto the team after writing first single "Deja Vu." The song's producer, Rodney Jerkins, had demoed the record with Makeba singing the lyrics and slid it to Beyoncé, who approved.

"We worked together every day, pulling 14-hour days," Riddick says of the recording process. "I see the reason why she is the biggest artist of our generation: Her work ethic is unlike anything I've ever seen. She would tell us to be there at 11 o'clock in the morning and we would be there until, like, four or five in the morning. But she would be there before 11 a.m. When we got there, she was already there, working.

"Her concepts were so incredible," Riddick continues. "I never saw an artist have so much of her own vision and know exactly what they want to say. She would say, 'I have this crazy idea for this song, check out this situation.' We would be talking, bugging out — three hours later, then comes the song."

While Riddick and the B-team worked out the words, different producers, from the Neptunes to Rodney Jerkins to Swizz Beatz, were simultaneously cooking up the tracks.

"I see the reason why she is the biggest artist of our generation: Her work ethic is unlike anything I've ever seen."
        — Makeba Riddick

"She had multiple producers in Sony Studios," Riddick adds. "She booked out the whole studio and she had the biggest and best producers in there. She would have us in one room, we would start collaborating with one producer, then she would go and start something else with another producer. We would bounce around to the different rooms and work with the different producers. It was definitely a factory type of process."

Swizz Beatz says he too was blown away by the caliber of R&B producers who were involved with the B'Day recording sessions. Beatz first collaborated with the singer when he co-produced "Check on It," a smash that appeared on Destiny's Child's #1's. "I came to the studio and saw the zone. I said, 'Damn, everybody in here is banging out.' Rodney Jerkins had his session, Rich Harrison had his session going on. I was like, 'How am I going to compete with that? I'mma just do what I do. That's why Beyoncé called me: to bring something new to the table.' I started banging out some sh-- and I thought it might be too hard, but she would come in the room and be like, 'That's crazy.' I started going hard. That's how I got four songs on the album."

The results of these sessions have already started to collect accolades, but B has learned that when you raise the bar high, some people are going to be disappointed with your work, even if you think highly of it. Recently, a small group of fans started an Internet petition to have her "Deja Vu" video re-shot, claiming it is sub-par and unworthy of the Beyoncé stamp.

"Really?" she asks when questioned about the minor backlash. "Well, all of the fans I've spoken with are pleased. I think people love when things are different and they have something new to look at. I'm an adult and I can only be responsible for myself, but I thought it was great.

"Oh, I absolutely care," she adds about her response to the public's scrutiny. "I'm a human being, I want people to like what I do, but I can't please everyone. I know that, and I've learned that. Ultimately, I have to be happy and proud of what I do."

Beyoncé rarely speaks to the press about another part of her life that brings her happiness: her relationship with Jay-Z. But just because she keeps her personal affairs private doesn't mean she hasn't made goals for herself in that department too. In fact, when she starts pondering the future, she tells MTV News that in five years, she envisions herself with a family — among other accomplishments.

"Umm, 30?" she says, pausing to consider where she wants to be when that milestone hits. "Probably married, maybe a kid or two. I don't think it is possible, [but] I would love to have an Oscar. That is the most ambitious thing — I have time for that."

Beyoncé then slips into a mode of ambitious planning unfamiliar to 99 percent of her peers, and muses on her hopes for the next phases of her career. "I would like to do a movie a year, an album a year — by that time, every two years," she says. " 'Cause if I have kids I would want to be focused on being a mother and a wife. That would be great."


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