NEW YORK — How far would you go to be part of Beyoncé's posse? Travel across the world? Battle with others trying to fill the same spot? Show your true star quality no matter what?
That's what hundreds of females had to prove over the past several days as they vied to be in Beyoncé's new all-female band, which will back her up when she hits the road. The audition finals were held at Sony Studios Saturday, where Beyoncé and her father, Mathew Knowles, were among the judges picking the crème de la crème.
"I wanted to get together a group of fierce, talented, hungry, beautiful women and form an all-girl band," she said after the band was picked. She already has a name chosen but doesn't want to reveal it yet.
"I'm all about female empowerment," she continued. "I'm all about pushing the envelope. I know it's my responsibility to do something different. I said, 'I want a band, I want something different.' I had worldwide auditions; people flew in from Atlanta, Houston, Israel, all over the world.
"It was extremely difficult," she added about choosing the winners. "[There are] so many talented women. I wanted only a nine-piece band, but the girls were so amazing, I couldn't decide. I think I'm going to wind up having 12 people so I have two [people playing] certain instruments, because [some of the contenders] were just brilliant. It's a thing called star quality, it's a thing you can't put your finger on, can't describe. When they were playing, I said, 'I want to see y'all battle.' I brought in two of every instrument and that's how I chose. You see the one that really wants it. It was so entertaining, the energy, seeing the girls battle ... God, it was the best. It was magical."
The audition process took B back to when she was 9 years old and just starting out in Destiny's Child, when the group would compete in talent shows. Beyoncé says she's also looking forward to jamming with her ladies on the road and learning from them as she hopes they will learn from her.
The band will back up Beyoncé on her upcoming tour, for which no dates have yet been announced. Without a doubt, the band will have to get used to playing Beyoncé's new Rodney Jerkins-produced single, "Deja Vu," which features Jay-Z. It's destined to be a big summer hit.
"When I recorded 'Deja Vu' ... I knew that even before I started working on my album, I wanted to add live instruments to all of my songs," she explained. "It's such a balance [of music on the song], it has live congas, live horns, live bass. It's still young, still new and fresh, but it has the old soul groove. The energy is incredible. It's the summer anthem, I pray. I feel it. It's already broken records. Rodney Jerkins is incredible, Jay of course is on it, he blessed the song, I'm happy with it."
"Deja Vu" is the first single from Beyoncé's B'Day LP, which drops September 5, the day after her 25th birthday (see "Beyonce's Triple Threat: New Album, Film, Fashion Line Before Year's End"). Her b-day wish? A successful album that inspires people.
"The album feels like a party," she said. "It feels like a celebration, a woman that knows who she is, that has found her power and has found her voice. I thought the title was perfect."