Beyoncé Builds Buzz For 'B-Day'

When it came time to begin work on her second solo album, Beyoncé didn't even tell her manager, who also happens to be her father, that she'd booked studio time. As previously reported, the album

When it came time to begin work on her second solo album, Beyoncé didn't even tell her manager, who also happens to be her father, that she'd booked studio time. As previously reported, the album, dubbed "B-Day," is due Sept. 5 via Sony Urban/Columbia. First single "Deja Vu" features Jay-Z and was produced by Rodney Jerkins.

Beyoncé arranged, wrote and produced all the songs with her dream team of Sean Garrett, Rich Harrison, Rodney Jerkins, the Neptunes and Swizz Beatz. She may have chosen the five hottest producers in the business, each with a discography of hits that reads like the track listing to a "NOW" compilation. But it did not stop her from shrewdly playing each producer off the other.

"I called up Sean, Rich and Rodney. I got them each a room at Sony Studios, and we went to work." Beyoncé laughs at the memory. She says she would leave Harrison's room and go check on Garrett and say, "Wow, Rich has some great beats. It was healthy competition," she tells Billboard.

Her last solo album, 2003's "Dangerously in Love," was about the joys of love, but with "B'Day," Beyoncé wanted to focus on a different side of the emotion. The artist, who is in a long-term relationship with Jay-Z, says her love life is rather "boring," but she likes it that way -- "I'm happy in my life." So for this album, she channeled her acting chops and the feeling of being jilted by a lover to write an album that "speaks for every woman."

"This is about female empowerment," she says. "This album is different, it's conceptual, and I do things with my voice that I haven't done before."

Among the key tracks are potential singles "Ring the Alarm" and "Freekum Dress." The former, produced by Swizz Beatz, shows a harder edge to Beyonce's sound. Of the latter, Beyoncé says, "You know, when your man starts taking you for granted and you put on that one dress that makes him go, 'Wow,' and not want you to leave the house."

Beyoncé is also gearing up for the December release of the film "Dreamgirls," in which she stars with Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx. A world tour is due to begin in spring 2007, during which she will be backed by an all-female band chosen via a nationwide audition.