Latin Conference & Awards

Crazy About Beyonce

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

With lead single "Crazy in Love" taking off at radio and video outlets, Columbia Records has decided to jump the gun for Beyonce's highly anticipated solo debut. Now due June 24, the multifaceted superstar's "Dangerously in Love" (Music World/Columbia) was rushed forward from its previous July 8 release date.

The single, featuring Jay-Z, is No. 7 on Billboard's Hot 100 and No. 5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.

"I always thought it was an incredible song," Beyonce says. "I wasn't sure that people were going to understand it because it was so different-it doesn't sound like anything else... But it's a great song and people get it. I guess they were happy to hear something fresh."

As one-third of platinum-plus trio Destiny's Child, Beyonce is no stranger to the top of the charts. The group's last studio set, "Survivor," debuted atop both the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and The Billboard 200 in 2001.

The group announced in late 2001 that it would take a break so that each member could pursue solo projects. Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland released their solo debuts in 2002.

"It's something we all had to do," Beyonce says. "You get to a point where you depend on someone for so much for so long, and you need to grow and learn about yourself and make mistakes on your own. It's part of becoming an adult. I'm happy that I got to write songs from my heart... I was able to express myself as a young woman, as an individual, and as a solo artist."

While Rowland and Williams achieved success with their solo sets, expectations are sky-high for Beyonce's album. "Destiny's Child is the biggest female-based vocal group in the world," Columbia Records president Will Botwin says. "We sold 9 million albums around the world on the last studio album, so coming into this solo project, expectations for exceptional success and creativity are there. She's always been identified as the leader of the group, so the most pressure has been on her to deliver a record that is great and to have success out of the box."

Beyonce says she "really tried not to think about those expectations.

"It affects your performance when you're thinking about other people. Some days, it got a little hard... I wondered if people would understand it and like it. I also wanted to make sure that [this album] showed my growth vocally and as a writer. But when I went into the studio... I just vibed and did whatever I felt. Once I finished, then I thought about all that other stuff."

Beyonce has also made a name for herself in Hollywood. The singer made her feature-film debut last summer in "Austin Powers in Goldmember." For her next role, Beyonce will play a singer in Paramount Films' "The Fighting Temptations" with Cuba Gooding Jr.




Excerpted from the June 21, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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