The number four also holds personal significance for Beyoncé, and not just because her latest studio album will be her fourth as a solo artist. "We all have special numbers in our lives, and 4 is that for me," she says. It's the day I was born. My mother's birthday, and a lot of my friends' birthdays, are on the fourth; April 4 is my wedding date."
Beyoncé, who will be honored with the Billboard Millennium Award at the Billboard Music Awards on May 22, says that her early inspiration for the album came from Afrobeat music pioneer Fela Kuti: "I recorded more than 60 songs: everything I ever wanted to try, I just did it. I started off being inspired by Fela Kuti. I actually worked with the band from "Fela!" [the hit Broadway musical based on his life] for a couple of days...what I learned most from Fela was artistic freedom: he just felt the spirit."
Photos: Beyoncé's Fashion Evolution
For more of Beyoncé discussing her new album, movie career and being a role model for females, read our exclusive Q&A here.