Beyoncé has opened up, in a rare interview, about plans for new music, the pressures she faced early on as a Black women in the music industry, her feelings about turning 40 next month, and the “celebration,” “joy” and “love” that she wants the next decade to bring.

In a conversation with Harper’s Bazaar, the singer responded to the common question of “When can we expect new music” by noting that she has been in the recording studio for a year and a half. “After 31 years [in the industry], it feels just as exciting as it did when I was nine years old,” Beyoncé told the outlet. “Yes, the music is coming!” she confirmed, stopping short of any specifics.

Beyoncé, who turns 40 in September, also reflected on her early career in which she performed in sing and dance competitions at age seven and learned to push harder because of her skin color. “I was often the only Black girl, and it was then that I started to realize I had to dance and sing twice as hard. I had to have stage presence, wit, and charm if I wanted to win.”

The singer, obviously now one of the most well-known names in music, noted that throughout her career she has surrounded herself with people who have their own lives and are not dependent on her — an intentional decision in order to maintain boundaries in her personal life. “People I can grow and learn from and vice versa,” Beyoncé emphasized. “In this business, so much of your life does not belong to you unless you fight for it. I’ve fought to protect my sanity and my privacy because the quality of my life depended on it. A lot of who I am is reserved for the people I love and trust.”

She went on to say that she aims to pursue opportunities outside of the industry she is so well known for. “It’s hard going against the grain, but being a small part of some of the overdue shifts happening in the world feels very rewarding. I want to continue to work to dismantle systemic imbalances. I want to continue to turn these industries upside down. I plan to create businesses outside of music.”

Beyoncé referenced a quote from inventor Charles Kettering which states: “Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.” To this point, Beyoncé spoke of how she wishes such a freedom for every person. “I have paid my dues and followed every rule for decades, so now I can break the rules that need to be broken. My wish for the future is to continue to do everything everyone thinks I can’t do.”

Earlier in the interview, Beyoncé highlighted filmmaking as an example of a passion she enjoys outside of music, referring to it as a “newfound love and creative expression” that led to the visual albums in her self-titled album Beyonce, Lemonade, Homecoming and Black is King.  

Giving a brief window into her family, Beyoncé referred to her mother as her “Queen,” a woman “filled with humanity” who worked 18 hours a day even with calloused hands and swollen feet; and her father, who encouraged her to write her own songs and create her own vision from an early age. Beyoncé shared that at one point in her life, during a bout of insecurity after having been criticized for her weight, she woke up and refused to feel sorry for herself — she wrote “Bootylicious.”

The song became Destiny’s Child’s fourth U.S. number one single and appeared on their third album, Survivor. “It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing.”

Of the woman who continue to inspire her, Beyoncé cited her best friends Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, along with her sister Solange — a recording artist known for 2016’s A Seat at the Table — who is “full of wisdom.”

For the next decade, Beyoncé simply wants to enjoy her life. “I want to explore aspects of myself I haven’t had time to discover and to enjoy my husband [Jay-Z] and my children. I want to travel without working. I want this next decade to be about celebration, joy, and giving and receiving love. I want to give all the love I have to the people who love me back.”

The singer expressed to the outlet that, at this point in her life, she is looking onward. “I’ve spent so many years trying to better myself and improve whatever I’ve done that I’m at a point where I no longer need to compete with myself. I have no interest in searching backwards. The past is the past.”

Concluding that thought, Beyoncé added: “I feel many aspects of that younger, less evolved Beyoncé could never f*** with the woman I am today.”

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