It’s pretty fair to say that Beyonce blew my mind on December 12th.
Yes, it was December 12th here. It was midnight East Coast time, but here it was 9PM Thursday night, and Brad was cooking something amazing. I was messing around on my new iMac, and I got a Facebook notification that I had a new “video notification from Beyonce”.
That was a really strange notification. Why was I getting notifications from Beyonce?
So I clicked on it. And I watched this.
I have never raced to iTunes and forked over $16.99 for an album so quickly.
Yes, I was already a giant Beyonce fan. As a singer, and as a musician who grew up with the pop stars of the late 90s and early 2000s, I’ve been pretty disappointed as I’ve become an adult. Learning the way the industry works. Learning the ways young girls are exploited and told what to do. Watching young adult girls swinging around on poles while they’re tied up in leather. it’s cool if you want to break that out once in a while. But seriously, Miley? All. The. Time?
Just from my own experiences, I might be a more successful artist today if I had conformed to what the men at the label I was signed to told me to do. I would have gone by the name Kelly B. I would have been severely auto tuned. I would be singing Selena Gomez-style pop. As a 29 year old.
Then, when that didn’t work, I’d be singing Carrie Underwood country. And I would forever be stuck in that cycle until someone (probably not me) made a lot of money off it, and then I’d have to keep doing exactly what worked that one time until the whole world got sick of it.
No thank you.
Beyonce has been the one “pop star” that I feel like has stayed relevant in her own age. She has grown up and approached adulthood without trying to stay young. She is sexy without being in your face naked. She has embraced becoming a wife and a mother. And she does it all with an unreal voice and with killer dance moves. She’s fiercely pro-female and takes control of her image and her career. She’s wildly successful, so she has the resources to do whatever she wants to do, but really… This last album takes the cake.
Not only is it unbelievable that this album stayed under wraps until its actual surprise release, but this visual album is just unbelievable. And the way that she brought together so many huge names in the music industry, recorded over 80 songs, got her body back in amazing shape for these crazy videos that were sometimes shot totally guerrilla style… Beyonce just got bumped to a whole different level of amazingness. Those videos? They are art. They are fun. They are beautiful and they are so much more personal than anything we’ve ever seen from her. They’ve inspired me to see the art in the imperfections and the beauty of my own life. (Maybe I’ll tell you the NYE story tomorrow…)
And then she’s released another part of a five-part series about the album every week since. It’s an awesome look into how the album and the videos came to be. And it’s more real and less inhibited than that HBO documentary ever was supposed to be.
Can you tell I’m inspired?
Here’s to the artists, even the giant pop super stars, who are bored with the status quo. To the people who keep awesome secrets and create surprises and just go out on a limb to do something different and exciting. Here’s to being bored with the way things are done and doing them differently. And here’s to changing how the world works in the process.
You go, Beyonce.