Beyoncé digs into her rise from awkward, mostly silent youngster to world-beating boss in the September Harper’s Bazaar cover story in which she models some of the Texas-inspired clothes in her new IVY PARK x Adidas collection, and while previewing the follow-up to 2016’s Lemonade album.
The singer — who said the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown time off helped her focus on healing from the years of hard stage work that caused insomnia and inflammation — is working on building her own hemp and honey farm. And, of course, she’s working on new music that sounds like it might offer some commentary on the difficult 2020 and 2021.
“With all the isolation and injustice over the past year, I think we are all ready to escape, travel, love, and laugh again,” she responded when asked when new music would be arriving. “I feel a renaissance emerging, and I want to be part of nurturing that escape in any way possible. I’ve been in the studio for a year and a half. Sometimes it takes a year for me to personally search through thousands of sounds to find just the right kick or snare. One chorus can have up to 200 stacked harmonies. Still, there’s nothing like the amount of love, passion, and healing that I feel in the recording studio.”
So, in case it wasn’t clear enough, she added: “Yes, the music is coming!”
The fashion-forward, rustic aesthetic of the latest IVY PARK collection was inspired by Bey’s childhood in Texas as well as a forgotten chapter of American history. She said she grew up going to the iconic Houston Rodeo every year and taking in the “amazing diverse and multicultural experience where there was something for every member of the family, including great performances, Houston-style fried Snickers, and fried turkey legs.”
She also said she wanted to spotlight the overlooked history of the Black American cowboy. “Many of them were originally called cowhands, who experienced great discrimination and were often forced to work with the worst, most temperamental horses,” she said as part of a spread that includes her dressed in a pair of Adidas-striped denim chaps and matching jacket, a denim jumpsuit and matching corset.
“They took their talents and formed the Soul Circuit. Through time, these Black rodeos showcased incredible performers and helped us reclaim our place in western history and culture,” she noted. “We were inspired by the culture and swag of the Houston rodeo. We combined classic elements with the athletic wear of IVY PARK x Adidas, adding our own spin, monogrammed denim, chaps, and cowhide.”
The singer, who works the stage like she was born on it, also reveals that she was actually painfully shy and introverted as a child and that, ironically, her introspection helped her find her confident adult voice. “The first decade of my life was dedicated to dreaming. Because I was an introvert, I didn’t speak very much as a child,” she said, explaining that during her pre-teen singing and dancing competition days, she was often the only Black girl on stage, which spurred her to work twice as hard as her competitors.
“I spent a lot of time in my head building my imagination,” she added. “I am now grateful for those shy years of silence. Being shy taught me empathy and gave me the ability to connect and relate to people. I’m no longer shy, but I’m not sure I would dream as big as I dream today if it were not for those awkward years in my head.”
The singer also described grinding so hard as a teen on the come-up that she suffered her first vocal injury at 13 from singing in the studio for too many hours after scoring Destiny’s Child’s first recording deal, then spending an entire summer on vocal rest to heal. “Vision and intention weren’t enough; I had to put in the work. I committed to always being a student and always being open to growth. No one in my school knew that I could sing because I barely spoke,” she said, describing how she had no time to “‘kiki’ or hang out” because of her laser focus on music.
Bey also offers a kind of Spark Notes view of her creative and personal evolution, sharing how she landed at the more centered, peaceful place she is now. “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,” she said. “I have no interest in searching backwards. The past is the past. I feel many aspects of that younger, less evolved Beyoncé could never f— with the woman I am today. Haaa!”
Speaking of evolved, Bey described the inspiration she’s taken from her mother over the years, who she observed working “18 hours a day with calloused hands and swollen feet,” while continuing to be nurturing, loving and professional. She also dove into the lessons she’s learned from her former manager father, whom she credits with encouraging her to writer her own songs. Among the tracks that resulted was the 2001 No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 smash “Bootylicious,” which Queen Bey said was inspired by some criticism she got at 19 when she’d gained a bit of weight and couldn’t fit into her outfits.
“I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments, and I woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for myself, so I wrote ‘Bootylicious,’” she explained. “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.”
Check out some more pics from the spread below.