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Beyonce says her fans inspired her to keep the title of her fourth studio album simple.


The number 4 is very special to BEYONCE KNOWLES. The Texas native’s birthday is September 4, and she tied the knot with her longtime love Jay-Z on 4-4-08 (she has the Roman numeral IV tattooed on her left finger to commemorate the occasion). And now, 4 is the title of her upcoming album, the singer reveals in a Q & A with Billboard.

Beyonce says her fans chose the name for her fourth solo album, albeit informally: “Everywhere I look, I see them calling it ‘4,’” she explained. “I had a whole other name and concept, but I keep seeing that the fans love the name ‘4’ and I think it would be a really nice thing to let them name the record.”

Ms. Knowles says the album’s early inspiration came from Afrobeat legend 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 Broadway musical based on Kuti’s life] for a couple of days…what I learned most from Fela was artistic freedom: he just felt the spirit.”

The album’s drum-heavy first single, “Run the World (Girls),” was met with harsh criticism when it leaked online a few weeks ago, but a killer music video could make plenty of fans change their minds about the new sound. What’s more, Beyonce says she loves her risky song: “It reminded me of what I love, which is mixing different cultures and eras — things that typically don’t go together—to create a new sound. I can never be safe; I always try and go against the grain. As soon as I accomplish one thing, I just set a higher goal. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am.”

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