Happy birthday, "4"!
June 24 marks the fourth birthday of Beyoncé's fourth studio album, "4." The album, released in 2011, was a huge achievement for the superstar known as Queen Bey.
"4" marked a professional shift in Beyoncé's life. After years under her father's management, both as a member of Destiny's Child and as a solo artist, she finally stepped aside to carve her own creative path.
"I believe that parents prepare their kids for the moment that they're on their own: at this point, I'm taking everything my dad and my mother have taught me, and I'm able to do things my way," she told Billboard that year. "We were at a point where we'd learned so much from each other, and now it's exciting for me to do this on my own and hire my own team. I've started managing myself."
Beyoncé recorded more than 60 songs during the creative process leading up to "4," per Billboard, and found inspiration from Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, 90s R&B, Florence + the Machine and a trip to Egypt.
Fans had a hand in it, too.
“The fans have named the album '4,'" she explained to W! magazine in 2011, weeks before the album's completion. “And four is my favorite number. It’s an important number in my life: the date of my birthday, my mom’s birthday, my husband’s birthday, the day I got married. Barack Obama is the 44th president, and I performed ‘At Last’ by Etta James at his inauguration.”
The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and stayed there for two weeks, setting the tone with songs about female empowerment and independence, like "Best Thing I Never Had" and "Run The World (Girls)."
"I try to write songs and sing songs that we as women need to hear," she said during an interview for "Good Morning America" with Robin Roberts. "I know sometimes it's hard to realize how amazing we are. I'm very happy to be able to do that to women around the world."
Since the number four holds a special meaning for Beyoncé, it's only right to celebrate "4" on its fourth birthday and all its timeless fierceness.