Beyoncé’s new visual album Lemonade has sparked conversations around the world. Beyoncé, who is known for being private about her personal life, showed her fans a different side on her new project. Lemonade is “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self knowledge and healing.” It explores Bey’s 11 stages of grief — intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope and redemption.
As the world watched Lemonade on HBO, many people were speculating who exactly was the inspiration behind the project. Mathew Knowles, Beyonce’s father, spoke with Rated R&B on his interpretation of Lemonade.
“From a father’s perspective, I’m extremely proud of Beyoncé because she’s challenged herself to think totally outside the box,” Knowles told Rated R&B. “I can just see she’s completely vulnerable and connecting with her fans all over the world and giving hope. She kind of takes us through this journey of sadness, anger and ends it with going through the steps of acceptance and forgiveness. I think it’s a beautiful piece of art. I’m so proud.”
Knowles also talked about his vision for the future of music, his new girl group, Solange’s next album and his new book.
RATED R&B: Do you believe visual albums will replace the traditional music video?
MATHEW KNOWLES: That’s a great question. I teach at Texas Southern University and we were just talking about this very thing. About a year ago, I gave a prediction. I kind of always have been one to three years ahead of the industry. I believe that we in time will no longer hear music, we will see music. And by that, for example, this body of work that Beyoncé has given us — we would want to see music.
RATED R&B: Tell us about your new girl group Blushhh Music you’re working with. How did you discover them?
MATHEW KNOWLES: On Wednesdays, at one of my venues, they used to give a showcase for new artists. I would stop by after teaching classes at Texas Southern. These three girls were performing. They had performed the week before and got some bad advice. The advice was to come back the following week and be more like Destiny’s Child. Well, that’s the biggest mistake an artist could make is to try to be like Destiny’s Child or try to be like Beyoncé or try to be like Prince. You should be like yourself. You should create a uniqueness of you. When I saw the girls perform, the energy was there. It was OK. I could work with the energy. I could work with the lead vocalist and one of the rappers. The third girl was trying to sing but she just couldn’t. Part of the song, she rapped a little bit. So, I had this vision — what if there was a rap group with two rappers and one vocalist? That’s never been done before. That’s exciting for me to do something that’s never been done before. So, we had to make a replacement with one of the members quickly because we didn’t feel like she was the right fit. We found a right fit. The girls have been in artist development. The album is 85 percent complete. We shot a video for the first single. You’ll hear about these ladies within the next 30 days.
RATED R&B: The music industry has seen a decline in sales in recent years. Does that worry you as you prepare to introduce Blushhh Music?
MATHEW KNOWLES: No, because we experience more than ever before. Experiencing music and the decline in buying music is two different things. The industry hasn’t yet learned how to monetize the experience. I think in time, we will figure that out. But I still think it’s some fundamental things that the audience and the fans want; and the connection comes from the event. So, with Blushhh Music they’ve been here at my boot camp for almost two years and will do the same thing as Beyoncé. We will have a video for every song. We’ll have a video movie because I strongly believe that [Beyoncé] has benchmarked the future again in the direction we will go with music. That visual thing is critical.
RATED R&B: With that said, is there any pressure to live up to the success of Destiny’s Child?
MATHEW KNOWLES: Not at all. Fortunately, we’ve had a tremendous amount of success here at Music World Entertainment. There’s no pressure. The way we evaluate [success] today is different than how we evaluated it in 1997 when Destiny’s Child came out.
RATED R&B: You recently released a book called The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals. Why should people pick it up?
MATHEW KNOWLES: I think they should pick it up if there’s a need to understand yourself and to know the things you need as an individual to better yourself. It’s self help and motivational. A lot of people walk around and they’re unhappy with what they’re doing today. This is the book for those people — unhappy with what they’re doing day to day and not very clear on the direction they’re going in their lives from a professional standpoint. This is the book for it. It talks about the ten traits of highly successful people.
RATED R&B: Is there anything else coming up that you’d like to talk about?
MATHEW KNOWLES: I know Solange has a new project that’s coming out. Solange chose to go a different direction than Beyoncé and I thought that was extremely smart. She has fans that adore her and so I’m excited about it. I also look forward to the day that Beyoncé and Solange can partner on a project. I hope I see that day.
Get your copy of Mathew Knowles’ DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals here.