Beyoncé's busy with her to-do list in 2010
By ELYSA GARDNER
Beyoncé's New Year's resolution is at once ambitious and surprising. The multitasking superstar, who was seemingly everywhere in 2009, hopes to spend a good chunk of 2010 not working.
"It's definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries," says Beyoncé, 28. "I'd like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again."
Not that Beyoncé won't be visible in the coming months. Just a few days before Christmas, she's in Long Island City, shooting a pair of commercials for the Nintendo video game Style Savvy, which is introducing items from Dereon, a casual lifestyle extension of the House of Dereon line that Beyoncé created with longtime fashion adviser Tina Knowles — also her mom. The spots will air on Nickelodeon in March, in the week before the Kids' Choice Awards and during the show.
Before that, of course, Beyoncé will perform on the Grammy Awards broadcast Jan. 31 on CBS, where she's up for 10 trophies, more than any other artist, including album, record and song of the year.
The last is for her slamming manifesto "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", one of 2009's most ubiquitous singles (3.5 million downloads sold) and its most-streamed video. The album, "I Am Sasha Fierce," has sold 2.7 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"I still haven't really digested it yet," Beyoncé says. The Grammy nominations were announced Dec. 2, two days before her spouse and fellow pop icon Jay-Z turned 40. "I was focused so much on my husband's birthday — I threw a big party —that I didn't really think about it. But it's really an honor."
Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone, which recently named Beyoncé one of the top eight artists of the decade, doubts she'll have a sweep, given the momentum of industry "It" girl Taylor Swift and other up-and-comers such as Lady Gaga. "But if (Beyoncé) loses in all 10 categories, it will have absolutely no effect on her career," Hiatt says.
STILL A HARD WORKER
For the former Destiny's Child frontwoman, the nominations were a sweet coda to an especially productive and demanding period.
"I've always worked hard, but I feel like I worked harder this past year than I have since I was just starting out. I just had all these great opportunities. It started out with singing 'At Last,' " the song Barack and Michelle Obama chose for their first dance as first couple. Beyoncé serenaded them at a ball hours after the president's inauguration.
In the spring, the singer launched the I Am . . . Tour, which took her to 110 cities around the world. Despite her hectic schedule, Beyoncé was determined "not to just perform and stay in the hotel. I visited the pyramids in Egypt. I saw the Great Wall of China and went out in the middle of the ocean in Australia to see the whales. I actually got sprayed in the face.
"I made some great memories this year and really learned to enjoy life."
So much so that "when I got home, I wrote out a contract with myself. I made a list of everything I want to do that has nothing to do with music. Well, some of it does. But I promised myself that I would not go back on tour or in the studio until I finished these things."
The to-do list consists of "random things. I want to go to restaurants, maybe take a class, see some movies and Broadway shows." (Beyoncé says she would love to do a stage musical, eventually.) She's also keen to spend more time with her 5-year-old nephew, Daniel, whose mom is Beyoncé's younger sister, Solange, 23. "He's a wonderful kid, amazing, so smart. And I spoil him, so it's a lot of work. He's a 24-hour job."
Still, Beyoncé doesn't expect her sabbatical from the music business to be easy, or even necessarily successful. "It will be the hardest thing in the world for me to make myself not do an album and shoot a video and turn it in and say, 'I'm ready!' I already have all these melodies and ideas in my head. I have to tell myself, 'Sit down! Sit down!' "
She already has planned a reprieve from her reprieve, in fact: Two weeks of concert dates are scheduled in South America and the Caribbean in February to accommodate additional demand from the I Am . . . trek. (She recently generated controversy by performing at a private New Year's Eve party hosted by Muatsim-Billah Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader. A statement from her agency and management firms notes that the annual event has "a long history of booking internationally known artists.")
She'll also launch a signature fragrance that month, Beyoncé Heat, with Coty. And there's no saying that a great film script won't come along. Beyoncé's portrayal of R&B legend Etta James in 2008's "Cadillac Records" earned the best reviews of her acting career and provided something of a revelation.
"I learned that drama is probably what I'm best at. I really enjoy it, too — though it can be emotionally draining. Now I know I need to take time out for a project like that, rather than juggle it with 50 other things.
"I'm only one person."