Beyonce Hits Milestone

Sept. 7, 2006 — -- She can shake her hips and belt out a tune with the best of them, but there's more to Beyonce than meets the eye.

At 25, Beyonce has grown up, and her music has, too.

In a recent interview with "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer, the hip-hop and pop-music princess revealed the legends and history that had influenced her new album, "B'Day."

"I wanted to be more like Josephine Baker, because she didn't, she seemed like she just was possessed and it seemed like she just danced from her, her heart, and everything was so free," she said.

Baker -- a famous Parisian dancer of the 1920s -- advocated equal rights and refused to perform in segregated nightclubs.

Beyonce echoed her beliefs.

"This record sounds like a woman possessed. It sounds like a woman that is kind of desperate, and I wanted it to just come from the soul. I just did whatever happened there," she said.

Personal Idols

Legends factor into Beyonce's music in a big way.

Besides Baker, she has paid homage to Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.

Beyonce also looked to her family's heroes for inspiration.

"My grandmother and my grandfather worked really, really hard. They put their kids through private school," she said. "My grandmother worked and cleaned up for the private schools to make sure that her children went in and were educated."

Not only did her grandmother work hard to send her children to school, she made everything they wore.

"She made all of my, my aunts and my mother's and my uncles, she made all of their clothes and my mother's making mine. And one day when I have time to learn to sew," Beyonce said.

On Screen and in Life

For now, "B" -- as she's called by her friends -- is keeping busy with her new album and a new movie.

In "Dreamgirls," due out in December, Beyonce plays Deena, a character not unlike Diana Ross.

Deena's tough, fierce, and determined not to lose.

Beyonce, however, wasn't always so fierce during the making of the movie.

"I was definitely scared before we started filming. During all the rehearsals and I was very nervous before I read for the part," she said.

"And even the first day, you know, I was terrified. I was like, 'They, they made a mistake. I'm not supposed to be here, looking at Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx and Danny Glover.' And every day, there was tears."

Beyonce lost 25 pounds for the role, fasting for two weeks on a diet of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water.

After that, she adopted a more traditional meal plan.

"I did protein shakes and vegetables and organic meat with no fat and only fish and it was, it was tough, because I'm a Southern girl and I love to eat," she said.

Which is why after "Dreamgirls" finished shooting, Beyonce was happy to chow down and get back to her normal weight.

"I didn't feel like myself. And this album was my release. That's why it's so aggressive. Because I had been in Deena's body or Deena had been in me for so long that I -- I had all these emotions that I, in my life, don't, didn't feel," she said.

She fused that fire into her music, recording "B'Day" in a secret studio session far away from her record label and manager father.

On the eve of her birthday, Beyonce came into her own.

"Ultimately the character Deena's dreams were to be herself," she said.

"And I felt like, you know, it's OK for me to go in the studio and it's OK for me to just play and make it all about the music again."