Destiny's Adult

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FRED PROUSER/REUTERS

Material Girl: She wrote- and recorded- 43 songs for her debut; 15 made the final cut

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Beyonce admits that she wanted to sound old. She originally nixed the track Daddy (sample lyric: "I want my unborn son to be like my daddy") because she thought it made her seem immature. It's plenty corny, but it's also the one song on Dangerously in Love that reflects her life at this transitional moment, as she arrives at adulthood in a very public way. She's still not sure it was a good idea to include Daddy. "So I put it last," she says with a laugh so forceful, she tips over sideways onto a restaurant banquette. "They can find it if they want. I think it's a beautiful song, but it's really personal, and people don't want to hear that all the time. Anybody who wants to skip it, I'm not mad at them. I've got tons of songs — enough to maybe put out another solo album in December — and they're gonna like some of them."

She's slightly less confident about her film career. Her Pam Grier — inspired Foxxy Cleopatra was the only thing in Goldmember that didn't mug the camera, and her hip-hop Carmen (in a 2001 MTV movie) showed a likeness to Dorothy Dandridge. Beyonce thinks maybe she can act. But she would much rather find out for sure in low-expectation, late-summer movies like The Fighting Temptations. (She plays an unmarried small-town singer kicked out of the church choir after she has a child.) "I wanted to do something that wasn't glamorous," she says, "because Foxxy Cleopatra was so over the top. And I didn't want to star ... or at least I wanted another star around to take the pressure off. I need to wait a couple more movies to make sure I know what I'm doing before I take over." Oh, yeah, and then she laughed.

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