“I had talked about taking a vacation before, but always ended up in the studio after two weeks, so no one believed me. This time, though, I was serious. I was going to give myself a year to do the things I never get to do. Simple things like play with my nephew, pick him up from school, visit museums, go to concerts, see some Broadway shows, learn to cook a meal and spend time with my husband… Yes, I needed some relaxation, but I wanted inspiration too, from regular everyday things. They did not have to be over-the-top productions. I was looking for tiny moments that would speak to my heart and make me smile…” –Beyonce, ESSENCE

In an ESSENCE exclusive, Beyonce pens her very first cover story, “Eat, Play, Love” — and in her own words shares how a nine-month break and life’s simple pleasures reignited her creativity and renewed her soul.

For years, the only offstage glimpses we’ve had of the Grammy-winning singer, actress and all-around megastar have been paparazzi snapshots of her living the fabulous life; the yachts, the shopping, the courtside seats with her husband, Jay-Z.

Now, with a new life filled with its own thunder and applause, and on the eve of her fourth solo studio album, “4,” she is stepping up to a new kind of power.

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