SaturdaySep 23, 20238:00 PM
Put all of it aside for a moment: the fact she and her family are as close as we get to royalty, and that we swoon breathlessly over Instagrams as they tour the most beautiful spots on the planet, often by yacht. Strip it all aside and what do you have? Simply one of the most dynamic and engaged concert performers of her (or any) generation, singing songs that are full of joy and empowerment with a voice that even detractors recognize as both a technical and emotional wonder. Beyonce Knowles's evolution from new soul prodigy (she started in the band that would become Destiny's Child when she was eight and scored her first top 10 hit "No, No, No" when she was 16) to the standard bearer among modern performers has been staggering to witness. Just look at the numbers: 17 Grammy Awards to go with 44 nominations, over 180 million records sold with both Destiny's Child and as a solo-artist, and enough top ten singles, awards, and accolades to fill the Barclays Center, which is partially owned by her husband Jay Z. But numbers don't define Beyonce, whose self-titled fifth album includes collaborations with Justin Timberlake and Pharrell. Neither does her lifestyle. This is an artist who proves herself in performance after performance, with dance routines that are as athletic as they are stirring, and a mezzo-soprano voice that can reach the back rows while burrowing into your heart. Beyonce's ultimate legacy will not be measured in money or No. 1 hits but in how she has come to redefine what it means to be a diva, using her confidence and power of personal expression to forge a connection with ticket buyers, even as they look on in awe. Bey thrilled fans at Super Bowl 50 with a flawless performance of her uncompromising new single "Formation", and she'll continue to slay on the 2016 Formation World Tour.