Despite all the hard work she put in on the songs and videos from her new album, Beyonce had her doubts minutes before its surprise release.
"I was terrified. I was so scared. I already envisioned like the worst things that could happen," Beyonce said Saturday at a screening for her new music videos. "I was really nervous because this was a huge risk."
The singer's fifth album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week after it was released without the public knowing. "Beyonce" sold 617,000 units in the U.S. in a week; it has sold more than 1 million albums worldwide.
The album includes 14 songs and 17 videos, which fans were able to see during the screening at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Beyonce answered fans' questions via Instagram, including one about her opening up personally on the new album.
"I'm very private and I'm very respectful, and I think it just took me no longer being someone's child — once I became a mother, I felt like I could tear those fourth walls and I just felt like it was time," she said. "I completely feel liberated."
The album features collaborations with her husband Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Drake and her daughter, Blue Ivy. "Beyonce" is the follow-up to 2011's "4," the first album the singer released on her production company, Parkwood Entertainment, after parting ways professionally with her father-manager, Mathew Knowles.
"I felt like I wanted follow in the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire," she said to cheers from the crowd. "And (to) show other women when you get to this point in your career, you don't have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success, you can do it yourself."
The album's unconventional release became one of the year's top pop culture and social media moments. Beyonce, 32, said she became bored in the music industry after her last release, and the new album is a reflection of experimentation and growth.
"Honestly I was at a point where I felt like, you know, everything feels the same ... that's how I felt and if I could not challenge that, then maybe it's time for me to do something else or develop more artists, which is something I want to do," she said. "I just hope that I continue to move forward and challenge myself, and I think now that I've become a mother, I just want my legacy to inspire people."
She added that the goal of the new album was not to produce No. 1 hits, but to showcase her evolution and create her own lane.
"I took all of my insecurities, all of my doubts, all of my fears and everything I've learned over the 17 years and I applied it into this project," she said. "But more than the music — I'm proud of myself as a woman ... the biggest message is owning your imperfections and all the things that make you interesting, because I refuse to allow someone to put me in anyone's box.