Beyoncé at MTV Studios on May 23, 2003, shortly before her first solo album was released
Dimitrios Kambouris—WireImage / Getty Images
September 4, 2014 12:27 PM EDT

Everybody gets older — even Beyoncé, who celebrates her 33rd birthday Thursday.

But while it’s a common stereotype that female celebrities want to stay young forever, the truth may be just the opposite for her. (And not just because she makes sure to remind listeners not to forget the date 9-4-81 on songs like “Get Me Bodied.”)

In 2003, when the singer’s debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, was just about to hit shelves, she suggested in an interview with TIME that she was actually interested in getting older, not younger. It wasn’t the first time her name appeared in the magazine: In 2001, an article about Destiny’s Child’s Grammy nominations and intra-group disputes stated that she had officially “earned the right to go by a single name.” But even after she struck out on her own, the then-21-year-old was still worried about making the right impression. “If you listen to the album, you’ll see that I’ve evolved into a woman,” the singer, who was already rumored to be linked to her now-husband Jay Z, told TIME — but writer Josh Tyrangiel observed that some of the songs sound like they’re about what she “imagines women go through” and that at times “it’s as if she mistook seriousness for maturity.”

But, she said, that was what she was going for:

From the June 30, 2003, issue of

So, happy birthday, Beyoncé. As with every birthday, it comes with getting older, which is just what you wanted. Leave it to Queen Bey to make being a grown woman desirable in an industry that worships youth — and to have started on that track even before she was a grown woman herself.

And now that you have one wish settled, check out’s list of 33 more birthday wishes for Beyoncé.

Read the full 2003 interview with Beyoncé here, in TIME’s archives: Destiny’s Adult

Write to Lily Rothman at

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