Beyonce is releasing her new album, '4,' this month, and Essence is celebrating the 29-year-old by featuring the R&B diva as its July cover girl.

In the cover story, which she wrote herself, Beyonce opens up about everything from taking much needed time off to spending quality time with her family. In the article entitled 'Eat, Play, Love,' the singer opens up about her nine-month break from the industry, as well as her husband, Jay-Z.

"I had talked about taking a vacation before, but always ended up in the studio after two weeks, so no one believed me," she says. "This time, though, I was serious. I was going to give myself a year to do the things I never get to do."

In that time Beyonce enjoyed the simple things in life, such as spending time with her nephew, indulging in the arts, learning how to cook and, of course, bonding with her husband.

"Yes, I needed some relaxation, but I wanted inspiration too, from regular everyday things," she adds. "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..."

The July issue of Essence is on newsstands now. Beyonce's fourth studio album, '4,' drops on June 24.

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