Singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, fashion designer, model, record producer, philanthropist, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born on September 4, 1981 to Matthew and Tina Knowles in Houston, Texas. The Grammy winning beauty is best known for her work in the Grammy winning R&B group Destiny’s Child and her immensely successful solo career.
At a young age, Beyoncé took an interest in dance and singing. When she was seven, Bee was performing a solo in her church choir and started taking lessons at a dance school where her teacher really took notice in her. Her teacher had her compete in various dance competitions, resulting in Beyoncé winning over thirty local dancing and singing contests.
Not long after, Beyoncé’s former friend LaTavia Roberson introduced her to Kelly Rowland, and later met LaToya Luckett, and they started their own singing group. The girls started performing in the back of Tina Knowles’s hair salon. After debating on various names, the girls named themselves “Girl’s Tyme” and got gigs at local events. But their big break came when they landed on the hit reality talent show “Star Search.” Sadly, Girl’s Tyme did not win, disappointing the girls. In order to help the girls make it in the music business, Matthew Knowles quit his six-figure job and became the girl’s full-time manager. This move hurt the family, causing their income to decrease and forcing them to live in separate apartments. But that would not stay that way for very long.
In 1997, the group signed with Columbia Records. Beyoncé, who attended the High School of the Performing and Visual Arts and Alief Elsik High School in Houston, was on her way too her international stardom, though it might not have seemed too apparent at the time. The name Girl’s Tyme changed to Destiny’s Child, and their career began. After mixed reviews of their 1998 self-titled debut album, the single “No, No, No: Part 2,” did very well, but the group’s other singles failed to meet it’s status. Destiny’s Child started getting labeled a one-hit wonder. But the girls quickly released their second album, “The Writing’s On The Wall” in 1999, which was met with great success. However, two of the group members, LaTavia and LaToya, were not happy with the way Beyoncé’s father had so much control of the group, the dispensing of profits, and the fact that Beyoncé had been favored the most. The two girls left, causing the group to be in need of new members. Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin joined for the “Say My Name” video, but Farrah left after that. This left only Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle, who went on to find huge success with the 2001 album “Survivor.” The album went to number one and produced four hits, besides reaching 4X Platinum status.
In 2002, Destiny’s Child decided to start focusing on solo careers, and that produced Beyoncé’s big break. She did vocals on Jay-Z’s hit song “’03 Bonnie and Clyde” and Luther Vandross’ 2003 “The Closer I Get To You.” Beyoncé’s movie career also took off in 2002. She starred as Foxxy Cleopatra in the summer’s hit “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” She also recorded the featured song for this movie, “Work It Out,” though the song was not a big hit, resulting in it being Beyoncé’s biggest disappointment as her music career goes, not getting much play time on the radio or music channels. The following year, she also starred in “The Fighting Temptations” with Cuba Gooding Jr., as Lilly. However, that movie didn’t do well, only reaching a moderate success and receiving bad reviews.
But 2003 is when Beyoncé achieved her superstar status. She released her first solo album “Dangerously In Love,” reaching number one it’s first week of release and certified 3X Platinum three weeks after it’s release on June 22, 2003. The first single off the album, “Crazy In Love,” which featured Jay-Z, stayed in the top spot of Billboard’s Hot 100 for eight weeks. Near the end of the summer, the second single “Baby Boy,” featuring Sean Paul, was released and ended spending nine weeks at number one, making it one of the biggest hits on the year. Her next two singles from the album, “Me, Myself, and I” and “Naughty Girl” came out in 2004, also doing very well.
In 2004, Beyoncé won a record 5 Grammy awards in just one night for her solo career work. She shares this honor with three other female artists. That year, Destiny’s Child got back together to record their fourth album. “Destiny Fulfilled” was released in November 2004. This album featured more of a harder, urban sound than the others. Unlike the other DC albums, Beyoncé was not the central figure for this one. The album did extremely well, certified triple Platinum by early 2005.
In summer 2005, Destiny’s Child announced something that surprised quite a few people. The three girls decided that they were breaking up to pursue their own personal solo careers. After their world tour in fall 2005, the group ended their band, releasing their album of all their number one hits, “#1’s,” which featured the Beyoncé’s song “Check On It” from the next movie she starred in, 2006’s “The Pink Panther.” This song resulted in her third number one hit. The film, where Beyoncé played Xania, an international pop superstar, became her second movie success.
Beyoncé released her sophomore album in September 2006, “B’Day.” The album was recorded in a short time so her father wouldn’t find out and was released for her 25th birthday. The album entered in at number one, selling over half a million copies in its first week, making it the highest selling album by a female solo artist in 2006. The songs released from it, “Déjà Vu,” “Ring The Alarm,” and “Irreplaceable” all became hits, with “Déjà Vu” and “Ring The Alarm” getting big before the album was even released. In December 2006, Beyoncé starred in the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls,” starring as Deena Jones. Bee called this movie her first real acting film. The movie also got her two Golden Globe nominations, Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Original Song for “Listen.”
In 2007, Beyoncé won a Grammy for her album “B’Day” and announced plans to record and release her third solo album. She also was called the “Fantasy Girlfriend” by AskMen.com.
Besides her success in music and movie, Beyoncé also helps out with various charities. She wrote the song “Stand Up For Love” for children’s causes. She also helped out with Hurricane Katrina victims, starting The Survivor Foundation with Kelly Rowland, Matthew Knowles, and Tina Knowles.
However, like most celebrities, Beyoncé does have controversy attached to her. PETA has attacked her for many things, especially for the use of fur in her fashion line, “House Of Deréon.” They have also attacked her about abusing a baby alligator. During a photo shoot for “B’Day,” Beyoncé was doing shots where she had to hold a baby alligator, and she had the mouth taped shut so it couldn’t attack. PETA contacted a biologist about this, who wrote a letter to Knowles telling her that what she did was animal abuse. PETA continues to try and stop her use of furs in her clothing line, doing whatever they can to contact her.
Beyoncé went from being a Southern girl with dreams of doing what she loved to an international superstar and sex symbol. And with all her talent and success, she doesn’t have any signs of quitting while she is so hot.