Beyonce Biography

PHOTO: Beyonce Knowles

Born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles on September 4th 1981, in Houston, Texas, she began singing with the original members of the popular R&B group Destiny's Child comprised of LaToya Luckett, Kelly Rowland and LaTavia Roberson in their teens.

The girls went through various incarnations, singing a mix of gospel, rhythm and blues, and hip hop, before they officially became Destiny's Child in 1995. Knowles' father, Mathew, served as manager of the group.

After performing in the Houston area, the group appeared on Star Search, the popular television talent competition. Although they did not win the competition, a contract with Columbia Records soon followed.

Their first release, 'Destiny's Child' (1997), was a tremendous success in Europe. Upon the album's release, the group kicked off a tour of sold-out shows there. Their second effort, 'The Writing's on the Wall' (1999), brought them wider acclaim back home. The album generated three top-ten hits on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

In 2000, despite internal conflicts that resulted in the departure of Luckett and Roberson from the group, Destiny's Child continued to promote their sophomore effort, playing as a supporting act for Christina Aguilera's summer tour.

In 2001, still calling themselves Destiny's Child, the group released their third album, Survivor. In 2004, after launching a successful solo career with 'Dangerously in Love', Knowles won five Grammy Awards, tying a record for most wins by a female artist.

Her second solo effort, 'B'Day', was released in September 2006 to coincide with the singer's twenty-fifth birthday. In its first week, 'B'Day' sold more than 540,000 copies in the U.S.

In 2008, Beyonce launched her third solo album entitled 'I Am ... Sasha Fierce'. It proved to be yet another hit with the critics and earned her six Grammy Awards. This meant the 29-year-old had become a record breaker by winning the most Grammy Awards of any female artist in one night.

During an interview for Entertainment Tonight, Knowles confirmed that she is currently writing songs for, and producing her latest album, which she said is a mixture of all the genres she respects. She also said that the music was not R&B or pop.

Beyonce also made a start in acting, making her debut in MTV's 'Hip Hopera: Carmen' in 2001 and co-starring as Foxxy Cleopatra in Mike Myers' James Bond parody 'Goldmember' in 2002. Other films include 2004's 'The Fighting Temptations' and 2006's 'The Pink Panther'.

Her starring role as Deena Jones, a Diana Ross-like character in the big-screen adaptation of the 1981 Broadway hit musical 'Dreamgirls', earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2006. Beyoncé's song 'Listen' was nominated for an Academy Award.

Warner Bros has announced that Clint Eastwood will be directing Beyonce in her latest film project, 'A Star is Born'. The film tells the story of an alcoholic falling star, played by Kris Kristofferson in the 1976 version, and a young female artist who was played by Barbara Streisand in the Seventies remake of the 1930s original, however the filming was postponed in 2011 due to the singer's pregnancy.

Knowles' has been romantically linked to hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, since September 2002. They performed together in music videos for two of her hit singles, 'Crazy in Love' and 'Deja Vu'. The couple married in April 2008. Among the guests sighted at the wedding were Beyonce's mother Tina Knowles, her father and manager Matthew, her sister Solange, Destiny's Child members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, and friend Gwyneth Paltrow.

In a recent interview, Paltrow described her friend Beyonce as the "most talented human being on the planet". She admitted to respecting the singer's talent and said that the "mastery over what she does" goes beyond confidence, and she described it instead as "on a while other level" and "mind-blowing".

The group’s next album, Survivor, was another huge success for the girls and made number One on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as well as the UK and Canadian Albums Charts. The tracks “Independent Woman Part I” and “Bootylicious” zoomed straight to the top of the Hot 100, while the title track, “Survivor”, reached number Two. By the time Destiny’s Child announced their intention to disband in 2005, they had established themselves as one of the most famous and top-selling female groups in recording history.

Beyonce’s individual career went from strength to strength, as she earned awards for her skills as a songwriter, as well as a singer. In 2001, she won the award for “Songwriter of The Year”, given to her by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Pop Music Awards, thus becoming the very first African-American woman to receive this award, and only the second woman ever to do so.

In addition to her singing and performing commitments with Destiny’s Child, Beyonce was also carving out time to work on solo recording projects. In July 2000, she released her debut solo single, “I Got That”, featuring the rapper Amil, but the single did not sell particularly well. Refusing to be discouraged, Beyonce persevered, and in late spring 2003, she released her debut solo album, called Dangerously in Love. This time, her solo work was a massive success, right from the word go. The album burst into the Billboard 200, going straight to Number One, and sold over 300,000 copies in its first week alone, and making platinum just three short weeks later, in June 2003. Phenomenally, the album went on to top the album charts all over the world.

In addition, the lead single on the album, which was a number called “Crazy in Love” soon became one of the biggest hits of that year. The song stayed at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks running, and topped the singles charts in the UK and Ireland, as well as the USA. But even greater successes were still to come! That year, Beyonce’s single and album topped both charts at the same time, making her the first artist to achieve this astonishing level of sales since the Beatles, Rod Stewart and Simon and Garfunkel in the Sixties and Seventies. To date, Beyonce is also not only the first, but also the only female recording artist ever to do this.

Beyonce was thus one of the biggest-selling artists of 2003, so it was hardly a surprise when she won no less than five Grammy Awards for her solo singing at the 2004 Grammy Awards ceremony: these awards included “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” for Dangerously in Love”, “Best R&B Song” for “Crazy In Love”, and “Best Contemporary Album”.

In 2005, Beyonce released a song called “Check On It”, which was featured in the Destiny’s Child greatest hits compilation, and which subsequently became the soundtrack to the movie The Pink Panther, which came out in 2006. This track became another huge hit for Beyonce. Also in 2006, she released her second studio album, called B’Day, which was launched on 4 September, to coincide with her 25th birthday. It sold even better than its predecessors; in the first week alone, sales reached 541,000 copies in the US, giving Beyonce her highest first-week sales ever. The album’s lead single, “Deja Vu”, also became a number One hit on the US R&B charts.

It’s hard to believe it, but alongside her amazingly busy recording career as both a solo and group artist, Beyonce also found time to launch yet another career - this time as a movie actress. In 2001, she co-starred with actor Mekhi Phifer in the MTV Tv movie, “Carmen: A Hip Hopera”. In summer 2002, she appeared in the highly successful movie, Austin Powers in Goldmember, where she played the part of Foxxy Cleopatra, alongside Michael Caine and Mike Myers. In 2003, she appeared with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie The Fighting Temptations, and recorded a track of the same name with female rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free.

Most recently, Beyonce appeared in a movie called Dreamgirls, which is a movie adaptation of the 1980s hit Broadway musical based on the lives of the Tamla Motown female group, The Supremes. In this film, Beyonce played the part of Diana Ross, who also went on to pursue a phenomenally successful solo singing career. The movie Dreamgirls was a massive success, and Beyonce has gone on record as saying that this is her “first real acting film”. The film was released in December 2006, and opened at number three in the movie charts with an $8 million dollar opening weekend. So far, Dreamgirls has grossed over $100 million and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Song, for “Listen” - for which it won two awards.

In addition to her outstandingly successful singing and acting career, Beyonce has also devoted a considerable amount of time and money to various charitable concerns. As part of Destiny’s Child, who recorded a song called “Stand Up For Love”, Beyonce lent her support as a world ambassador for the 2005 World Children’s Day programme of events. In conjunction with Kelly Rowland, her parents Matthew and Tina Knowles, as well as her sister Solange Knowles, Beyonce helped establish the Survivor Foundation, to help give aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the storm evacuees in the Houston area. On a visit to Ethiopia, where she performed and met the President Girma Wolde-Giorgis, Beyonce also expressed her interest in becoming involved in humanitarian concerns in Ethiopia.

In 2010, Knowles teamed up with Lady Gaga for the hit song 'Telephone', which reached number one in the US charts and received a Grammy nomination that year for best pop collaboration with vocals.

The singer was later that year named by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful women in the world. She was also featured in the publication's list of high earners.

In 2011, it was announced that the singer would no longer be managed by her father. Knowles' publicist said in a statement that the pair have gone their separate ways "on a business level".

In June 2011, Beyonce made history when she became the first female in 20 years to headline at Glastonbury Festival. Her energetic performance was widely praised and Knowles described the gig as a "dream" come true. "I felt like a rock star, and the crowd, they looked like rock stars, and I'm just so honoured, really. This is... the highlight of my career."

Her fourth studio album as a solo artist was released on 24 June 2011. '4' debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 310,000 copies in the first week alone, making her the second female and third overall musician to have their first four albums go straight to number one.

The lead single 'Run the World (girls)' debuted at number 29 on the charts, the singer's lowest debut during her solo career. This was followed by the release 'Best Thing I Never Had' on 1 June 2011.

As well as performing at Glastonbury in 2011, Beyonce sang at T in the Park in Scotland and at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland.

On 5 August 2011, Beyonce revealed she was pregnant with her first child with husband Jay-Z at the MTV European Music Video Awards.

She showed off her small baby bump in an orange Lanvin gown on the red carpet and later performed her single 'Love on Top'. Her announcement broke records on Twitter in terms of most tweets per second, reaching 8,836 posts.

Since then, the singer has revealed that she is expecting her baby in February and will be designing a maternity wear clothing line.

Meanwhile, Beyonce has been showing off her fashion credentials by wearing unusual maternity clothes, including leather hotpants and short dresses.

In September 2011, Beyonce launched her third fragrance, called Pulse, in New York wearing a sparkling blue mini-dress.

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