Beyoncé is the closest someone can get to perfection. She is beautiful, intelligent, can sing, dance, act, and also take care of a business empire. Beyoncé has a massive fan following. She is one of the most successful music artists the industry has ever seen and enjoys the distinction of being the most nominated female in the awards history. She has 22 Grammy and 24 MTV Video Music Awards, the highest for any artist. She was also Forbes’ most powerful woman of 2015. She is an incredible inspiration, who keeps getting better with each year.
Beyoncé’s Early Life
Beyoncé was born to Celestine and Mathew Knowles as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas. While her mother owned a salon, her father was a sales manager with Xerox. Beyoncé has a younger sister, Solange, who is also a singer and used to be a member of the now famous group, Destiny’s Child. In fact, they are the first pair of sisters ever to have No.1 albums to their credit.
Beyoncé enrolled in dance classes at a young age when she was attending Houston’s St. Mary’s Montessori School. Darlette Johnson, her dance instructor, was the first person to recognize the talent in young Beyoncé. The little girl used to complete the songs of her instructors and even touch high notes, which surprised Darlette.
Beyoncé’s Early Career
While her schooling was taken care of, Beyoncé had already started working on her music dreams outside of school. When she was 8, Beyoncé and her close friend, Kelly Rowland, appeared to audition for an entertainment group. During these auditions, they met LaTavia Roberson, and these three girls were placed in the 6-member group called Girl’s Tyme. This group became popular in the Houston show circuit for their raps and dance performances. It was here that they caught Arne Frager’s eye, who entered them into the famous talent show, Star Search.
In 1995, Beyoncé’s father left his career as sales manager to manage his daughter’s group. This move put a lot of financial strain on Beyoncé’s family and broke their family. However, by 1996, things started looking up for them as the group started recording their first album with Sony Music and the family came together once again. The very same year, the girls managed to clinch a deal with Columbia Records, and never looked back again.
1996 finally saw the birth of Destiny’s Child, a name they picked out of the Book of Isiah. Their first major song was called Killing Time and featured in the 1997 blockbuster, Men in Black. It was in 1997 that the group decided to release their namesake album and got their first big success with No, No, No. This hit got them three Soul Train Awards for the Best R&B Single, the Best R&B Album of the Year, and the Best R&B New Artist.
This brought some major recognition for the group and they became a brand in themselves. In 1999, Destiny’s Child released their second album, The Writing’s On the Wall. This was the album that featured the group’s first chart-topping single – Bills, Bills, Bills. Say My Name, another single from this album, won two Grammy Awards. The success of the group presented a lot of new opportunities to its members. Beyoncé got an opportunity for a duet with Marc Nelson in The Best Man, a movie released in 1999.
2000 was a tough time for Destiny’s Child because two members of the group, Roberson and LeToya Luckett, started having issues with the way Mathew was managing the group. They were eventually replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. However, Farrah would not last long. The paparazzi blamed Beyoncé for the split and she was also going through a break-up at the time. All the negativity weighed heavily on her and she later confessed that the situation made her slip into depression that would last for years. Her mother was the primary driving force behind her coming out of the dark times in her life.
With only three members remaining in the group, they recorded their next super successful single, Independent Women Part I, which also appeared in the 2000 movie, Charlie’s Angels. After winding up her third album, Beyoncé decided to branch out a little. In 2001, she signed a TV movie, Carmen: A Hip Hopera, opposite Mekhi Phifer.
The same year, their third album, aptly named Survivor, was also released. With all-time favorites like Bootylicious and of course, Survivor in the playlist, it sold over 650,000 copies in the first week itself. This album also became a bone of contention between Destiny’s Child and the former group members.
The latter sued the group stating that the album was targeting them. With the release of 8 Days of Christmas, later in 2001, the members declared that they were taking a break to focus on their individual careers.
Beyoncé aggressively pursued both her acting and singing career. She was seen in the hit movie Austin Powers in Goldmember playing the part of Foxxy Cleopatra and got the part of Lily in the movie, The Fighting Temptations. She then released two singles, Work It Out and Fighting Temptation, and also contributed to Summertime. She later appeared in JayZ’s 03 Bonnie & Clyde the same year. The song climbed up to No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 2003, Beyoncé finally came out with her first solo album, Dangerously in Love. It was certified platinum five times and also won her 5 Grammy Awards. As a solo artist, Beyoncé garnered a kind of fame that might have been impossible as part of a group. Clearly, pursuing a solo career has been one of her smartest moves. She became a brand unto herself.
The final album from Destiny’s Child was titled Destiny Fulfilled and it came out in 2005. The group formally broke apart the next year. This was also the year that Beyoncé released her second solo album, B’Day that sold over half a million copies in its first week. Incidentally, the release also coincided with her 25th birthday. In 2006, Beyoncé appeared in The Pink Panther with Steve Martin and then later in Dreamgirls. Her acting chops were appreciated by the critics and both the movies were commercial successes too.
I Am….Sasha Fierce came next in 2008. This album became her third straight No.1 solo album in the States. With over 7 million copies sold, it was a huge hit. It was the track, Single Ladies that stole the limelight. The video for the song also won the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for the Video of the Year. Suddenly, Single Ladies was everywhere.
Other artists were releasing their own versions of the song, and it was a big craze for a long time. 2008 was a magical year for Beyoncé. She was doing great on the professional front and took her relationship with JayZ to the next level by marrying him. With six Grammy awards, she became the female artist to win the most Grammy Awards in a single night.
All this while, she was also doing roles in movies like Cadillac Records and Obsessed. In 2010, Beyoncé announced that she was going to take a break from her music career. A break that lasted almost nine months saw Beyoncé ending professional ties with her father and also visiting Europe, Australia, Egypt, and China. In 2011, Beyoncé released her next album, 4. It was a mash up of multiple genres of music.
In 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to her first child, Blue Ivy Carter. Her first performance after the delivery was at The Ovation Hall in Revel Atlantic. In 2013, the singer performed at the second inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.
The same year, she released her fifth album on the iTunes Store. It came as a huge surprise to her fans, because she did not promote the album at all. Despite the absence of any promotion, the album managed to shoot up to charts and opened at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, just like all her previous releases. In 2016, Beyoncé released Lemonade exclusively on Tidal, which was also a chart-topper.
Beyoncé’s Personal Life
Apart from being a talented singer and actress, she is a successful business woman. She has her own line of women’s fashion, footwear, and many other business interests. Beyoncé is also a well-known philanthropist. She always contributes to funds that support people affected by natural calamities. In addition, she is an advocate for tighter gun-control laws and supports charities that work for women’s education.
Undoubtedly, Beyoncé is one of the most successful and popular music stars of the last decade. She is supremely talented and is ready to put in the hard work necessary to remain on top of the rest.