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.
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.
Beyoncé’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, Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé 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 charts all over the world.
In addition, the lead single on the album, 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, Beyoncé’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, Beyoncé is also not only the first, but also the only female recording artist ever to do this.
Beyoncé 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 and Best R&B Song for Crazy In Love, and Best Contemporary Album.
In 2005, Beyoncé released a song called Check On It, which became another huge hit. 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 Beyoncé 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.
Third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008) set records by winning six Grammy awards (and telling the world the, if they liked it, they should have put a ring on it). 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, Beyoncé 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, followed by the release Best Thing I Never Had. As well as performing at Glastonbury that summer, Beyoncé sang at T In The Park in Scotland and at the Oxegen Festival in Ireland.
It’s hard to believe it, but alongside her amazingly busy recording career as both a solo and group artist, Beyoncé 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 comedy 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 Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free.
In 2006, Beyoncé appeared in the movie Dreamgirls, an adaptation of the 1980s hit Broadway musical based on the lives of the Tamla Motown female group, The Supremes. Beyoncé played the part of Diana Ross, who also went on to pursue a phenomenally successful solo singing career. The movie was a massive success, with Beyoncé saying that it was 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. Eventually Dreamgirls grossed over $150 million and won two Academy Awards, including Best Song, for Listen - and was nominated for six more.
In addition to her outstandingly successful singing and acting career, Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé also expressed her interest in becoming involved in humanitarian concerns in Ethiopia.
On 5 August 2011, Beyoncé 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.
Daughter Blue Ivy Carter was born on 7 January 2012. In 2013 she released a self-titled visual album with no prior announcement. BEYONCE was followed by The Mrs Carter Show world tour, which grossed over $200 million over 60 shows.
After dropping a surprise video for the song 'Formation' in February 2016, Beyoncé performed the song during Coldplay's Super Bowl Halftime show. This was followed by the release of her 6th album 'Lemonade', which was packaged as a short film as well as an album. 'Lemonade' tackled issues such as feminism, race, and infidelity in a relationship. The album went to Number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic.