Beyoncé Knowles (b. September 4, 1981) is an American Pop and R&B singer. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny’s Child. Knowles is the only artist in history to have all her studio albums win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album. In February 2010, the RIAA listed her as the top certified artist of the decade.
Early Life and Career
Born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles on September 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas, Knowles started singing at an early age. As a child, she competed in local talent shows, and won many of these events by impressing audiences with her natural singing and dancing abilities.
Teaming up with her cousin, Kelly Rowland, and two classmates, Beyoncé formed an all-female singing group. Her father, Matthew Knowles, served as the band’s manager. The group went through some name and line-up changes before landing a record deal in 1997 with Columbia Records. Destiny’s Child soon became one of the most popular R&B acts, with the release of their first, self-titled album. Gaining momentum, the group scored its first No. 1 single on the pop charts with “Bills, Bills, Bills,” off their second album. The recording also featured another smash hit, “Say My Name.”
While enjoying her group’s success, Beyoncé began exploring other projects. She made her acting debut in 2001 with a starring role in MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera. She then co-starred with Mike Myers in the spy parody Goldmember the following year. On the musical front, Beyoncé took center stage as a solo artist, releasing her first album, Dangerously in Love, in 2003. The recording became a huge success for her, both commercially and critically. It sold millions of copies and won five Grammy Awards. On the album, Beyoncé worked with a number of different artists, including Missy Elliott, Sean Paul and Jay-Z. She was rumored to be dating Jay-Z around this time, but the couple did not publicly acknowledge their relationship.
Destiny’s Child released their last studio album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004, and officially broke up the following year.
On her own, Beyoncé continued to enjoy great success. Her second studio album, 2006’s B’Day featured such hits as “Irreplaceable” and “Beautiful Liar.” On the big screen, she starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jaime Foxx and Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls. The film was adapted from the hit Broadway musical of the same name.
In 2008, Beyoncé married rapper and music mogul Jay-Z in a small, private ceremony in New York City. Among the guests sighted at the wedding were Beyoncé’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.
The newlywed continued to work as hard as ever, promoting her latest effort, I am … Sasha Fierce (2008). Beyoncé scored two big hits off the album—”Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and “If I Were a Boy.” She also returned to the big screen that year, starring as R&B legend Etta James in Cadillac Records. The following January, Beyoncé sang James’ trademark song, “At Last,” for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at his inaugural ball.
In addition to acting and performing, Beyoncé runs a clothing line called House of Dereon with her mother. She also launched her own fragrance, Heat, in 2010. During her career, Beyoncé has served as a spokesperson and model for several other brands, including L’Oreal and Tommy Hilfiger.
She decided to drop her father as her manager in March 2011. She began work on a new album, and was signed on as the headlining act at the Glastonbury Festival in southwest England.
Married to Jay-Z since 2008, Beyoncé was the subject of many pregnancy rumors over the years. In 2011, however, the notoriously private couple went public with the news of their impending new arrival. Beyoncé showed off her growing baby bump at the MTV Video Music Awards that August.
By the end of 2011, there had been several false reports of Beyoncé delivering her baby. She and Jay-Z finally welcomed their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, on January 7, 2012. The couple spared no expense to maintain their privacy during this special time—renting out a floor of New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital.