Beyonce Knowles - Biography & Career
Beyonce Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas) is an African-American R&B singer, actress, and chief songwriter and producer in the group Destiny's Child. In a Universal Music poll conducted earlier this year, Beyonce beat out Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to be crowned the Princess of Pop.
She is usually referred to
by only her first name, Beyonce, which is her stage name, but has come to be called "Beyonce Knowles" by many in the media. Her debut solo album, 2003's Dangerously In Love, topped both the R&B and pop charts in America, as well as the main album charts in Canada and the UK. The album has spawned four top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 including "Crazy In Love" featuring boyfriend [[Jay-Z], "Baby Boy" featuring Sean Paul, "Me Myself & I", and "Naughty Girl" all of which were back-to-back multi-week number ones on said chart during last summer and fall. Beyonce has won five Grammy Awards for her solo work and three as a member of Destiny's Child. As a teen, she attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, where she honed her musical talents.
Beyonce and Destiny's Child toured as an opening act for both Christina Aguilera and TLC before their first album, also called Destiny's Child. The band is managed by her father, Matthew Knowles, who is acknowledged as a strong force in Beyonce's life. Beyonce is the main songwriter for the group and is generally regarded as its leader. The group has currently returned from a hiatus since 2001, when its three current members, Beyonce, Rowland, and Michelle Williams, each decided to temporarily pursue solo careers.
The group's self-titled album, released in 1998, was produced by Wyclef Jean and Jermaine Dupri and featured the platinum-selling, number one Hot 100 single "No, No, No". The album itself also went platinum. Destiny Child's second album The Writing's On The Wall released in 1999 featured two number one hits in "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name". ("Bug-A-Boo" and "Jumpin' Jumpin'" were also popular singles off the album.) "Say My Name" won two awards at the 2001 Grammys for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best R&B Song, the latter of which was awarded to the songwriters, which included Beyonce herself.
The next album, Survivor, proved to be another smash, going to number one on both the American Billboard 200 and R&B Albums charts, and on the Canadian album chart, as well as being generally successful around the world. Two singles from the album went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100: "Independent Women" (Part 1) and "Bootylicious", with the album's title track reaching number 2. "Independent Women" (Part 1) had been the theme song for Charlie's Angels in late 2000, prior to the album's 2001 release. The title track "Survivor" would win the band their second Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album's fourth and final single, "Emotions", was a cover of the Bee Gees hit of the same name; it continued the group's impressive string of top ten hits.
In 2004 they have announced that they will release two more albums. The first, Destiny Fulfilled has been released, along with the first singles: "Lose My Breath", "Soldier" and "Girl". All of these reached the top 10 Billboard album and singles charts respectively.
In 2001, Beyonce won the Songwriter of the Year award, from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Pop Music Awards. She is the first African American woman and the second woman of any race to win the award.
Beyonce then turned to acting, starring in MTV's "Carmen" without any previous training. In the summer of 2002, Beyonce co-starred in the film Austin Powers in Goldmember opposite Mike Myers' role of Austin Powers, as Foxxy Cleopatra. She also recorded a song and produced a music video, called "Work It Out", for the movie soundtrack. "Work It Out" was a top 10 hit in the UK and a top 40 hit in the Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland, despite being Beyonce's biggest flop to date in her home country; in America, radio barely played the song and the video received very minor exposure, only on digital video channels, MTV Jams and VH1 Soul.
During the fall of 2002, Beyonce was the featured vocalist on Jay-Z's smash single, "'03 Bonnie And Clyde". The couple are engaged, and current rumours say that they will marry soon.
In the spring of 2003, Beyonce remade a duet with Luther Vandross, called "The Closer I Get To You", originally performed by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. In this version, the vocal parts are flipped around, with Luther taking Roberta's part and Beyonce taking Donny's. The song was included both on her debut solo album and on Luther's Dance With My Father set, and they shared the Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.
In 2003, Beyonce released her debut solo album Dangerously In Love. Its first single, "Crazy In Love", featured a guest rap from Jay-Z and rapidly became one of the biggest hits of that summer, staying at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart for ten weeks. Dangerously In Love went to the top of the album charts in the UK and Canada, as well as on both the American pop (Billboard 200) and R&B charts. This album has sold in excess of 6 million copies worldwide. When single and album simultaneously topped the pop charts in both the US and the UK, she became the first act to achieve this feat since Men At Work in 1983 - in the '60s and '70s, it was performed by the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Rod Stewart.
On the televised celebration of July 4 in 2003, Beyonce came under controversy from the Grant Memorial Association for her performance of "Crazy In Love", in which she danced in a "patently inappropriate" way on the steps of the tomb of President Ulysses S. Grant. President Grant's great-grandsons Ulysses Grant Dietz and Chapman Foster Grant, spoke up on Knowles' behalf. "The way the world is now, who cares?" said Chapman Grant, "who knows? If the old guy were alive, he might have enjoyed it."
Towards the end of the summer, "Baby Boy", Dangerously In Love's second single, which featured reggae star Sean Paul, began to climb the charts. It, too, went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2003, dominating radio airplay for the fall of 2003.
Around the same time, Beyonce starred in the movie The Fighting Temptations opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. and recorded a song for it called "Fighting Temptation", with rappers Missy Elliott, Free, and MC Lyte. Unlike Beyonce's own singles, the song did not become popular, although the movie was a moderate success.
Fresh off the success of "Baby Boy", Beyonce released her third solo single, "Me Myself And I" towards the end of 2003; Dangerously In Love's fourth single, "Naughty Girl", came out in mid-2004. Both have also made the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Beyonce currently is in pre-production for The Pink Panther in the role of Xania, appearing opposite Steve Martin who plays Inspector Clouseau. The film is scheduled for release in 2005.