Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas) is
an American R&B and pop singer, actress, and chief songwriter, and producer
in the group Destiny's Child.
Knowles is usually referred to by her first name only, Beyoncé,
which is now her stage name, but has come to be called Beyoncé 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 spawned four top-five
singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including the multi-week number ones "Crazy
in Love" featuring boyfriend Jay-Z and "Baby Boy" featuring
Sean Paul, as well as "Me, Myself & I", and "Naughty
Girl". Beyoncé 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. She later went to Alief Elsik High School,
also in Houston. She graduated from Elsik in 2000.
Beyoncé and Destiny's Child toured as an opening act for both
Christina Aguilera and TLC before their self-titled debut album Destiny's
Child was released. The band is managed by her father, Matthew Knowles,
who is acknowledged as a strong force in Beyoncé's life. Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and
Michelle Williams, each decided to temporarily pursue solo careers.
Their 1998 platinum-selling debut album was produced by Wyclef Jean
and Jermaine Dupri and featured the platinum-selling, number one1 Hot
100 single "No, No, No". 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 from the album. "Say My
Name" won two awards at the 2001 Grammy Awards 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 Beyoncé herself.
Their next album, Survivor, proved to be another smash, going to number
one on both the American Billboard 200 and R&B Albums charts, as
well as the Canadian album chart. Two singles from the album went to
the top of the Hot 100: "Independent Women" (Part 1) and "Bootylicious",
with the album's title track reaching number two. "Independent
Women" (Part 1) had been the theme song for Charlie's Angels in
late 2000, before the album's 2001 release. The title track "Survivor" would
win the group 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, the group began receiving threats from an obsessed fan from
San Diego, California named LaToya Langford. Primarily aimed at Beyoncé,
the threats caused major setbacks for the group. Langford continued
the threats, until her arrest on August 23, 2004 at her San Diego home.
Langford's arrest, safety seemed apparent and the release of Destiny
Fulfilled went through. "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier" both
became top-five hits on the Hot 100, though "Girl" only managed
to reach the top forty.
On June 13, 2005, it was announced that the group would disband after
their world tour ended in Autumn 2005.
In 2001, Beyoncé 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.
Beyoncé then turned to acting, starring alongside Mekhi Phifer
in the MTV TV film Carmen: A Hip Hopera, without any previous training.This
film was the modern equivalent of the 1954 musical Carmen which starred
Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. In the summer of 2002, Beyoncé co-starred
in the film Austin Powers in Goldmember opposite Mike Myers as Austin
Powers, as Foxxy Cleopatra. The film is in The Guinness Book of World
Records as gaining the Highest Box Office Comedy Film gross. She also
recorded a song called "Work It Out" for the film's soundtrack. "Work
It Out" was a top-ten hit in the UK and a top-forty hit in the
Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland, despite being Beyoncé'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 Autumn 2002, Beyoncé 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 Spring 2003, Beyoncé remade a duet with the late Luther
Vandross, "The Closer I Get to You", originally made famous
by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. In this version, the vocal parts
are switched, with Vandross taking Flack's part and Beyoncé taking
Hathaway's. The song was included both on her debut solo album and
on Vandross's Dance with My Father album, and they shared the Grammy
for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
In 2003, Beyoncé released her debut solo album Dangerously
in Love. Its first single, "Crazy in Love", featured a propulsive
riff and 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 nine million
copies worldwide. When single and album simultaneously topped the pop
charts in both the U.S. and the UK, she became the first act to achieve
this feat since Men at Work in 1983; in the 1960s and 1970s, it was
performed by The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Rod Stewart.
On the televised celebration of July 4 in 2003, Beyoncé provoked
controversy with 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."
At about the same time, Beyoncé starred in the film 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
Beyoncé's own singles, the song did not become popular, although
the film was a moderate success.
In the same year, Beyoncé was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher just
a couple of minutes after ruining Christmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Fresh from the success of "Baby Boy", Beyoncé released
her third solo single, "Me Myself and I" towards the end
of 2003; Dangerously in Love’' fourth single, "Naughty Girl",
came out in mid-2004. Both have also made the top ten of the Billboard
In a Universal Music poll conducted in 2004, Beyoncé beat Britney
Spears and Christina Aguilera to be crowned the "Princess of Pop".
Beyoncé is currently in post-production for The Pink Panther
in which she plays role of Xania, appearing opposite Steve Martin,
who plays Inspector Clouseau. The film is scheduled for release in
2006. She is also set to play Deena Jones in an adaptation of the Broadway
musical Dreamgirls, set for release in 2006.
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 went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2003,
dominating radio airplay in Autumn 2003. In later 2005 Beyonce was
served with a lawsuit for a claimed copyright theft from a young girl
named Jennifer Armour. Armour claimed that she sent the song to Beyonce's
label, and that Beyonce used it without permission. The Knowles have
not commented publically on the lawsuit, nor have the Armours.