The life story of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is the narrative of a dream fulfilled. Parents Mathew Knowles and Tina Knowles rejoiced at the birth of baby Beyoncé Giselle Knowles on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas, their first child.
Not surprisingly, the same girl who showed an acumen for the stage as both a dancer and singer at an early age would graduate to superstardom as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child before forging a solo career of her own. Beyoncé is one half of R&B’s first billionaire couple, wife to Jay-Z (born Sean Carter), and also ranks as Forbes Magazine’s fourth most powerful celebrity.
As a student at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, the woman who would be known as King Bey and Sasha Fierce showed a penchant for not only dance but song, as well. According to People Magazine, after winning a talent show at age 7 with her rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” in which she beat out competitors more than twice her own age, the Knowles family began to put her through rigorous training to help develop her gifts. And it was a gift that kept on giving.
Find Out About Beyoncé’s First Brush With Fame Below!
Beyoncé Joins Girls Tyme, Appears on Star Search
The next year, Beyoncé found her first brush with stardom as a member of “Girls Tyme,” a group formed alongside former Destiny’s Child members Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett and two other girls. Touring throughout Houston, the girls were garnering attention with their spirited dance and rap performances, even drawing attention from California producer Arne Frager.
The relationship with Frager was fruitful, yielding a move by Mathew to California, where he would manage the group. The girls also gained national exposure by appearing on the hit television talent show “Star Search.” Despite losing that competition, the girls did not leave California empty handed. After paring Girls Tyme to four members from the original six, they were signed to Elektra Records, according to FOX News.
Watch Beyoncé and Girls Tyme in their “Star Search” Performance Below
Unfortunately, the Elektra Records deal fell short in 1995, and after moving to Atlanta Records for a brief time, the girls found themselves cut from the label. But, ever resilient, the Knowles pushed forward through the trials and tribulations and a brief separation brought on by the stress of it all. Fortunately, good news was around the corner.
Destiny’s Child Rises
Despite the disappointment of their music career’s false start, it did not take long for another record label to come along and snatch up the talented quad. The group went through a series of name and lineup changes, according to Essence Magazine, including “Something Fresh,” “Cliché,” “the Doll,” and finally, “Destiny.” In 1996, Mathew Knowles was reading the Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, and came across the group’s final name: “Destiny’s Child,” according to MTV News. What happened next was nothing short of divine.
Destiny’s Child scored a new signing with Columbia Records in 1996, and a year later were featured on the “Men in Black” soundtrack with their single, “Killing Time.”
Listen to Destiny’s Child’s “Killing Time” Below…
On February 17, 1998, Destiny’s Child debuted its self-titled first album, which went on to not only sell over a million copies, but hit No. 67 in the Billboard Top 200 and No. 14 on Billboard’s R&B charts, according to Nielsen. Hits from that album included “No, No, No,” which helped the group garner three Soul Train Lady of Soul Award.
The group went mainstream in 1999, with the release of their hit follow-up album, “The Writing’s on the Wall,” which featured hits including “Say My Name” and “Bills, Bills, Bills.” A shakeup of the Destiny’s Child lineup also found LeToya Luckett and LeTavia Roberson replaced after a dispute with Mathew over pay. Herein, Michelle Williams joined the group and moved to Houston to reside with Beyonce and Kelly Rowland at the Knowles’ residence.
2001’s “Survivor” received mixed reviews, but was generally well-received. Fans, meanwhile, sent the album to the number one pot on the Billboard albums chart that summer, with the highest first-week sales figues for any of Columbia Records’ female groups, with hits including “Independent Women,” “Dangerously in Love,” and “Emotion.” The group also released a Christmas album, “8 Days of Christmas” in October of 2001.
As the season changed from fall to winter, the group was going through a climate change of its own. Destiny’s Child announced it would enter a hiatus period in which each member would pursue their own side projects.
Keep Reading to Learn How Beyoncé Became a Household Name…
Beyoncé Begins Her Reign
With a new opportunity to expand as an artist, Beyoncé Knowles launched a blitz of film and music projects which thrust her into the spotlight beyond the trio she’d been attached to for more than a decade.
Following up from the success in “Carmen: A Hip Hopera,” Beyoncé was cast in her second film in 2002 playing Foxxy Cleopatra opposite Mike Myers in “Austin Powers in Goldmember.” Her single, “Work it Out,” was included in the soundtrack, and the film exploded on screen to No. 1 in the box office opening weekend with $73 million gross, according to Box Office Mojo.
Beyoncé also went back to work on some new music, cutting her first track in her solo career with then boyfriend Jay-Z. “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” peaked to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release in October 2002, and was quickly followed by the release of her first solo album, “Dangerously in Love” in 2003, which reigned on the Billboard Top 200 album chart with 317,000 copies in the first week, according to Nielsen.
Bey carried both U.S. and UK charts for the No. 1 spot, a first for any artist in twenty years, and the first woman to ever hold that distinguished honor, according to Biography. Beyoncé was on a roll.
Watch the Video for Beyonce and Jay-Z “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” Below…
Following success in back-t0-back tours, the European “Dangerously in Love World Tour” and “Verizon Ladies First Tour,” Bey returned to to Houston in 2004 to reunite with Destiny’s Child for “Destiny Fulfilled,” the final album from the group. After a stunning Super Bowl XXXVIII national anthem performance at Reliant Stadium, she set out to record with Kelly and Michelle. A tour followed the album’s November 2004 release, and it was announced the group would split after the completion of the North American leg of the tour, Billboard reports.
“B’Day,” her second studio album, was released on September 5, 2006 to coincide with her 25th birthday. The fans presented her with her second number one album, hoisting the release to the top of the Billboard charts again with such hits as “Déjà Vu,” featuring Jay-Z, “Irreplaceable,” and “Ring the Alarm.”
Bolstering her success in 2006, she also stared in films number 4 and 5, “The Pink Panther,” opposite comedian Steve Martin, and “Dreamgirls,” opposite an all-star cast including American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.
The Love of Her Life: Beyoncé Knowles Weds Jay-Z
After several years of dating, Sean Carter put a ring on it and wed Beyoncé on April 4, 2008, in New York City. Together side by side with Jay-Z, the union only served as a creative and nurturing springboard from which they both would find a new level of success together. With the November 2008 release of “I Am… Sasha Fierce,” King Bey showed a whole new side to her personality with her wild alter ego.
With new hits “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and “Halo” burning up the charts, the triple threat returned to the screen in 2009 opposite Academy Award winner Adrien Brody in “Cadillac Records,” in her portrayal as Etta James. She received critical success in the film, and was nominated for a number of awards, including a Satellite Award and a NAACP Image Award.
After more than a decade of hard work, Beyoncé took a hiatus to pursue traveling and to spend time with her husband, now two years after their nuptials. During her nine months of much-needed R&R, she also made a significant decision to split with father Mathew as her business partner. The Los Angeles Times reported no ill will from Bey about her father, but the media’s salacious headlines and tabloid rumors would stir Mathew to file suit in 2013.
And Baby Makes Three: Blue Ivy and the Road to “Mrs. Carter”
After a much-needed reprieve, Beyoncé returned in the summer of 2011 with her fourth studio album, “4,” which followed the same trajectory of her previous albums–straight to the top of the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, but attained only modest success with the tracks on that record.
Flashback: Beyonce: “I Want Kids Before I’m 40″
But, perhaps the biggest release of 2011 was the news that Jay-Z and Bey were expecting their first child. Announced at the MTV Video Music Awards, she waited for the final moments of her performance of “Love on Top,” and then threw open her blazer to reveal her baby bump. The crowd went wild, and Jay-Z was captured in all his elation on camera for the world to see.
Beyonce gave birth on January 7, 2012, and proud mom and papa welcomed Blue Ivy Carter into the world at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York.
Share Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Happy Moment on MTV Below… Watch!
Since giving birth to Blue Ivy, Beyoncé has continued to flourish in her career. In addition releasing “Love Songs,” a compilation album with Destiny’s Child, she also played a vital part in the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama. Her performance of the national anthem at the 2013 Inauguration fell under scrutiny after she admitted to lip synching the song. According to CBS News, she said no opportunity for a proper sound check led to her decision to sing over a track.
But, it was all Bey when she performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show in New Orleans, alongside her Destiny’s Child sisters. Currently, Beyoncé is trotting the globe with her “Mrs. Carter World Tour,” and expects to drop her fifth studio album in 2013.
Beyonce: By the Numbers
- Sold over 13 million albums in the U.S.
- Sold over 75 million records worldwide
- Ranked as No. 1 top certified artist of the 2000s by the RIAA, with 64 certifications.
- 17 Grammy Awards spanning her career
- Set Record for Most Grammy Awards Won by a Female Artist in 2010, with six awards.
- 2 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards – Best Song, Best Original Soundtrack for “Dreamgirls” (2006)
- 1 Best Original Song Nomination – Golden Globe Awards
- 1 Best Actress Nomination – Golden Glob Awards
- 1 Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Nomination – NAACP Image Awards