Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter is an American singer known for her solo career and work with the band Destiny’s Child. She was born on September 4 1981 in Houston, Texas. She is married to the rapper Jay-Z, with whom she has a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter.
The singer enrolled in dance classes while at school and her talent for singing became apparent when she won a school talent show when she was seven years old for her performance of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. She performed in several choirs while she was growing up.
Beyonce and her childhood friend Kelly Rowland auditioned for an all-girl group aged eight, where they met LaTavia Roberson. The three were put into a group with three other girls called Girl’s Tyme. The group were invited to compete on TV show Star Search but failed to win. Beyonce’s father Mathew Knowles quit his job to manage the group, who changed their name to Destiny’s Child and released their self-titled debut album in 1998. They released four studio albums with varying line-ups until 2004.
In 2002, Beyonce appeared in the Austin Powers in Goldmember movie, playing Foxxy Cleopatra. She also released the song ‘Work It Out’ from the soundtrack. Her first official solo recording came in a collaboration with future husband Jay-Z on his ’03 Bonnie & Clyde’ single in October 2002. Her debut solo album, ‘Dangerously In Love’, followed on June 24, 2003, selling 317,000 copies in its first week in the US. It charted at Number One in both the UK Official Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. The album won five awards at the 46th Grammy Awards, including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary R&B Album.
Her second solo album ‘B’Day’ was released on September 4 2006, to coincide with her 25th birthday. It featured production credits for the likes of Ne-Yo, Swizz Beats, The Neptunes and Beyonce herself. It charted at Number One on the US Billboard 200 and is certified as three times platinum in the States.
Beyonce continued her acting career in the same year, appearing in both The Pink Panther and Dreamgirls. In the later she played a singer based on Diana Ross.
Jay-Z and Beyonce got married on April 4 2008 and the singer publicly announced their marriage via a video montage at a listening party for her third album ‘I Am… Sasha Fierce’ six months later. The record was released on November 18 2008 and introduced Beyonce’s new titular alter-ego. It went on to become her third consecutive Number One album in the US. It is certified as five times platinum in the UK and two times platinum in the US. In the same year, she played the singer Etta James in the movie Cadillac Records, whom she cited as an inspiration in pushing her songwriting forward.
Beyonce was nominated for ten awards at the 52nd Grammy Awards, including Song Of The Year for ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ and Record Of The Year for ‘Halo’. The nominations tied her with Lauryn Hill for the most received in a single year by a female artist.
In 2010, Beyonce featured on Lady Gaga’s single ‘Telephone’, which went on to become both singers’ sixth number one single. It later won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Shortly after, Beyonce took a break from music, sacking her father from his management duties along the way.
Her break lasted nine months and in 2011 she returned to music. She became the first solo artist to headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in over twenty years. During her performance she was joined by special guests such as trip-hop artist Tricky. The following Monday, her fourth album, ‘4’, was released. It sold 310,000 copies in its first week in the US and topped the Billboard 200 chart.
The singer announced she and Jay-Z were expecting their first child at the 2011 MTV VMAs, by dropping her microphone, undoing her blazer and rubbing her stomach at the end of her performance of ‘Love On Top’. Daughter Blue Ivy Carter was born on January 27 2012 at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital.
On January 20 2013, Beyonce performed the American national anthem at President Obama’s second inauguration. She came under criticism for singing along to a recorded track rather than performing fully live. A month later, she was the halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl XLVII at New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdrome. The performance became the second most tweeted about event in history, boasting 268,000 tweets a minute. It also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Light Design.
Beyonce’s self-directed and produced documentary, Life Is But A Dream, premiered on HBO in February 2013. It was later released on DVD in November of the same year.
December 13 2013 saw the singer unexpectedly release her fifth album, ‘Beyonce’. Every track came with a music video and the album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, making it her fifth consecutive Number One album in the US. She is the first woman in the chart’s history to achieve the feat. One million digital copies of the album were sold in its first week of release. It was reissued just under a year later as the ‘Platinum Edition’.
In April 2014, it was confirmed that Beyonce and Jay-Z’s rumoured joint tour would go ahead. The On The Run tour visited stadiums in the US and Europe, running for three months.
Following the initial release of single ‘Formation’ in February 2016, two months later in April she released her sixth album ‘Lemonade’ unannounced. The music was initially premiered alongside a set of visual components to the album on TV channel HBO, with the album getting its release immediately after on streaming service Tidal. The album has since courted controversy as ardent fans and cultural observers seek to get to the bottom of the alleged rumours of her husband’s infidelity, which she appears to tackle on the album.