Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, 4 September 1981, Houston, Texas, USA. Knowles made her initial impact on the international music scene as the leader of the hugely successful urban group Destinys Child, before launching an equally impressive solo career in 2003 with an international chart-topping single and a bestselling debut album.
Knowles first began performing with Destinys Child when she was only 10 years old, and during the late 90s and early years of the new millennium gradually established herself as a leading performing and songwriting force on the urban scene. She became the first African-American female artist to win the annual ASCAP Pop Songwriter Of The Year Award. Following the release of 2001s Survivor, the three members of Destinys Child elected to take a break from the group to concentrate on solo projects. Knowles made her first foray into acting with an appearance in the MTV drama Carmen: A Hip Hopera, before landing a major role (as Foxxy Cleopatra) opposite comedian/actor Mike Myers in the 2002 movie Austin Powers In Goldmember. Work It Out, lifted from the soundtrack, was Knowles first solo hit. She enjoyed further success later in the year with her guest vocal on boyfriend Jay-Zs hit single, 03 Bonnie & Clyde. She teamed up with the rapper again on the first single to be lifted from her solo debut, also the first release under her shortened moniker. A hypnotically catchy slice of funked up R&B, Crazy In Love, shot to the top of the US charts in July 2003 and repeated the feat in the UK. The attendant Dangerously In Love was hyped as one of the years most important releases, and featured a stellar list of co-writers and guest stars, including Jay-Z, Jamaican dancehall singer Sean Paul (on the massive US chart-topper Baby Boy), and soul legend Luther Vandross.
In February 2004, Knowles tied the record for most Grammys ever by a female artist when she picked up five awards at the Los Angeles-based show. These were: Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Crazy In Love (shared with Jay-Z), Best Female R&B Performance for Dangerously In Love, Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for The Closer I Get To You (shared with Vandross), and Best Contemporary R&B Album for Dangerously In Love.
Later in 2004 Beyoncé rejoined Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to record another Destinys Child album, Destiny Fulfilled. The trio then completed a world tour before calling an end to the group in September 2005. A new Beyoncé track featured on the Destinys Child compilation album #1s, Check On It (featuring Slim Thug), reached the top of the US charts at the start of 2006. The singer resumed her solo career later in the year with the transatlantic hit single Irreplaceable (which spent 10 weeks at the top of the US charts) and chart-topping BDay. The deluxe version released the following year included a hit collaboration with Shakira on the single Beautiful Liar. The album also provided Beyoncé with her second Grammy when it picked up the Best Contemporary R&B Album award. Despite her music career being in the ascendant, the singer continued to pursue a parallel acting career, starring in The Fighting Temptations (2003), The Pink Panther (2006) and Dreamgirls (2006).
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.