Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981), often referred professionally as Beyoncé (pronounced bee-YON-say ), is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and model. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. Knowles rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of the R&B girl group Destiny’s Child . According to Sony, Knowles' record sales, when combined with those of the group's, have surpassed 100 million.
Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Mathew Knowles, a professional record manager, and Tina Knowles, a costume designer and hair stylist. Knowles' father is African American and her mother is of Creole (African American, Native American, and French) descent. Knowles was baptized after her mother's maiden name, as a tribute to her mother and to prevent the name from becoming obsolete, since only a few of the Beyincé males carry the name. Her maternal grandparents, Lumis Albert Beyincé and Agnéz Deréon, were French-speaking Louisiana Creoles. She is the elder sister of Solange, a singer-songwriter and actress.
At the age of eight, Knowles met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They, along with Knowles' friend Kelly Rowland, were placed into a group that performed rapping and dancing. Originally named Girl’s Tyme, they were eventually cut down to six members. With Knowles and Rowland, Girl's Tyme attracted audience nationally. West coast R&B producer, Arne Frager, flew into Houston to see them. He eventually brought them to his studio—The Plant Recording Studios—in Northern California, with Knowles' vocals being featured because Frager thought she had personality and the ability to sing.
As part of efforts to sign Girl's Tyme to a major label record deal, Frager's strategy was to debut them in Star Search , the biggest talent show on national TV that time. Girl's Tyme participated in the competition but lost it because the song they performed was not good, Knowles herself admitted. Knowles had her first "professional setback" after that defeat, but regained confidence after learning that pop stars Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had also the same experience.
The group changed its name to Destiny's Child in 1993. Together, they performed in local events and, after four years on the road, the group was signed to Columbia Records in late 1997. That same year, Destiny's Child recorded its major label debut song, "Killing Time", for the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black . The next year, the group released its self-titled debut album, scoring their first major hit "No, No, No". That album established the group as a viable act in the music industry, amassing moderate sales and winning the group three Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards for "Best R&B/Soul Single" for "No, No, No", "Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year" and "Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist“. However, the group rose to bona fide stardom after releasing their multi-platinum sophomore album The Writing's on the Wall in 1999.
The record features some of the group's most widely known songs such as "Bills, Bills, Bills", the group's first number-one single, “Jumpin' Jumpin'", and "Say My Name", which became their most-successful song at the time, and would remain one of their signature songs. "Say My Name" won the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and the Best R&B Song at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
In 2000, Knowles signed a three-album deal with Columbia Records. While Knowles was with Destiny's Child, she made solo appearances. She made a duet with label mate Marc Nelson on the song "After All Is Said and Done" for the soundtrack to the 1999 film The Best Man , and featured on the 2000 single "I Got That" by rapper Amil. In early 2001, while Destiny's Child was completing Survivor , Knowles landed a major role in the MTV made-for-television film, Carmen: A Hip Hopera , starring alongside American actor Mekhi Phifer. Set in Philadelphia, the film is a modern interpretation of the 19th century opera Carmen by French composer Georges Bizet.
That same year, Knowles was featured on her then-boyfriend Jay-Z's hit single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde”. She also recorded a version of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" and released it in March 2003. Luther Vandross and Knowles remade the duet "The Closer I Get to You", which was originally recorded by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway in 1977. Their version won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals the following year, and Vandross' "Dance with My Father", which also features Knowles, won for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.