Born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé has become one of the most widely recognized and highly respected women in pop culture. She established herself as a founding member and front woman of Destiny's Child and later developed into an iconic solo artist.
The journey to superstardom started when Destiny's Child was formed in Houston, Texas in 1990. Beyoncé was only 9 years old. Destiny’s Child went on to become the top-selling female recording group of all-time. With many of the group's hits co-written and co-produced by Beyoncé, Destiny's Child earned 147 RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications worldwide and is tied with the Supremes as the female R&B group to have the most albums chart in the Top 5. From 1997 until the group announced its "retirement" in 2005, Destiny's Child was honored with awards and accolades including Grammy® Awards, Billboard Music Awards, World Music Awards, American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards, etc. In March 2006, Destiny's Child received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to commemorate their success.
In 2001, Beyoncé became the first African-American woman and the second woman ever to take home the ASCAP Pop Songwriter of the Year Award. She made chart history in 2003 when she became the first artist in 20 years, and the first female recording artist ever, to simultaneously reach #1 in the U.S and the U.K with both her album Dangerously In Love and single "Crazy In Love", a feat accomplished by a mere handful of artists -- including the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, and Men At Work. Beyoncé toured America for the first time as a solo artist in 2004 in support of her #1 multi-platinum debut solo album, Dangerously In Love which earned her five Grammy Awards that year including Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Song for "Crazy In Love" featuring Jay-Z. With her five-in-one-year Grammy win, Beyoncé tied the record for the most Grammy’s to be won in a single year by a female artist.
On September 4, 2006 (September 5 in the U.S.), Beyoncé released her second solo album B'DAY to coincide with her 25th birthday. B'DAY closed out 2006 as one of the year's most successful albums, entering the Billboard Top 200 best-selling albums chart at #1 and achieving 2006's highest first week's sales of any female recording act, group or solo.
On February 11, 2007, B'DAY won the Grammy for Best Contemporary R&B Album, resulting in Beyoncé's 10th Grammy win overall and 7th win as a solo artist. In November of that year, the American Music Awards honored Beyoncé with the International Artist Award making her the first woman in AMA history and sixth artist overall to be recognized with the prestigious award. In December of 2007, Beyoncé received two more Grammy nominations for chart-topping singles from B'DAY: Record of the Year for "Irreplaceable" and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Beautiful Liar," her superstar duet with Shakira. "Beautiful Liar" set the all-time record for the biggest chart jump in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 bulleting upward an unprecedented 91 slots (#94* to #3*) in a single week.
In 2007, Beyoncé embarked on the tour of the year, "The Beyoncé Experience" which showcased the international music and film star, along with her sizzling all-female band, "The SUGAMAMA'S" performing musical hits, classics, and surprises in an innovative and high-tech concert environment. November 2007 saw the release of The Beyoncé Experience LIVE!, a deluxe DVD capturing all the visual thrills and musical excitement of her spectacular world concert tour. Recorded on September 2, 2007 during Beyoncé's performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, The Beyoncé Experience LIVE! DVD contains Beyoncé's full concert performance and features a cameo from Jay-Z and the historic reunion of R&B/pop super group Destiny's Child. The Beyoncé Experience LIVE! has been certified platinum by the RIAA.
November 18, 2008 marked the release date for the most anticipated album of the year, I AM…SASHA FIERCE. The two-disc set was a musical showcase for Beyoncé as never seen nor heard before from the artist. Each of the discs revealed a distinctly different side of her personality, character and sensibility; a forum for the yin-and-yang of her developing artistry. “I AM” displayed the intimate, heartfelt ballads while “SASHA FIERCE” boldly gave voice to Beyoncé’s up-tempo, dance-oriented other side. It was the most-talked about album of 2009, with the video for the track, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” becoming the most-watched and most mimicked around the globe.
Beyoncé started the year 2010 with historic wins at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Coming into the awards ceremony as the most nominated artist of the year with ten nominations, most from her worldwide #1 album, I AM…SASHA FIERCE, Beyoncé took home six Grammy’s®, becoming the female artist with the most wins in one single year. She has now earned 16 Grammy’s overall.
Her historic six wins were: Song of the Year “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance “Halo”, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance “At Last”, Best R&B Song “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Best Contemporary R&B Album I AM…SASHA FIERCE. The win for “At Last” honored her work on the Cadillac Records soundtrack for her rendition of the Etta James hit which was seen by a worldwide audience in 2009 on Inauguration night, when she performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at their request.
The “I AM…” World Tour in support of the critically-acclaimed album opened in Canada in March 2009 and took Beyoncé to over 100 cities around the world. She performed to sold-out crowds on every continent, including her biggest live solo concert audience ever in Sặo Paulo, Brazil, where 60,000 fans attended the show on February 6, 2010 at Morumbi Stadium. Billboard Magazine named the “I AM” World Tour the #1 concert attraction of 2009. Billboard also named Beyoncé Woman of the Year in October 2009 and Top Female Artist of the Decade in December 2009.
At the end of the North American leg of the tour in August 2009, Beyoncé performed four sold-out nights at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. She re-worked and re-imagined her arena show as “I AM…YOURS An Intimate Performance At Wynn Las Vegas,” to fit the smaller, more intimate 1500 seat theater. The show was released as a concert DVD on November 23, 2009 featuring a biographical story telling woven between many songs and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. On Thanksgiving Night, the ABC television network aired a one-hour special of the live Vegas show.
Beyoncé made her acting debut in 2001 in the made-for-television production MTV's Carmen: Hip Hopera. In 2002, she co-starred as "Foxxy Cleopatra" opposite Mike Myers in Austin Powers In Goldmember, cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving the Highest Box Office Comedy Film Gross in film history. In 2003, Beyoncé appeared with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the gospel-music inspired family film, The Fighting Temptations. In 2006, her film The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin became America's #1 box office sensation making it her second film to open at #1.
Beyoncé starred with Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy in the DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures film DREAMGIRLS, which earned an astonishing $8.7 million on Christmas Day, the highest grossing single day ever for a musical film.
"Listen," the first single from DREAMGIRLS Music from the Motion Picture, won the prestigious Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Song while DREAMGIRLS Music from the Motion Picture" took home the BFCA trophy for Best Soundtrack. The soundtracks for DREAMGIRLS and The Fighting Temptations, both saw #1 chart positions proving Beyoncé’s connection as a leading lady to the film, and the music. The single, “Check On It,” from The Pink Panther also went to #1.
In 2008 Beyoncé starred with Adrien Brody as Etta James in Cadillac Records and received critical acclaimed for her most-dramatic role yet. She also took on the role as executive producer for the film, under her own production company, Parkwood Pictures. She again served as executive producer on her next project, Obsessed, which opened at #1 in 2009. Beyoncé continued her foray into dramatic roles, playing Sharon Charles, opposite Idris Elba, as a wife and mother, determined to protect her family.
Parkwood Pictures, founded in 2008, is named after a Street in Houston, Texas where Beyoncé lived. The company has also produced behind-the-scenes footage for L’Oréal as well as Walmart Soundcheck series and will produce the still untitled concert DVD, which Beyoncé has directed. The DVD is slated for released fourth quarter of 2010 or first quarter of 2011.
When away from the public eye and the rigors of performing, Beyoncé has revealed herself to be a quiet humanitarian at heart. She often visits orphanages and children's hospitals to spend time with those in need. And on her tours she works extensively with the Make a Wish Foundation, granting the wishes of sick fans who receive special time with her prior to her performances. In 2005, she joined Bono on-stage at Greenpoint Stadium in Capetown as part of Nelson Mandela's 46664 initiative to treat and eradicate HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
With the motto, “Where There’s A Will, We Help Make A Way,” Beyoncé along with her family formed the Survivor Foundation in 2005, a charitable entity initially set up to provide transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Survivor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization designed to assist displaced persons whose lives have been affected by disasters, natural or otherwise. The foundation also provides assistance to children and to those suffering from AIDS. The Survivor Foundation extends the philanthropic mission of the Knowles-Rowland Youth Center, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.
Over the past few years, the Survivor Foundation has donated over two and a half million dollars just in the Houston area alone. Initiatives with the Knowles-Rowland Youth Center, Knowles, Houston Habitat for Humanity, the Beyoncé Experience World Tour Food Drives, Annual Music World Cares "Holiday Carnival", and Hurricane Katrina Relief are some of the community efforts of the Survivor Foundation. Additionally there is Temenos House, a four-floor, 43-unit, single-occupancy complex designed for the at-risk Houston population. The complex is sponsored by the Survivor Foundation, the City of Houston and St. John’s United Methodist Church, with Beyoncé being the largest financial contributor. Residents at Temenos House will have access to job training and placement services as well as support for substance abuse.
On the North American leg of her “I AM…” World Tour, Beyoncé sponsored food drives as part of the Show Your Helping Hand initiative, a national hunger relief campaign created by General Mills in partnership with Beyoncé and her Survivor Foundation. The campaign helped Feeding America’s goal of delivering more than 3.5 million meals to local food banks.
Beyoncé lent her voice last January as a performer on “Hope For Haiti,” the live telethon organized by actor George Clooney and MTV just days after a massive earthquake violently shook the island nation, already the poorest in the western hemisphere. She also made a generous personal donation to aid the relief efforts in Haiti.
On March 5, 2010, Beyoncé opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn, New York. The new Cosmetology Center will offer a seven-month cosmetology training course helping former addicts gain the career skills they need to lead productive, rewarding lives in recovery. Beyoncé discovered the incredible work of Phoenix House while preparing for the role of Etta James in “Cadillac Records.”
FASHION & FRAGRANCE
In 2004, Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles, award-winning fashion designer and celebrity stylist formed a production company, Beyond Productions and in 2005 launched their first fashion collection named House of Deréon in honor of Beyoncé's maternal grandmother, Agnez Deréon. The contemporary collection of trend-setting styles, consistent with the dressy looks Beyoncé often wears, is sold in better specialty stores across the county. In 2006, on the heels of the collection’s success and in response to fans across the globe, the pair launched Deréon, a junior lifestyle collection. Inspired by the independent spirit of Beyoncé’s younger sister, actress and singer Solange Knowles, the trendy denim-based collection is available in department and specialty stores across the country and in Canada. In 2007, Beyoncé and Tina extended the Deréon collection to include plus sizes and launched a young girl’s collection aptly called, Deréon Girls that’s available in specialty and department stores across the country. In 2009 Deréon expanded its brand internationally opening in Seoul, South Korea and Athens, Greece.
Beyoncé launched her first fragrance, Beyoncé Heat, in February 2010, which quickly became the fastest-selling fragrance of all time.
A renaissance woman for the 21st century, Beyoncé remains above all, a passionate and transcendent performer committed to the deep love of music she first discovered as a little girl growing up in Houston, Texas.