Beyonce Knowles burst onto the music scene in the late 1990s as part of the music group Destiny's Child, bringing a fresh and sexy take on R&B and girl groups that the public eagerly endorsed.
Beyonce Giselle Knowles was born on Sept. 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas, to parents Mathew Knowles and Tina Beyince.
Beyonce's father is African-American, and her mother is of Creole descent (French, African and Native American). Beyonce's maternal grandparents were French-speaking Louisiana Creoles, and Beyonce's name is a tribute to her mother's surname.
From an early age, Beyonce was a performer. By the age of 7, she was a soloist in the church choir, attending dance school and participating in competitions. Her dance instructor took a special interest in her, and helped her to win more than 30 local singing and dancing competitions.
Beyonce and her childhood best friend LaTavia Roberson met Kelly Rowland and LeToya Tuckett and the girls formed a quartet that would perform in Beyonce's mother's hair salon and in their backyards.
They soon entered "Star Search" under the name "Girl's Tyme," but unfortunately lost the competition, leaving them devastated.
Matthew Knowles, Beyonce's dad and Kelly Rowland's legal guardian, decided to quit his lucrative job as a Xerox salesman to manage the girls' group. This had a major effect on the family, cutting their income in half and forcing them to move into two separate apartments.
Beyonce attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, and later, Alief Elsik High School. In 1995, Destiny's Child was signed to Elektra, but dropped before they could release a debut album.
In 1996, they were signed to Columbia Records. They soon became famous with their first top 10 hit in 1998, "No, No, No Part 2."
Before their debut album was released, the group toured as an opening act for TLC. There was some turmoil among the group members, and the final group eventually became Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
The 1998 debut album was produced by Jermaine Dupri and Wycelf Jean, and went platinum. Their second album, "The Writing's On the Wall," was released in 1999 and had two No. 1 hits, "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name." Their next album, "Survivor," became another huge success.
In 2001, Beyonce won the Songwriter of the Year award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Pop Music Awards. She was the first African-American woman and the second woman period to win the award.
Soon after, Beyonce began to embark on a solo career.
Also in 2001, Beyonce began a film career, starring with Mekhi Phifer in the MTV movie "Carmen-A Hip-Hopera."
In 2002, Beyonce starred in "Austin Powers in Goldmember," playing Foxxy Cleopatra. The film was a huge success, but the song "Work it Out" that Beyonce recorded for the soundtrack was less successful.
In 2003, Beyonce released her debut solo album, "Dangerously in Love." The first single, "Crazy in Love" featured guest rapper (and Beyonce's boyfriend) Jay-Z and became a huge summer hit, staying at No. 1 on the charts for eight weeks.
Beyonce became one of the biggest-selling artists of 2003. That same year, Beyonce starred with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the film "Fighting Temptations."
On July 4, 2003, Beyonce drew some controversy for her performance of "Crazy in Love" on the steps of President Ulysses S. Grant's tomb. Her dancing was called "patently inappropriate," but Grant's great-grandsons spoke on her behalf.
Chapman Grant commented, "The way the world is now, who cares? Who knows? If the old guy were alive, he might have enjoyed it."
At the end of the summer, the second single from her album, "Baby Boy," began climbing the charts. It eventually stayed at No. 1 for nine weeks. Also in 2003, Beyonce won five Grammys for her solo album, a record-tying number that put her in the ranks of Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill.
In 2005, Beyonce rejoined with Destiny's Child and they released the studio album "Destiny Fulfilled," which hit No. 2 on the charts. Later that year they embarked on a world tour for the album and announced that the group would disband when the tour concluded.
In 2005, Beyonce and Destiny's Child were ambassadors for the 2005 World Children's Day Program, as well as recording a single for the cause, entitled "Stand Up for Love."
In October 2005, Destiny's Child released their final album, "#1's," which debuted at No. 1 on the charts, and the group was awarded a World Music Award for best-selling girl group of all time, with sales over 500 million.
Beyonce's family, along with Kelly Rowland, created the Survivor Foundation, a charity designed to set up transitional housing for those in the Houston area displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
This foundation extends the mission of the "Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth," a community outreach facility in Houston.
At the 2006 Grammys, Beyonce won a Grammy for Best Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals for her performance in a duet with Stevie Wonder for the Luther Vandross tribute album.
In February 2006, Beyonce starred with Steve Martin in "The Pink Panther." The film was a No. 1 hit at the box office its opening weekend.
On her 25th birthday, Beyonce's second solo album, "B'Day," was released. The album was nominated for five 2007 Grammy awards. Two singles from the album, "Ring the Alarm" and "Irreplaceable," hit No. 1 on the charts.
In December 2006, Beyonce starred in the critically acclaimed film "Dreamgirls," which is loosely based on the history of Motown and the rise of the Supremes. The character played by Beyonce is said to represent Diana Ross.
Beyonce was nominated for a 2007 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film. She was also nominated in the music category for Best Original Song for "Listen."
Beyonce reportedly married to her longtime boyfriend Jay-Z on April 4, 2008, in a secret, tear-filled Manhattan ceremony which was attended by 40 people.
The couple had been dating since 2002, though they tried to keep the relationship out of the public eye for as long as they could.
The 2003 release of "Bonnie and Clyde" — in which Beyonce contributed vocally — raised speculation about their relationship. The next year, Jay-Z was featured in Beyonce's hit single "Deja Vu."
Currently, Beyonce is working on two films and is recording an album.
Released: February 1998
The Writing's On the Wall
Released: July 1999
Released: May 2001
8 Days of Christmas
Released: October 2001
This is the Remix
Released: March 2002
Released: November 2004
Released: October 2005
Dangerously in Love
Released: June 24, 2003
Live at Wembley
Released: April 27, 2004
Released: September 2006
The Beyonce Experience Live!
Released: Nov. 20, 2007
2009 Obsessed: Beth Charles
2008 Cadillac Records: Etta James
2006 Dreamgirls: Deena Jones.
2006 The Pink Panther: Xania.
2004 Fade To Black: Herself (Music Documentary).
2003 The Fighting Temptations: Lilly.
2002 Austin Powers in Goldmember: Foxxy Cleopatra.
2001 Carmen: A Hip Hopera: Carmen (TV).