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The Life and Career of Beyonce

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born September 4th, 1981 in Houston, Texas, Beyoncé Knowles got her start in the music business as part of Destiny's Child. This all-girl group turned into the best-selling female act in history and released several successful albums. However, Beyoncé found even more success after pursuing a solo career in both music and film. Her multiple number-one albums have spawned successful singles like "Crazy in Love", "Check on It" and "Single Ladies". She's also landed roles in popular movies such as "Austin Powers in Goldmember," "The Pink Panther" and "Dreamgirls". All this before the age of 30! In this video, takes a look at the life and career of Beyoncé Knowles.

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All-Girl Group

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born on September 4th, 1981 in Houston, Texas. At the age of eight, she joined an all-girl group called Girl’s Tyme and they appeared on the show, “Star Search”. They then changed their name to Destiny’s Child and started to play local gigs. After a few years on the road, they were signed by Columbia Records in 1997.

Destiny's Child

Between 1998 and 2001, Destiny’s Child released four successful albums, which turned them into the best-selling female group of all time. Some of the R&B trio’s most popular songs were “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Bootylicious,” and “Independent Women Part I”. They also won Grammy Awards for singles such as “Say My Name” and “Survivor”.

Solo Career

In 2001, the members of Destiny’s Child began to pursue solo careers. Beyoncé landed a role in the 2002 comedy, “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and recorded the lead single for the movie’s soundtrack, “Work it Out”. The next year, she starred in the musical comedy, “The Fighting Temptations” and recorded several songs for the accompanying soundtrack. Beyoncé was also featured on the hit single, “03 Bonnie & Clyde,” with rapper Jay-Z that year.

Number-One Solo Debut

Her solo debut, Dangerously in Love, dropped in 2003. The R&B and soul album premiered on the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart. It was a commercially successful effort that won several Grammy Awards and confirmed that Beyoncé could be a successful star on her own. It included the number-one singles, “Baby Boy,” and “Crazy in Love”.

Return to Destiny's Child

After several solo tour dates, Beyoncé returned to the studio with Destiny’s Child. They released the number-two disc, Destiny Fulfilled and the successful greatest hits collection #1’s before disbanding. Beyoncé also had her third number-one hit with the solo song, “Check On It,” which was one of the new tracks featured on the best of compilation.

Sophomore Effort

The singer then returned to her solo career. She co-wrote and co-produced a majority of the tunes on her sophomore effort, 2006’s B’day. The Grammy-winning record contained retro funk and contemporary urban sounds. It was a number-one disc that generated several internationally successful singles, like “Déjà Vu” and “Irreplaceable”.


That same year, Beyoncé acted in the number-one comedy, “The Pink Panther”. This was followed by her Golden Globe-nominated turn as Deena Jones in “Dreamgirls”. The song, “Listen,” which she recorded for the film’s soundtrack, was also nominated for an Academy Award.

"B'Day" Deluxe Edition

In 2007, Beyoncé released a deluxe edition of B’Day. It gave her another number-one hit with the song, “Beautiful Liar,” which was a duet with singer, Shakira. She then supported the album with her second solo tour, and released the DVD, “The Beyoncé Experience Live!”.

Sasha Fierce

A few months after she married Jay-Z, Beyoncé came out with I Am…Sasha Fierce. The album became her third number-one disc and also introduced her sexy, on-stage alter ego, Sasha Fierce. The R&B and pop effort won six Grammy Awards, setting the record for the most Grammys won by a female artist in one night.

Hit Singles

It produced the worldwide hit, “If I Were a Boy,” and her fifth number-one single, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”. The latter was accompanied by a music video notable for its dance choreography, and subsequently spawned numerous parodies.

Etta James and Barack Obama

At the end of 2008, Beyoncé played the role of Etta James in the musical film, “Cadillac Records”. Early the next year, she covered James’ hit, “At Last” during the inaugural festivities for U.S. president Barack Obama. Around this time, the song “Halo” became her twelfth top ten single and made her the female artist with the most top tens of that decade.

Touring, Collaborations and More

That same year, Beyoncé supported her third record with the “I Am…Tour”. She also starred in the commercially successful thriller, “Obsessed” and released a remix of the song “Video Phone,” featuring Lady Gaga. In 2010, she appeared on the Grammy-nominated Lady Gaga track, “Telephone”.

Fourth Album

Her fourth album, Four, was released in 2011. Mixing up different musical genres, the disc contained the single, “Run the World (Girls)”.

All-Around Talent

Though Beyoncé may be known for her voice and acting abilities, she is also a philanthropist and businesswoman. With her success and her talent, she undoubtedly has much more to come.

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