Knowles in 2011
|Birth name||Beyoncé Giselle Knowles|
|Also known as||Sasha Fierce|
|Born|| September 4, 1981 |
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Genres||R&B, pop, soul, hip hop|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, record producer, actress, dancer, choreographer, model, fashion designer, businesswoman|
|Associated acts||Destiny's Child, Jay-Z, Solange Knowles, Kanye West, Lady Gaga|
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, often referred to simply as Beyoncé, (pron.: /biˈjɒnseɪ/ bee-YON-say; born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress. Raised in Houston, Knowles enrolled in performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child. She rose to fame in the late 1990s as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. During the group's hiatus, Knowles released her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love, in 2003, which spawned two number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100—"Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy"—and became one of the most successful albums of that year, and earned her five Grammy Awards. Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, Knowles released her second solo album, B'Day (2006), which spawned the top five singles "Déjà Vu", "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar". Her third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), contained the hits "If I Were a Boy", "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", "Halo" and "Sweet Dreams". The album helped Knowles earn six Grammys in 2010, breaking the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. Her fourth solo album, 4 (2011), became her fourth consecutive number one album on the Billboard 200.
Knowles' work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including 17 Grammy Awards, 12 MTV Video Music Awards, a Billboard Millennium Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (with Destiny's Child). As a solo artist, Knowles has sold over 13 million albums in the United States and over 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Female Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the fourth Artist of the Decade. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also recognized Knowles as the Top Certified Artist of the 2000s. Following year, Knowles was ranked first on Forbes list of the "100 Most Powerful and Influential Musicians in the World". She also appeared on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and was ranked third on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list in 2012.
Apart from music, Knowles has also ventured into acting, designing clothes and endorsing various perfumes. Her performance in Dreamgirls earned her two Golden Globe nominations. Knowles introduced her family's fashion line House of Deréon in 2005, and has endorsed such brands as L'Oréal, Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Nintendo and Vizio. In April 2008, Knowles married rapper Jay-Z. She gave birth to their first child, Blue Ivy Carter, in January 2012.
1981–96: Early life and career beginnings
Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Mathew Knowles, a medical-equipment salesman, and Tina Knowles (née Beyincé), a costume designer and hair stylist. Mathew is African American. Tina, a Louisiana Creole, has African, French, Native American, and Irish ancestry; is a descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. Knowles was baptized after her mother's maiden name. She is the elder sister of Solange Knowles, a singer, songwriter and actress.
Knowles was educated at St. Mary's Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when her dance instructor began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Knowles' interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show, singing John Lennon's "Imagine". In fall of 1990, Knowles enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform onstage with the school's choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Knowles was also a member of the choir at St. John's United Methodist Church for two years, performing as a soloist.
At the age of eight, Knowles and [[Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while in an audition for an all-girl entertainment group. They were placed into a group with three other girls named Girl's Tyme and performed rapping and dancing. After seeing the group west coast R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his studio in Northern California and placed them in Star Search, the biggest talent show on national TV at the time. Girl's Tyme failed to win, with Knowles saying the song they performed was not good. In 1995 Knowles' father resigned from his job as a medical-equipment salesman to manage the group. The move reduced Knowles' family's income by half, and her parents were forced to move into separated apartments. Mathew cut the original lineup to four and the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups. Tina designed their costumes, continuing to do until the group split. The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records. They moved to Atlanta briefly to work on their first recording, only to be cut by the record company. This put a strain on the family, and Beyoncé's parents separated. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins's Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, they began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, the Knowles reunited, and shortly after, the girls got a contract with Columbia Records.
1997–2001: Destiny's Child era and depression
Destiny's Child performing "Say My Name
"; a single that garnered critical and commercial success, along with two Grammy Awards
The group had changed their name to Destiny's Child in 1993, based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah. In 1997, with Columbia Records, Destiny's Child released their major label début song "Killing Time" on the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black. The following year, the group released their self-titled debut album, scoring their first major hit "No, No, No". The album established the group as a viable act in the music industry, with 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. The group released their multi-platinum second 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 43rd Grammy Awards. The Writing's on the Wall sold more than eight million copies. During this time, Knowles recorded a duet with Marc Nelson on the song "After All Is Said and Done" for the soundtrack to the 1999 film, The Best Man.
LeToya Luckett and Roberson became unhappy with Mathew's managing of the band and eventually were replaced by Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams. Knowles experienced depression following the split with Luckett and Roberson after being publicly blamed by the media, critics and blogs for causing the split-up. Also her longstanding boyfriend left her at this time. The depression was so severe it lasted for a couple of years, during which she kept herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat anything. Knowles stated that she struggled to speak about her depression because Destiny's Child had just won their first Grammy Award and she feared no one would take her seriously. All of these events had made her question herself and who her friends were. Her mother Tina Knowles helped her fight out of her depression. Franklin was dismissed after five months, leaving just Knowles, Rowland and Williams.
The remaining band members recorded "Independent Women Part I", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Charlie's Angels. It became their best-charting single, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for eleven consecutive weeks. In early 2001, while Destiny's Child was completing their third album, 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. When the third album Survivor was released in May 2001, Luckett and Roberson filed a lawsuit claiming that the songs were aimed at them. The album débuted at number one on US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 663,000 copies sold. The album spawned other number-one hits, "Bootylicious" and the title track, "Survivor", the latter of which earned the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. After releasing their holiday album 8 Days of Christmas in October 2001, the group announced a hiatus to pursue solo careers.
2002–05: Dangerously in Love and Destiny Fulfilled
In July 2002, Knowles begun her acting career playing Foxxy Cleopatra, the female protagonist alongside Mike Myers in the comedy film, Austin Powers in Goldmember. Austin Powers in Goldmember spent its first weekend atop the US box office and grossed $73 million. To promote the film, Knowles released "Work It Out" as the lead single from its soundtrack album. A year later, Knowles starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the musical comedy film The Fighting Temptations as Lilly, a single mother whom Gooding's character falls in love with. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $32.7 million at the box office worldwide. To promote The Fighting Temptations, Knowles released "Fighting Temptation" as the lead single from the film's soundtrack album.
Knowles first recording during her solo career was being featured on her then-boyfriend Jay-Z's single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" and was released between the two films in October 2002. The song peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her first solo album Dangerously in Love was released on June 24, 2003, after Williams and Rowland had released their solo efforts. The album sold 317,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart. As of 2012 it remains as Knowles' best-selling album, with 11 million copies sold worldwide. The albums lead single was "Crazy in Love", which features Jay-Z. The song became Knowles' first number one single as a solo artist in the US. The single "Baby Boy" also reached number one and top two singles, "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl", both reached the top-five. The album earned Knowles a then record-tying five awards at the 46th Grammy Awards; Best Contemporary R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Dangerously in Love 2", Best R&B Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Crazy in Love", and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "The Closer I Get to You" with Luther Vandross.
In November 2003, she embarked on the Dangerously in Love Tour in Europe and later toured alongside Missy Elliott and Alicia Keys as an ensemble for the Verizon Ladies First Tour in North America. On February 1, 2004, Knowles performed the American national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was held at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. After the release of Dangerously in Love, Knowles had planned to produce a follow-up album using several of the left-over tracks. However, this was put on hold so she could concentrate on recording Destiny Fulfilled, the final studio album by Destiny's Child. It was released on November 15, 2004 in the United States and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. Destiny Fulfilled spawned the singles "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier", which both reached the top-five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Destiny's Child embarked on a worldwide concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It. During the last stop of their European tour in Barcelona on June 11, 2005, Rowland announced that Destiny's Child would disband following the North American leg of the tour. The group released their first compilation album Number 1's on October 25, 2005 in the United States and reunited to accept a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006,.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 Knowles and Rowland founded the Survivor Foundation to provide transitional houses for victims in the Houston area. The foundation also provided relief following Hurricane Ike three years later. She also wrote "Stand Up for Love", along with David Foster and his daughter, a song performed by Destinies Child for World Children's Day.
2006–07: B'Day and Dreamgirls
Knowles' second solo album B'Day was released on September 5, 2006 in the United States, to coincide with Knowles' twenty-fifth birthday. It sold 541,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, becoming Knowles' second consecutive number-one album in the US. The albums lead single was "Déjà Vu", which features Jay-Z. The second international single "Irreplaceable" was a commercial success worldwide, reaching number one in Australia, Hungary, Ireland and New Zealand. B'Day also produced three other singles, "Ring the Alarm", "Get Me Bodied" and "Green Light", which each attained moderate success.
Her first acting role of 2006 was in the comedy film The Pink Panther starring opposite Steve Martin. The film grossed $158.8 million at the box office worldwide, but received generally negative reviews. Her second film of the year Dreamgirls received much better reviews, although it grossed slightly less money worldwide. She starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy playing a pop singer loosely based on Diana Ross. To promote Dreamgirls, Knowles released "Listen" as the lead single from the soundtrack album, Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture. In April 2007, Knowles embarked on The Beyoncé Experience, her first worldwide concert tour. The tour visited ninety-seven venues and grossed $90 million. Knowles conducted pre-concert food donation drives during stops. At the same time, B'Day was re-released as a deluxe edition, seven months after the release of the original version. In addition to the original track listing, the deluxe edition features five new songs, including "Beautiful Liar", a duet with Colombian singer Shakira.
2008–10: Marriage, I Am... Sasha Fierce and hiatus
Knowles performing on the "I Am..." Tour with Jay-Z, who she married in 2008 after several years of friendship and dating
On April 4, 2008, Knowles married Jay-Z in New York City. She publicly revealed their marriage through an opening montage video at the listening party for her third studio album, I Am... Sasha Fierce, in Manhattan's Sony Club on October 22, 2008. I Am... Sasha Fierce was released on November 18, 2008 in the United States. The album introduces Knowles' alter ego Sasha Fierce, who was born during the making of her 2003 single "Crazy in Love". It sold 482,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Knowles her third consecutive number-one album in the US. The album included the number one song "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and top five song "Halo". "Halo"'s US success helped Knowles achieve more top ten singles on the Hot 100 chart than any other female artist during 2001–10. It also included the successful "Sweet Dreams" and the moderately successful "Diva", "Ego", "Broken-Hearted Girl" and "Video Phone". The music video for "Single Ladies" has been parodied and imitated around the world, spawning the "first major dance craze" of the Internet age. The video won several awards, including Best Video at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards, the 2009 MOBO Awards, and the 2009 BET Awards. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, the video was nominated for nine awards, ultimately winning three including Video of the Year. Its failure to win the Best Female Video category, which went to American country pop singer Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me", sparked led to Kanye West interrupting the ceremony. In March 2009, Knowles embarked on the I Am... World Tour, her second headlining worldwide concert tour. The tour consisted of 108 shows and grossed $119.5 million.
Knowles continued to take movie roles, staring as blues singer Etta James in the 2008 musical biopic film, Cadillac Records. Her performance in the film received praise from critics. Knowles garnered several nominations for her portrayal of James, including a Satellite Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress. On January 20, 2009, Knowles performed James' "At Last" at Barack Obama's first dance with his wife Michelle during the Neighborhood Ball of his inauguration as President of the United States. Knowles starred opposite Ali Larter and Idris Elba in the thriller film, Obsessed. She played Sharon Charles, a mother and wife who learns of a woman's obsessive behavior for the former's husband, and suspects an affair between the two. The film received negative reviews from critics, though the fight scene finale between Sharon and the woman was praised and won the 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Fight. Knowles donated her entire salary to Phoenix House, an organization of rehabilitation centers for heroin addicts around the country.
Knowles at the opening of the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center on March 5, 2010
At the 52nd Grammy Awards, Knowles received ten nominations, including Album of the Year for I Am... Sasha Fierce, Record of the Year for "Halo", and Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", among others. She tied with Lauryn Hill for most Grammy nominations in a single year by a female artist. In February 2010, Knowles was featured on Lady Gaga's single "Telephone". It topped the US Pop Songs chart, becoming the sixth number-one on the chart for both Knowles and Gaga and, tying them with Mariah Carey for most number-ones since the Nielsen BDS-based Top 40 airplay chart launched in 1992. "Telephone" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Knowles announced that she would be taking a break from her music career at the end of January 2010—particularly on advice from her mother— "to live life, to be inspired by things again". During the break she and her father parted ways as business partners. Knowles visited The Great Wall of China, Egyptian pyramids, as well as various museums and ballets. She also participated in the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief and was named the official face of the limited edition "Fashion For Haiti" T-shirt. On March 5, 2010, Knowles and her mother Tina, opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Brooklyn Phoenix House. The program offers a seven-month cosmetology training course for men and women there. L'Oréal donated all the products to be used at the center, and Knowles, along with her mother, have pledged to donate $100,000 annually.
2011–12: 4 and motherhood
In 2011, documents obtained by WikiLeaks revealed that Knowles was one of many entertainers who had received extravagant sums to perform for the family of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Rolling Stone reported that the music industry was urging them to return the money they earned for the concerts. A spokesperson for Knowles told The Huffington Post that she donated the money to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Later that year she became the first solo female artist to headline the Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years and was named the "Highest Paid Performer Per Minute in the World", having earlier earned £1.25 million for a five-song performance at a private 2010 New Year's Eve party on the island of St. Barts by Saucytime.com. In April 2011, Knowles joined forces with US First Lady Michelle Obama and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, to help boost the latter's campaign against child obesity by reworking her single "Get Me Bodied". Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Knowles released her cover of the song "God Bless the USA", as a charity single to help raise funds for the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund.
Her fourth studio album 4 was released on June 28, 2011 in the United States. 4 sold 310,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Knowles her fourth consecutive number-one album in the US. This made her the third artist in the chart's history, to have her first four studio albums debut at number one. The album was preceded by its first two singles "Run the World (Girls)" and "Best Thing I Never Had", which both attained moderate success. The album's fourth single "Love on Top" was a commercial success in the US. 4 also produced two other singles, "Countdown" and "End of Time", which received less success, but critical acclaim. Knowles took the stage at New York's Roseland Ballroom for four nights of special performances. The set on each night of the 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé concerts on August 14, 16, 18 and 19 was the entire collection of 4, and she performed to a standing-room-only audience. She wrote the July 2011 Essence cover story "Eat, Play, Love", talking about her break from her music career in 2010 which later won her a Writing Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists.
Knowles with her daughter Blue Ivy in April 2012
She announced she was expecting her first child with Jay-Z at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards; throwing her microphone on the floor and undoing her blazer at the end of her performance of of "Love On Top". Her pregnancy announcement had broken the "most tweets per second recorded for a single event" Twitter record, receiving 8,868 tweets per second and "Beyonce pregnant" was the most Googled term from August 29, 2011 to September 4, 2011. MTV reported that Knowles' performance of "Love on Top" and the announcement of her pregnancy at the awards ceremony helped the 2011's MTV Video Music Awards become the most-watched broadcast in MTV history, pulling in 12.4 million viewers. Knowles' announcement of her pregnancy resulted in an increase in sales of her records, particularly 4. On January 7, 2012, Knowles gave birth to a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Two days later, Jay-Z released "Glory", a song dedicated to their child, on his social website Lifeandtimes.com. The song detailed the couple's pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Knowles suffered before becoming pregnant with their daughter. Blue Ivy's cries are included at the end of the song, so she was officially credited as B.I.C. on the song. At two days old, she became the youngest person ever to appear on a Billboard chart when "Glory" debuted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at number 74.
Knowles received two nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards; Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Party", and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am... World Tour. That month she also performed for four nights at Revel Atlantic City's Ovation Hall to celebrate the resort's opening, her first performances since giving birth to Blue Ivy. Knowles became an ambassador for the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign and donating her song "I Was Here" and its music video to the campaign. On August 19, Knowles helped the campaign make social media history as more than one billion messages were shared at the same time in relation to the event. Knowles and Jay-Z raised $4 million, during an exclusive fundraising event at the latter's 40/40 Club in New York City, for US President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. In December, Knowles along with a variety of other celebrities teamed up and produced a video campaign named "Demand A Plan", designed to influence the US government into rethinking gun control laws, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
2013-present: Fifth studio album
In January Destiny's Child released a compilation album titled Love Songs, a collection of romantic-themed songs from the group's previous albums and also includes the newly recorded song "Nuclear". Knowles performed the American national anthem singing along with a pre-recorded track at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, held at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The next month Knowles performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Following that performance, Parkwood Entertainment announced The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. The tour kicks off in Europe on April 15, 2013, and features stops in twenty European cities. At the 55th Grammy Awards, Knowles won for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Love on Top". Her feature-length documentary film, Life Is But a Dream, premiered on HBO on February 16, 2013. The film, which Knowles directed and produced herself, featured footage of her childhood, her role as a mother and businesswoman, recording in the studio, rehearsing for live performances, and included her return to the spotlight following the birth of Blue Ivy. Knowles' upcoming fifth studio album is due to be released in April. Knowles will star as Queen Tara in the upcoming 3D CGI animated film, Epic, to be released by 20th Century Fox on May 24, 2013.
In February 2013, Knowles signed a global publishing agreement with Warner/Chappell Music, which will cover her future songwriting and upcoming studio album. It was also announced that Knowles would work with Salma Hayek and Frida Giannini on a Gucci "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment, the campaign, aired on February 28, was set to new music by Knowles.
Music and voice
"With 'Single Ladies,' clearly I'd just gotten married, and people want to get married every day - then there was the whole Justin Timberlake thing [recreating the video] on "Saturday Night Live," and it was also the year YouTube blew up. With 'Irreplaceable,' the aggressive lyrics, the acoustic guitar, and the 808 [drum machine] - those things don't typically go together, and it sounded fresh. 'Crazy in Love' was another one of those classic moments in pop culture that none of us expected. I asked Jay to get on the song the night before I had to turn my album in - thank God he did. It still never gets old, no matter how many times I sing it."
—Knowles reflects on her musical style and the impact it has had on her life and pop culture during her Billboard
Cover story in 2011.
Knowles' music is generally contemporary R&B, but she also incorporates pop, electropop, funk, hip hop, and soul into her songs. While she almost exclusively releases English songs, Knowles recorded several Spanish songs for Irreemplazable and the re-release of B'Day. Prior to recording these, Knowles was coached phonetically by American record producer Rudy Perez. She has received co-writing credits for most of the songs recorded with Destiny's Child, as well as for her solo efforts. Her early songs were personally driven and female-empowerment themed compositions like "Independent Women" and "Survivor", but after her relationship with Jay-Z started she transitioned to more man-tending anthems such as "Cater 2 U". Some of her songs are autobiographical or taken from her friends experiences. Knowles has also received co-producing credits for most of the records in which she has been involved, especially during her solo efforts. However, she does not formulate beats herself, but typically comes up with melodies and ideas during production, sharing them with producers.
Knowles song writing has been recognised. In 2001 she become the first African-American female and second female songwriter to win the Pop Songwriter of the Year award at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Pop Music Awards. Knowles was the third woman to have writing credits on three number one songs ("Irreplaceable", "Grillz" and "Check on It") in the same year, after Carole King in 1971 and Mariah Carey in 1991. She is tied with Diane Warren at third with nine songwriting credits on number-one singles. In May 2011, Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust of Billboard magazine listed Knowles at number 17 on their list of the "Top 20 Hot 100 Songwriters", for having co-written eight singles that hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She was one of only three women on that list.
Knowles possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range that spans more than three octaves. She has been identified as the centerpiece of Destiny's Child. While predominately R&B, Knowles' music explores various styles. The Daily Mail calls Knowles' voice "versatile", capable of exploring power ballads, soul, rock belting, operatic florishes, and hip hop. Jon Pareles of The New York Times commented that her voice is "velvety yet tart, with an insistent flutter and reserves of soul belting". Other critics praise her range and power, with Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly describing her as "a storm system disguised as a singer" and Chris Richards of The Washington Post saying she was "capable of punctuating any beat with goose-bump-inducing whispers or full-bore diva-roars."
Knowles credits Michael Jackson as her major musical influence and idol. She admired Diana Ross as an "all-around entertainer" and Whitney Houston who "inspired [her] to get up there and do what [Houston] did." Mariah Carey's singing, especially her song "Vision of Love" also influenced Knowles to pursue a career as a musician. Her other musical influences include Cher, Tina Turner, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Sade Adu, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Rachelle Ferrell. Knowles credits Mariah Carey's singing and her song "Vision of Love" as influencing her to begin practicing vocal runs as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician. Non-musically Knowles is inspired by US First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey "the definition of inspiration and a strong woman."
The feminism and female empowerment themes on Knowles' second solo album B'Day were inspired by her role in Dreamgirls and by singer Josephine Baker. Knowles' paid homage to Baker by performing "Déjà Vu" at the 2006 Fashion Rocks concert wearing Baker's trademark mini-hula skirt embellished with fake bananas. Knowles' third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce was inspired by Jay-Z and especially by Etta James, whose "boldness" inspired Knowles to explore other musical genres and styles. Her fourth solo album 4 was inspired by Fela Kuti, 1990s R&B, Earth, Wind & Fire, DeBarge, Lionel Richie, Teena Marie with additional influences by The Jackson 5, New Edition, Adele, Florence and the Machine and Prince. Knowles also mentioned that she was influenced by Jay-Z's work as well.
Stage and alter ego
In 2006, Knowles introduced her all-female tour band Suga Mama, which includes bassists, drummers, guitarists, horn players, keyboardists and percussionists. Her background singers, The Mamas, consist of Montina Cooper-Donnell, Crystal Collins and Tiffany Moniqué Riddick. They made their début appearance at the 2006 BET Awards and re-appeared in the music videos for "Irreplaceable" and "Green Light". The band have supported Knowles in most subsequent live performances, including her 2007 concert tour The Beyoncé Experience, 2009 I Am... World Tour and the 4 promotional tour.
Knowles has received praise for her stage presence and voice during live performances. Jarett Wieselman of the New York Post placed Knowles at number one on her list of The Five Best Singer/Dancers. Renee Michelle Harris of South Florida Times praised Knowles dancing and stage presence saying she was the "complete package". According to Barbara Ellen of The Guardian Beyoncé is in the most charge female artist she's seen onstage, while Alice Jones of The Independent says she "takes her role as entertainer so seriously she's almost too good." Tamara Hardingham-Gill of the Daily Mail wrote that "many industry experts have been tipping Beyoncé as the next Michael Jackson". Jim Farber of the Daily News and Stephanie Classen of Star Phoenix both praised her strong voice and her stage presence.
Known for being "sexy, seductive and provocative" when performing on stage, Knowles has stated that's her alter ego Sasha Fierce. She described Sasha as being "too aggressive, too strong, too sassy [and] too sexy", stating: "I'm not like her in real life at all." Beyonce created Sasha so she can keep her stage persona separate from who she really is. Although Sasha was born during the making of "Crazy in Love", Knowles introduced her alter ego with the release of her 2008 album I Am... Sasha Fierce. In February 2010, Knowles announced in an interview with Allure magazine that she was comfortable enough with herself to no longer need Sasha Fierce anymore. Knowles announced in May 2012 that she would be bringing Sasha Fierce back for her Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live shows later that month.
Off stage Knowles likes to dress sexily and carry herself "like a lady". Due to her curves the media often use the term "Bootylicious" (a portmanteau of the words booty and delicious) to describe Knowles. The term was made widely known by the Destiny's Child single of the same name, and has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Knowles is fond of fashion who, according to Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, uses different styles and tries to harmonize it with the music while performing. The B'Day Anthology Video Album showed many instances of fashion-oriented footage, depicting classic to contemporary wardrobe styles. People magazine recognized Knowles as the best-dressed celebrity in 2007. Knowles' mother co-wrote a book, published in 2002, entitled Destiny's Style: Bootylicious Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Secrets From Destiny's Child, an account of how fashion had an impact on Destiny's Child's success. As one of the most media-exposed black celebrities in the United States, Knowles image has received some criticism that Emmett Price, a professor of music at Northeastern University, says is due to her race. Toure of Rolling Stone stated that since the release of Dangerously in Love (2003), "[Beyoncé] has become a crossover sex symbol a la Halle Berry ..." In 2006, the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticized Knowles for wearing fur coats and using fur in her clothing line House of Deréon.
During the release of Rihanna's second album A Girl Like Me in 2006, many critics felt that her image was too heavily similar to Knowles'. Some media even claimed that Jay-Z fashioned her to be a replica of Knowles. In March 2009, comparisons were also made between the fashions of Knowles and Ciara, when the latter released the music video of her single "Love Sex Magic". In 2007, Knowles was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and became the first non-model and non-athlete woman to pose on the issue, and the second model of African American descent after Tyra Banks. In the same year, Knowles appeared on billboards and newspapers across the United States showing her holding an antiquated cigarette holder. Taken from the back cover of B'Day, the image provoked response from an anti-smoking group, stating that she did not need to add the cigarette holder "to make herself appear more sophisticated". In 2011, she appeared on the cover of French fashion magazine L'Officiel, in blackface and tribal makeup that drawn criticism from the media. A statement released from a spokesperson for the magazine said that Knowles' look was "far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce" and that it was "a return to her African roots".
In September 2010, Knowles made her runway modelling debut at Tom Ford's Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show. She was named "World's Most Beautiful Woman" by People and the "Hottest Female Singer of All Time" by Complex in 2012. In January 2013, GQ placed her on its cover, putting her atop its "100 Sexiest Women of the 21st Century" list. Knowles has several wax figures of herself at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in major cities around the world, including New York, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Bangkok, Hollywood and Sydney.
Knowles has earned numerous awards and honors. As a solo artist she has sold over 13 million albums in the US, and over 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed Knowles as the top certified artist of the 2000s, with a total of 64 certifications. Her songs "Crazy in Love", "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", "Halo" and "Irreplaceable" are some of the best-selling singles of all time worldwide. In 2009, The Observer named her the Artist of the Decade and Billboard named her the Top Female Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade. In 2010, Knowles was ranked at number 52 on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" and Billboard named her in their "Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years" list at number 15. In 2012 VH1 ranked her third on their list of the "100 Greatest Women in Music". Knowles was the first female artist to be honored with the International Artist Award at the American Music Awards. She has also received the Legend Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts at the 2008 World Music Awards and the Billboard Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards. Writing for The New Yorker music critic Jody Rosen described Knowles as "the most important and compelling popular musician of the twenty-first century ... the result, the logical end point, of a century-plus of pop."
Knowles has won 17 Grammy Awards, both as a solo artist and member of Destiny's Child, making her the third most honored female artist by the Grammys. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" won Song of the Year in 2010 while "Say My Name", and "Crazy in Love" had previously won Best R&B Song. Dangerously in Love, B'Day and I Am... Sasha Fierce have all won Best Contemporary R&B Album. Knowles set the record for the most Grammy awards won by a female artist in one night in 2010, when she won six awards from her ten nominations. Following her role in Dreamgirls she was nominated for Best Original Song for "Listen" and Best Actress at the Golden Globe Awards, and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.
Forbes magazine begun reporting on Knowles earnings in 2008, calculating that her the $80 million earned between June 2007 to June 2008, for her music, tour, films and clothing line made her the world's second best-paid music personality at the time. They placed her fourth on the Celebrity 100 list in 2009 and ninth on the "Most Powerful Women in the World" list in 2010. In June 2011, Forbes placed her eighth on the "Best-Paid Celebrities Under 30" list, having earned $35 million in the past year for her clothing line and endorsement deals. In 2012, Forbes placed Knowles at number 16 on the "Celebrity 100" list, twelve places lower than three years ago yet still having earned $40 million in the past year for her album 4, clothing line and endorsement deals. and placed her and Jay-Z at number one on the "World's Highest-Paid Celebrity Couples", for collectively earning $78 million in the past year. Knowles and Jay-Z made it into the 2011 Guinness Book of Records as the "highest-earning power couple" for collectively earning $122 million in 2009.
Artists that have cited her as an inspiration include Adele, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, Leona Lewis, Misha B, Nicole Scherzinger, Rita Ora, Jessie J, and Azealia Banks. American indie rock band White Rabbits also cited her an inspiration for their third album Milk Famous (2012), friend Gwyneth Paltrow studied Knowles at her live concerts while learning to become a musical performer in the 2010 film Country Strong,  and Nicki Minaj has stated that seeing Knowles' Pepsi commercial influenced her to appear in Pepsi's 2012 global campaign. Simon Cowell said that she defines a new breed of super popstars, and Lady Gaga has recalled watching Knowles and thinking, "Oh, she's a star. I want that. I want to be on MTV".
Knowles has made an impact on social media and in academia as well. The music video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", which achieved fame for its intricate choreography and its deployment of jazz hands, was credited by the Toronto Star as having starting the "first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet". It triggered a number of parodies of the dance choreography and a legion of amateur imitators posted videos of themselves on YouTube. In January 2012, research scientist Bryan Lessard named Scaptia beyonceae, a species of horse fly found in Northern Queensland, Australia after Knowles due to the fly's unique golden hairs on its abdomen. Later that month, a course around Knowles's meaning in culture called "Politicizing Beyoncé" was introduced at the Rutgers University in New Jersey. The course allows students to explore the "social and cultural significance" of Knowles' music and image, including her alter ego Sasha Fierce and whether Knowles "racy performances" are of female sexual empowerment or "merely complying with western gender stereotypes".
House of Deréon
Knowles and her mother introduced House of Deréon, a ready-to-wear contemporary women's fashion line, in 2005. The concept is inspired by three generations of women in their family, with the name Deréon paying tribute to Knowles' grandmother, Agnèz Deréon, who worked as a seamstress. According to Tina Knowles, the overall style of the line best reflects Knowles' taste and style. Knowles and her mother founded their family's company Beyond Productions, which provides the licensing and brand management for Deréon, a "junior lifestyle collection", and House of Deréon. Products of House of Deréon received public exhibitions through Destiny's Child's shows and tours, during their Destiny Fulfilled era. The House of Deréon collection features sportswear, denim offerings with fur, outerwear and accessories that include handbags and footwear, which are available at department and specialty stores across the United States and Canada.
In 2005, Knowles teamed up with House of Brands, a local shoe company, to produce a range of footwear for House of Deréon. In January 2008, Starwave Mobile launched Beyoncé Fashion Diva, a "high-style" mobile game with an online social networking component, featuring the House of Deréon collection. In July 2009, Knowles and her mother launched a new junior apparel label, Sasha Fierce for Deréon, for back-to-school selling. The collection included sportswear, outerwear, handbags, footwear, eyewear, lingerie and jewelry. It was available to buy at department stores including Macy's and Dillard's, and specialty stores Jimmy Jazz and Against All Odds. On May 27, 2010, Knowles teamed up with clothing store C&A to launch Deréon by Beyoncé at C&A stores in Brazil. The collection included Tailored blazers with padded shoulders, little black dresses, embroidered tops and shirts and bandage dresses.
Products and endorsements
In 2002, Knowles signed a promotional deal with Pepsi to appear in two television commercials, as well as in radio and Internet advertisements and in-store promotional materials. A 2004 Pepsi television commercial in the theme of Gladiators featured Knowles with singers Britney Spears, Pink, and Enrique Iglesias, and the following year with Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham on a commercial called "Samurai". Knowles' range of commercial deals and products also includes beauty care products and perfumes. She has worked with L'Oréal since the age of 18. In 2004, Knowles launched her fragrance, True Star, with Tommy Hilfiger. The commercial for the scent was shot in black and white and has Knowles singing a cover version of "Wishing on a Star", for which she earned $250,000. The following year, Knowles launched her second fragrance with Hilfiger called True Star Gold. In 2007, Knowles appeared in an advertisement campaign for the Emporio Armani Diamonds fragrance.
In March 2009, Knowles appeared in a television commercial for the Nintendo DS game Rhythm Heaven. She also appeared in two television commercials for Style Savvy, a fashion video game for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi. Five designs from her House of Deréon clothing line were available for download in the game. In January 2010, Knowles signed a three-year endorsement deal with Vizio. In February 2010, Knowles launched her first official fragrance, Heat. She re-recorded her cover version of "Fever" for the fragrance's television commercial. The commercial was banned from daytime television in the United Kingdom, after it had received 14 viewer complaints. The commercial, which begins with an image of Knowles appearing to lie naked in a room, had been deemed "too sexually provocative" to be seen by young children and was not shown before 7.30 pm. In February 2011, Knowles launched her second fragrance, Heat Rush. In April 2011, Knowles was sued by US game developer, Gate Five, for more than $100 million, who claimed she "destroyed [its] business ... on a whim". Gate Five alleged that Knowles changed her mind about plans for a game called Starpower: Beyoncé, forcing the company to sack 70 employees the week before Christmas 2010. Knowles' third fragrance, Pulse, was launched in September 2011.
In December 2012, it was announced that Knowles had partnered with Pepsi in a multi-year deal estimated at $50 million. As reported by The New York Times, "the deal will include standard advertising like commercials as well as a multimillion-dollar fund to support the singer's chosen creative projects." Following her performance at the Super Bowl halftime show on February 3, 2013, Knowles will appear in a global television commercial for Pepsi — Live for Now, her fifth for the soft drink since 2002. Knowles' image will also be used in life-size cardboard cutouts in stores and on a limited-edition line of soda cans, which will launch first in Europe in March 2013.
Tours and revues
- Concert tours
- Revue shows
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