Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (born September 4, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child, and rose to fame in the late 1990s as lead singer of R&B girl-group Destiny's Child. Managed by her father, Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. Their hiatus saw the release of Beyoncé's debut album, Dangerously in Love (2003), which established her as a solo artist worldwide, earned five Grammy Awards and featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy".
Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in June 2005, she released her second solo album, B'Day (2006), which contained hits "Déjà Vu", "Irreplaceable", and "Beautiful Liar". Beyoncé also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe-nominated performance in Dreamgirls (2006), and starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006) and Obsessed (2009). Her marriage to rapper Jay Z and portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album, I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the birth of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". Beyoncé took a hiatus from music in 2010 and took over management of her career; her fourth album 4 (2011) was subsequently mellower in tone, exploring 1970s funk, 1980s pop, and 1990s soul. Her critically acclaimed fifth album, Beyoncé (2013), was distinguished from previous releases by its experimental production and exploration of darker themes. Her sixth album, Lemonade (2016), was released in conjunction with a short film of the same name.
A self-described "modern-day feminist", her musical repertoire is often characterized by themes of love, relationships, and monogamy, as well as female sexuality and empowerment. Her dynamic and highly choreographed on-stage performances have led many critics to consider her one of the most effective entertainers in contemporary popular music. Throughout a career spanning 19 years, she has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist, and a further 60 million with Destiny's Child, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She has won 20 Grammy Awards and is the most nominated woman in the award show's history. The Recording Industry Association of America recognized her as the Top Certified Artist in America during the 2000s. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade, the Top Female Artist of the 2000s and their Artist of the Millennium in 2011. Time listed her among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013 and 2014. Forbes magazine also listed her as the most powerful female musician of 2015.
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, to Celestine "Tina" Knowles (née Beyincé), a hairdresser and salon owner, and Mathew Knowles, a Xerox sales manager. Beyoncé's name is a tribute to her mother's maiden name. Beyoncé's younger sister Solange is also a singer and a former member of Destiny's Child. Mathew is African-American, while Tina is of Louisiana Creole descent (with African, Native American, French, Cajun, and distant Irish and Spanish ancestry). Through her mother, Beyoncé is a descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. She was raised in a Methodist household.
Beyoncé attended St. Mary's Montessori School in Houston, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when dance instructor Darlette Johnson began humming a song and she finished it, able to hit the high-pitched notes. Beyoncé's interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show at age seven, singing John Lennon's "Imagine" to beat 15/16-year-olds. In fall of 1990, Beyoncé enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform with the school's choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. Beyoncé was also a member of the choir at St. John's United Methodist Church as a soloist for two years.
At age eight, Beyoncé and childhood friend 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 as Girl's Tyme, and rapped and danced on the talent show circuit in Houston. After seeing the group, R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them in Star Search, the largest talent show on national TV at the time. Girl's Tyme failed to win, and Beyoncé later said the song they performed was not good. In 1995 Beyoncé's father resigned from his job to manage the group. The move reduced Beyoncé's family's income by half, and her parents were forced to move into separated apartments. Mathew cut the original line-up to four and the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups. The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, moving to Atlanta Records briefly to work on their first recording, only to be cut by the company. This put further strain on the family, and Beyoncé's parents separated. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins's Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, the girls began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, the Knowles family reunited, and shortly after, the group got a contract with Columbia Records.
Three woman are shown to be performing; multi-colored lights shine upon them
Destiny's Child performing "Say My Name", a single that garnered critical and commercial success, along with two Grammy Awards
The group changed their name to Destiny's Child in 1996, based upon a passage in the Book of Isaiah. In 1997, Destiny's Child released their major label debut 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 Album of the Year, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, and Best R&B/Soul Single for "No, No, No". 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 Annual Grammy Awards. The Writing's on the Wall sold more than eight million copies worldwide. During this time, Beyoncé recorded a duet with Marc Nelson, an original member of Boyz II Men, 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. Beyoncé experienced depression following the split with Luckett and Roberson after being publicly blamed by the media, critics, and blogs for its cause. Her long-standing boyfriend left her at this time. The depression was so severe it lasted for a couple of years, during which she occasionally kept herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat anything. Beyoncé 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. Beyoncé would later speak of her mother as the person who helped her fight it. Franklin was dismissed, leaving just Beyoncé, 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 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for eleven consecutive weeks. In early 2001, while Destiny's Child was completing their third album, Beyoncé 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 debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, 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 further pursue solo careers.
In July 2002, Beyoncé continued her acting career playing Foxxy Cleopatra alongside Mike Myers in the comedy film Austin Powers in Goldmember, which spent its first weekend atop the US box office and grossed $73 million. Beyoncé released "Work It Out" as the lead single from its soundtrack album which entered the top ten in the UK, Norway, and Belgium. In 2003, Beyoncé starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., in the musical comedy The Fighting Temptations as Lilly, a single mother with whom Gooding's character falls in love. The film received mixed reviews from critics but grossed $30 million in the U.S. Beyoncé released "Fighting Temptation" as the lead single from the film's soundtrack album, with Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free which was also used to promote the film. Another of Beyoncé's contributions to the soundtrack, "Summertime", fared better on the US charts.
Beyoncé's first solo recording was a feature on Jay Z's "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" that was released in October 2002, peaking at number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her first solo album Dangerously in Love was released on June 24, 2003, after Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland had released their solo efforts. The album sold 317,000 copies in its first week, debuted atop the Billboard 200, and has since sold 11 million copies worldwide. The album's lead single, "Crazy in Love", featuring Jay Z, became Beyoncé's first number-one single as a solo artist in the US. The single "Baby Boy" also reached number one, and singles, "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl", both reached the top-five. The album earned Beyoncé a then record-tying five awards at the 46th Annual 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 for the Verizon Ladies First Tour in North America. On February 1, 2004, Beyoncé performed the American national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII, at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. After the release of Dangerously in Love, Beyoncé 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. Released on November 15, 2004, in the US and peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, Destiny Fulfilled included the singles "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier", which reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Destiny's Child embarked on a worldwide concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It and 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 US and accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006.
Beyoncé's second solo album B'Day was released on September 5, 2006, in the US, to coincide with her twenty-fifth birthday. It sold 541,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200, becoming Beyoncé's second consecutive number-one album in the United States. The album's lead single "Déjà Vu", featuring Jay Z, reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second international single "Irreplaceable" was a commercial success worldwide, reaching number one in Australia, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. B'Day also produced three other singles; "Ring the Alarm", "Get Me Bodied", and "Green Light" (released in the United Kingdom only).
Her first acting role of 2006 was in the comedy film The Pink Panther starring opposite Steve Martin, grossing $158.8 million at the box office worldwide. Her second film Dreamgirls, the film version of the 1981 Broadway musical loosely based on The Supremes, received acclaim from critics and grossed $154 million internationally. In it, she starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy playing a pop singer based on Diana Ross. To promote the film, Beyoncé released "Listen" as the lead single from the soundtrack album. In April 2007, Beyoncé embarked on The Beyoncé Experience, her first worldwide concert tour, visiting 97 venues and grossed over $24 million. Beyoncé conducted pre-concert food donation drives during six major stops in conjunction with her pastor at St. John's and America's Second Harvest. At the same time, B'Day was re-released with five additional songs, including her duet with Shakira "Beautiful Liar".
On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé married Jay Z. She publicly revealed their marriage in a video montage 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 formally introduces Beyoncé's alter ego Sasha Fierce, conceived during the making of her 2003 single "Crazy in Love", selling 482,000 copies in its first week, debuting atop the Billboard 200, and giving Beyoncé her third consecutive number-one album in the US. The album featured the number-one song "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and the top-five songs "If I Were a Boy" and "Halo". Achieving the accomplishment of becoming her longest-running Hot 100 single in her career, "Halo"'s success in the US helped Beyoncé attain more top-ten singles on the list than any other woman during the 2000s. It also included the successful "Sweet Dreams", and singles "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 according to the Toronto Star. The video has won several awards, including Best Video at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards, the 2009 Scottish 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", led to Kanye West interrupting the ceremony and Beyoncé improvising a re-presentation of Swift's award during her own acceptance speech. In March 2009, Beyoncé embarked on the I Am... World Tour, her second headlining worldwide concert tour, consisting of 108 shows, grossing $119.5 million.
Beyoncé further expanded her acting career, starring as blues singer Etta James in the 2008 musical biopic Cadillac Records. Her performance in the film received praise from critics, and she 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. Beyoncé donated her entire salary from the film to Phoenix House, an organization of rehabilitation centers for heroin addicts around the country. On January 20, 2009, Beyoncé performed James' "At Last" at the First Couple's first inaugural ball. Beyoncé starred opposite Ali Larter and Idris Elba in the thriller, Obsessed. She played Sharon Charles, a mother and wife who learns of a woman's obsessive behavior over her husband. Although the film received negative reviews from critics, the movie did well at the US box office, grossing $68 million-$60 million more than Cadillac Records-on a budget of $20 million. The fight scene finale between Sharon and the character played by Ali Larter also won the 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Fight.
At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, Beyoncé 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 2010, Beyoncé was featured on Lady Gaga's single "Telephone" and appeared in its music video. The song topped the US Pop Songs chart, becoming the sixth number-one for both Beyoncé and Gaga, tying them with Mariah Carey for most number-ones since the Nielsen Top 40 airplay chart launched in 1992. "Telephone" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Beyoncé announced a hiatus from her music career in January 2010, heeding her mother's advice, "to live life, to be inspired by things again". During the break she and her father parted ways as business partners. Beyoncé's musical break lasted nine months and saw her visit multiple European cities, the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian pyramids, Australia, English music festivals and various museums and ballet performances.
On June 26, 2011, she became the first solo female artist to headline the main Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years. Her fourth studio album 4 was released two days later in the US. 4 sold 310,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Beyoncé her fourth consecutive number-one album in the US. The album was preceded by two of its singles "Run the World (Girls)" and "Best Thing I Never Had", which both attained moderate success. The fourth single "Love on Top" was a commercial success in the US. 4 also produced four other singles; "Party", "Countdown", "I Care" and "End of Time". "Eat, Play, Love", a cover story written by Beyoncé for Essence that detailed her 2010 career break, won her a writing award from the New York Association of Black Journalists. In late 2011, she took the stage at New York's Roseland Ballroom for four nights of special performances: the 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé concerts saw the performance of her 4 album to a standing room only.
On January 7, 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Five months later, she 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.
In January 2013, Destiny's Child released Love Songs, a compilation album of the romance-themed songs from their previous albums and a newly recorded track, "Nuclear". Beyoncé performed the American national anthem singing along with a pre-recorded track at President Obama's second inauguration in Washington, D.C. The following month, Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The performance stands as the second most tweeted about moment in history at 268,000 tweets per minute. At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, Beyoncé won for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Love on Top". Her feature-length documentary film, Life Is But a Dream, first aired on HBO on February 16, 2013.
Beyoncé embarked on The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour on April 15 in Belgrade, Serbia; the tour included 132 dates that ran through to March 2014. It became the most successful tour of her career and one of the most successful tours of all time. In May, Beyoncé's cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" with André 3000 on The Great Gatsby soundtrack was released. Beyoncé voiced Queen Tara in the 3D CGI animated film, Epic, released by 20th Century Fox on May 24, and recorded an original song for the film, "Rise Up", co-written with Sia.
On December 13, 2013, Beyoncé unexpectedly released her eponymous fifth studio album on the iTunes Store without any prior announcement or promotion. The album debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Beyoncé her fifth consecutive number-one album in the US. This made her the first woman in the chart's history to have her first five studio albums debut at number one. Beyoncé received critical acclaim and commercial success, selling one million digital copies worldwide in six days; Musically an electro-R&B album, it concerns darker themes previously unexplored in her work, such as "bulimia, postnatal depression the fears and insecurities of marriage and motherhood". The single "Drunk in Love", featuring Jay Z, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In April 2014, after much speculation, Beyoncé and Jay Z officially announced their On the Run Tour. It served as the couple's first co-headlining stadium tour together. On August 24, 2014, she received the Video Vanguard Award at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Knowles also won home three competitive awards: Best Video with a Social Message and Best Cinematography for "Pretty Hurts", as well as best collaboration for "Drunk in Love". In November, Forbes reported that Beyoncé was the top-earning woman in music for the second year in a row-earning $115 million in the year, more than double her earnings in 2013. Beyoncé was reissued with new material in three forms: as an extended play, a box set, as well as a full platinum edition.
At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015, Beyoncé was nominated for six awards, ultimately winning three: Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for "Drunk in Love", and Best Surround Sound Album for Beyoncé. She was nominated for Album of the Year, but the award went to Beck for his album Morning Phase.
On February 6, 2016, Beyoncé released a new single and its accompanying music video exclusively on the music streaming platform Tidal, titled "Formation"; the song was made available to download for free. Immediately following the announcement, Beyoncé announced The Formation World Tour, which highlighted stops in both North America, and Europe.
She performed the new single live "Formation," which appears as the final track of Lemonade, for the first time during the NFL Super Bowl 50 halftime show. The appearance was considered controversial as it marked the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party and the NFL forbids political statements in its performances. Part of the controversy stemmed from a false impression that Beyoncé's music prior to that moment was never political or attempting to influence any social issues.
On April 16, 2016, Beyoncé announced a short film entitled Lemonade which aired on HBO exactly a week later, April 23 at 10:00pm EST; a corresponding album with the same title was released on the same day exclusively on the streaming platform TIDAL.
Beyoncé is believed to have started a relationship with Jay Z after a collaboration on "'03 Bonnie & Clyde", which appeared on his seventh album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse (2002). Beyoncé appeared as Jay Z's girlfriend in the music video for the song, fuelling speculation about their relationship. On April 4, 2008, Beyoncé and Jay Z married without publicity. As of April 2014, the couple had sold a combined 300 million records together. They are known for their private relationship, although they have appeared to become more relaxed in recent years. Beyoncé suffered a miscarriage in 2010 or 2011, describing it as "the saddest thing" she had ever endured. She returned to the studio and wrote music in order to cope with the loss. In April 2011, Beyoncé and Jay Z traveled to Paris in order to shoot the album cover for 4, and unexpectedly became pregnant in Paris.
In August, the couple attended the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, at which Beyoncé performed "Love on Top" and started the performance saying "Tonight I want you to stand up on your feet, I want you to feel the love that's growing inside of me". At the end of the performance, she dropped her microphone, unbuttoned her blazer and rubbed her stomach, confirming her pregnancy she had alluded to earlier in the evening. Her appearance helped that year's MTV Video Music Awards become the most-watched broadcast in MTV history, pulling in 12.4 million viewers; the announcement was listed in Guinness World Records for "most tweets per second recorded for a single event" on Twitter, receiving 8,868 tweets per second and "Beyonce pregnant" was the most Googled term the week of August 29, 2011.
On January 7, 2012, Beyoncé gave birth to a daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York under heavy security. Two days later, Jay Z released "Glory", a song dedicated to their child, on his website Lifeandtimes.com. The song detailed the couple's pregnancy struggles, including a miscarriage Beyoncé suffered before becoming pregnant with Blue Ivy. Blue Ivy's cries are included at the end of the song, and she was officially credited as "B.I.C." on it. 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.
Beyoncé and husband Jay Z are friends with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She performed "America the Beautiful" at the 2009 presidential inauguration, as well as "At Last" during the first inaugural dance at the Neighborhood Ball two days later. Beyoncé and Jay Z held a fundraiser at the latter's 40/40 Club in Manhattan for Obama's 2012 presidential campaign which raised $4 million. Beyoncé uploaded pictures of her paper ballot on Tumblr, confirming she had voted in support for the Democratic Party and to encourage others to do so. She also performed the American national anthem at his second inauguration, singing along with a pre-recorded track. She publicly endorsed same sex marriage on March 26, 2013, after the Supreme Court debate on California's Proposition 8. In July 2013, Beyoncé and Jay-Z attended a rally in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
In an interview published by Vogue in April 2013, Beyoncé was asked if she considers herself a feminist, to which she said, "that word can be very extreme... But I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality". She would later align herself more publicly with the movement, sampling "We should all be feminists", a speech delivered by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at a TEDxEuston conference in April 2013, in her song "Flawless", released later that year. She has also contributed to the Ban Bossy campaign, which uses television and social media to encourage leadership in girls.
In 2015 Beyoncé signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.
Following the death of Freddie Gray, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, among other notable figures, met with his family. After the imprisonment of protesters of Gray's death, Beyoncé and Jay-Z donated thousands of dollars to bail them out.
The Washington Post reported in May 2015, that Mrs. Knowles-Carter attended a major celebrity fundraiser for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Forbes magazine began reporting on Beyoncé's earnings in 2008, calculating that the $80 million earned between June 2007 to June 2008, for her music, tour, films and clothing line made her the world's best-paid music personality at the time, above Madonna and Celine Dion. They placed her fourth on the Celebrity 100 list in 2009 and ninth on the "Most Powerful Women in the World" list in 2010. The following year, 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 Beyoncé 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. In the same year, Beyoncé and Jay Z placed at number one on the "World's Highest-Paid Celebrity Couples", for collectively earning $78 million. The couple made it into the previous year's Guinness World Records as the "highest-earning power couple" for collectively earning $122 million in 2009. For the years 2009 to 2011, Beyoncé earned an average of $70 million per year, and earned $40 million in 2012. In 2013, Beyoncé's endorsements of Pepsi and H&M made her and Jay Z the world's first billion dollar couple in the music industry. That year, Beyoncé was published as the fourth most-powerful celebrity in the Forbes rankings. MTV estimated that by the end of 2014, Beyoncé would become the highest-paid black musician in history; she succeeded to do so in April 2014. In June 2014, Beyoncé ranked at #1 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, earning an estimated $115 million throughout June 2013 – June 2014. This in turn was the first time she had topped the Celebrity 100 list as well as being her highest yearly earnings to date. As of May 2015, her net worth is estimated to be $250 million.
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 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.- Beyoncé
Beyoncé's vocal range spans four octaves. Jody Rosen highlights her tone and timbre as particularly distinctive, describing her voice as "one of the most compelling instruments in popular music". While another critic says she is a "Vocal acrobat, being able to sing long and complex melismas and vocal runs effortlessly, and in key. Her vocal abilities mean she is identified as the centerpiece of Destiny's Child. The Daily Mail calls Beyoncé's voice "versatile", capable of exploring power ballads, soul, rock belting, operatic flourishes, 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". Rosen notes that the hip hop era highly influenced Beyoncé's strange rhythmic vocal style, but also finds her quite traditionalist in her use of balladry, gospel and falsetto. Other critics praise her range and power, with Chris Richards of The Washington Post saying she was "capable of punctuating any beat with goose-bump-inducing whispers or full-bore diva-roars."
Beyoncé's music is generally R&B, but she also incorporates pop, soul and funk into her songs. 4 demonstrated Beyoncé's exploration of 90s-style R&B, as well as further use of soul and hip hop than compared to previous releases. While she almost exclusively releases English songs, Beyoncé recorded several Spanish songs for Irreemplazable (re-recordings of songs from B'Day for a Spanish-language audience), and the re-release of B'Day. To record these, Beyoncé 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 and her solo efforts. Her early songs were personally driven and female-empowerment themed compositions like "Independent Women" and "Survivor", but after the start of her relationship with Jay Z, she transitioned to more man-tending anthems such as "Cater 2 U". Beyoncé 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.
In 2001, she became the first African-American woman and second woman songwriter to win the Pop Songwriter of the Year award at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Pop Music Awards. Beyoncé 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 American songwriter Diane Warren at third with nine songwriting credits on number-one singles. (The latter wrote her 9/11-motivated song "I Was Here" for 4.) In May 2011, Billboard magazine listed Beyoncé 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.
Beyoncé names Michael Jackson as her major musical influence. Aged five, Beyoncé attended her first ever concert where Jackson performed and she claims to have realised her purpose. When she presented him with a tribute award at the World Music Awards in 2006, Beyoncé said, "if it wasn't for Michael Jackson, I would never ever have performed." She admires Diana Ross as an "all-around entertainer" and Whitney Houston, who she said "inspired me to get up there and do what she did." She credits Mariah Carey's singing and her song "Vision of Love" as influencing her to begin practicing vocal runs as a child. Her other musical influences include Aaliyah, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Sade Adu, Donna Summer, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Rachelle Ferrell.
The feminism and female empowerment themes on Beyoncé's second solo album B'Day were inspired by her role in Dreamgirls and by singer Josephine Baker. Beyoncé 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. Beyoncé's third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce was inspired by Jay Z and especially by Etta James, whose "boldness" inspired Beyoncé 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, The Jackson 5, New Edition, Adele, Florence and the Machine, and Prince.
Beyoncé has stated that she is personally inspired by US First Lady Michelle Obama, saying "She proves you can do it all" and she has described Oprah Winfrey as "the definition of inspiration and a strong woman". She has also discussed how Jay Z is a continuing inspiration to her, both with what she describes as his lyrical genius and in the obstacles he has overcome in his life. Beyoncé has expressed admiration for the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, posting in a letter "what I find in the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, I search for in every day in music... he is lyrical and raw". In February 2013, Beyoncé said that Madonna inspired her to take control of her own career. She commented: "I think about Madonna and how she took all of the great things she achieved and started the label and developed other artists. But there are not enough of those women.".
Stage and alter ego
In 2006, Beyoncé introduced her all-female tour band Suga Mama (also the name of a song in B'Day) 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 debut appearance at the 2006 BET Awards and re-appeared in the music videos for "Irreplaceable" and "Green Light". The band have supported Beyoncé in most subsequent live performances, including her 2007 concert tour The Beyoncé Experience, 2009–2010 I Am... World Tour and 2013–2014 The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.
Beyoncé has received praise for her stage presence and voice during live performances. Jarett Wieselman of the New York Post placed her at number one on her list of the Five Best Singer/Dancers. According to Barbara Ellen of The Guardian Beyoncé is the most in-charge female artist she's seen onstage, while Alice Jones of The Independent wrote she "takes her role as entertainer so seriously she's almost too good." The ex-President of Def Jam L.A. Reid has described Beyoncé as the greatest entertainer alive. Jim Farber of the Daily News and Stephanie Classen of Star Phoenix both praised her strong voice and her stage presence.
Described as being "sexy, seductive and provocative" when performing on stage, Beyoncé has said that she originally created the alter ego "Sasha Fierce" to keep that stage persona separate from who she really is. She described Sasha as being "too aggressive, too strong, too sassy too sexy", stating, "I'm not like her in real life at all." Sasha was conceived during the making of "Crazy in Love", and Beyoncé introduced her with the release of her 2008 album I Am... Sasha Fierce. In February 2010, she announced in an interview with Allure magazine that she was comfortable enough with herself to no longer need Sasha Fierce. However, Beyoncé announced in May 2012 that she would bring her back for her Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live shows later that month.
Beyoncé has been described as a having a wide-ranging sex appeal, with music journalist Touré writing that since the release of Dangerously in Love, she has "become a crossover sex symbol". Offstage Beyoncé says that while she likes to dress sexily, her onstage dress "is absolutely for the stage." Due to her curves and the term's catchiness, in the 2000s, the media often used the term "Bootylicious" (a portmanteau of the words booty and delicious) to describe Beyoncé, the term popularized by Destiny's Child's single of the same name. In 2006, it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
External images Knowles' Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover from February 15, 2007
In September 2010, Beyoncé 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, featuring her atop its "100 Sexiest Women of the 21st Century" list. VH1 listed her at number 1 on its 100 Sexiest Artists list. Several wax figures of Beyoncé are found at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in major cities around the world, including New York, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Bangkok, Hollywood and Sydney.
According to Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, Beyoncé uses different fashion styles to work with her music while performing. Her mother co-wrote a book, published in 2002, titled Destiny's Style an account of how fashion had an impact on the trio's success. The B'Day Anthology Video Album showed many instances of fashion-oriented footage, depicting classic to contemporary wardrobe styles. In 2007, Beyoncé was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, becoming the second African American woman after Tyra Banks, and People magazine recognized Beyoncé as the best-dressed celebrity.
The Bey Hive is the name given to Beyoncé's fan base. Fans were previously titled "The Beyontourage", (a portmanteau of Beyoncé and entourage). The name Bey Hive derives from the word beehive, purposely misspelled to resemble her first name, and was penned by fans after petitions on the online social networking service Twitter and online news reports during competitions.
In 2006, the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticized Beyoncé for wearing and using fur in her clothing line House of Deréon. In 2011, she appeared on the cover of French fashion magazine L'Officiel, in blackface and tribal makeup that drew criticism from the media. A statement released from a spokesperson for the magazine said that Beyoncé's look was "far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce" and that it was "a return to her African roots".
Beyoncé's lighter skin color and costuming has drawn criticism from some in the African-American community. Emmett Price, a professor of music at Northeastern University, wrote in 2007, that he thinks race plays a role in many of these criticisms, saying white celebrities who dress similarly do not attract as many comments. In 2008, L'Oréal was accused of whitening her skin in their Feria hair color advertisements, responding that "it is categorically untrue", and in 2013, Beyoncé herself criticized H&M for their proposed "retouching" of promotional images of her, and according to Vogue requested that only "natural pictures be used".
In The New Yorker music critic Jody Rosen described Beyoncé 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." When The Guardian named her Artist of the Decade, Llewyn-Smith wrote, "Why Beyoncé? Because she made not one but two of the decade's greatest singles, with Crazy in Love and Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), not to mention her hits with Destiny's Child; and this was the decade when singles – particularly R&B singles – regained their status as pop's favourite medium. and not any superannuated rock star was arguably the greatest live performer of the past 10 years." In 2013, Beyoncé made the Time 100 list, with Baz Luhrmann writing "no one has that voice, no one moves the way she moves, no one can hold an audience the way she does... When Beyoncé does an album, when Beyoncé sings a song, when Beyoncé does anything, it's an event, and it's broadly influential. Right now, she is the heir-apparent diva of the USA - the reigning national voice." In 2014, Beyoncé was listed again on the Time 100 and also featured on the cover of the issue.
Beyoncé's work has influenced numerous artists including Adele, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, Bridgit Mendler, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland, Sam Smith, Meghan Trainor, Nicole Scherzinger, Rita Ora, Zendaya, Cheryl Cole, JoJo, Alexis Jordan, Jessica Sanchez, 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 Beyoncé at her live concerts while learning to become a musical performer for the 2010 film Country Strong. Nicki Minaj has stated that seeing Beyoncé's Pepsi commercial influenced her decision to appear in the company's 2012 global campaign.
Her debut single, "Crazy in Love" was named VH1's "Greatest Song of the 2000s", NME's "Best Track of the 00s" and "Pop Song of the Century", considered by Rolling Stone to be one of the 500 greatest songs of all time, earned two Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling singles of all time at around 8 million copies. 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 started the "first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet", triggering a number of parodies of the dance choreography and a legion of amateur imitators on YouTube. In 2013, Drake released a single titled "Girls Love Beyoncé", which featured an interpolation from Destiny Child's "Say My Name" and discussed his relationship with women. In January 2012, research scientist Bryan Lessard named Scaptia beyonceae, a species of horse fly found in Northern Queensland, Australia after Beyoncé due to the fly's unique golden hairs on its abdomen. In July 2014, a Beyoncé exhibit was introduced into the "Legends of Rock" section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The black leotard from the "Single Ladies" video and her outfit from the Super Bowl half time performance are among several pieces housed at the museum.
Beyoncé has received numerous awards. As a solo artist she has sold over 16 million albums in the US, and over 100 million records worldwide (a further 60 million additionally with Destiny's Child), making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) listed Beyoncé 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, 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". Beyoncé 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 at the 2008 World Music Awards and the Billboard Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.
Beyoncé has won 20 Grammy Awards, both as a solo artist and member of Destiny's Child, making her the second most honored female artist by the Grammys, behind Alison Krauss and the most nominated woman in Grammy Award history with 52 nominations. "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. Beyoncé set the record for the most Grammy awards won by a female artist in one night in 2010 when she won six awards, breaking the tie she previously held with Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, and Amy Winehouse, with Adele equaling this in 2012. 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. Beyoncé won two awards at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2006; Best Song for "Listen" and Best Original Soundtrack for Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture.
Beyoncé has worked with Pepsi since 2002, and in 2004 appeared in a Gladiator-themed commercial with Britney Spears, Pink, and Enrique Iglesias. In 2012, Beyoncé signed a $50 million deal to endorse Pepsi. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPINET) wrote Beyoncé an open letter asking her to reconsider the deal because of the unhealthiness of the product and to donate the proceeds to a medical organisation. Nevertheless, NetBase found that Beyoncé's campaign was the most talked about endorsement in April 2013, with a 70 per cent positive audience response to the commercial and print ads.
Beyoncé has worked with Tommy Hilfiger for the fragrances True Star (singing a cover version of "Wishing on a Star") and True Star Gold; she also promoted Emporio Armani's Diamonds fragrance in 2007. Beyoncé launched her first official fragrance, Heat in 2010. The commercial, which featured the 1956 song "Fever", was shown after the water shed in the United Kingdom as it begins with an image of Beyoncé appearing to lie naked in a room. In February 2011, Beyoncé launched her second fragrance, Heat Rush. Beyoncé's third fragrance, Pulse, was launched in September 2011. In 2013, The Mrs. Carter Show Limited Edition version of Heat was released. The six editions of Heat are the world's best-selling celebrity fragrance line, with sales of over $400 million.
The release of a video-game Starpower: Beyoncé was cancelled after Beyoncé pulled out of a $100 million with GateFive who alleged the cancellation meant the sacking of 70 staff and millions of pounds lost in development. It was settled out of court by her lawyers in June 2013 who said that they had cancelled because GateFive had lost its financial backers. Beyoncé also has had deals with American Express, Nintendo DS and L'Oréal since the age of 18.
In October 2014, it was announced that Beyoncé with her management company Parkwood Entertainment would be partnering with London-based fashion retailer Topshop, in a new 50/50 split subsidiary business named Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd. The new division was created for Topshop to break into the activewear market, with an athletic, street wear brand being produced. "Creating a partnership with Beyoncé, one of the most hard-working and talented people in the world, who spends many hours of her life dancing, rehearsing and training is a unique opportunity to develop this category" stated Sir Philip Green on the partnership. The company and collection is set to launch and hit stores in the fall of 2015.
On March 30, 2015, it was announced that Beyoncé is a co-owner, with various other music artists, in the music streaming service Tidal. The service specialises in lossless audio and high definition music videos. Beyoncé's husband Jay Z acquired the parent company of Tidal, Aspiro, in the first quarter of 2015. Including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, sixteen artist stakeholders (such as Kanye West, Rihanna, Madonna, Chris Martin, Nicki Minaj and more) co-own Tidal, with the majority owning a 3% equity stake. The idea of having an all artist owned streaming service was created by those involved to adapt to the increased demand for streaming within the current music industry, and to rival other streaming services such as Spotify, which have been criticised for their low payout of royalties. "The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value", stated Jay-Z on the release of Tidal.
Beyoncé and her mother introduced House of Deréon, a contemporary women's fashion line, in 2005. The concept is inspired by three generations of women in their family, the name paying tribute to Beyoncé's grandmother, Agnèz Deréon, a respected seamstress. According to Tina, the overall style of the line best reflects her and Beyoncé's taste and style. Beyoncé and her mother founded their family's company Beyond Productions, which provides the licensing and brand management for House of Deréon, and its junior collection, Deréon. House of Deréon pieces were exhibited in Destiny's Child's shows and tours, during their Destiny Fulfilled era. The collection features sportswear, denim offerings with fur, outerwear and accessories that include handbags and footwear, and are available at department and specialty stores across the US and Canada.
In 2005, Beyoncé teamed up with House of Brands, a 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 a social networking component, featuring the House of Deréon collection. In July 2009, Beyoncé 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 at department stores including Macy's and Dillard's, and specialty stores Jimmy Jazz and Against All Odds. On May 27, 2010, Beyoncé teamed up with clothing store C&A to launch Deréon by Beyoncé at their stores in Brazil. The collection included tailored blazers with padded shoulders, little black dresses, embroidered tops and shirts and bandage dresses.
In October 2014, Beyoncé signed a deal to launch an activewear line of clothing with British fashion retailer Topshop. The 50-50 venture is called Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd and is scheduled to launch its first dance, fitness and sports ranges in autumn 2015. The line will launch in April 2016.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Beyoncé and Rowland founded the Survivor Foundation to provide transitional housing for victims in the Houston area, to which Beyoncé contributed an initial $250,000. The foundation has since expanded to work with other charities in the city, and also provided relief following Hurricane Ike three years later.
Beyoncé participated in George Clooney and Wyclef Jean's Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief telethon and was named the official face of the limited edition CFDA "Fashion For Haiti" T-shirt, made by Theory which raised a total of $1 million. On March 5, 2010, Beyoncé and her mother Tina opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Brooklyn Phoenix House, offering a seven-month cosmetology training course for men and women. In April 2011, Beyoncé 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, Beyoncé released her cover of the Lee Greenwood 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.
In December, Beyoncé along with a variety of other celebrities teamed up and produced a video campaign for "Demand A Plan", a bipartisan effort by a group of 950 US mayors and others designed to influence the federal government into rethinking its gun control laws, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Beyoncé became an ambassador for the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign donating her song "I Was Here" and its music video, shot in the UN, to the campaign. In 2013, it was announced that Beyoncé would work with Salma Hayek and Frida Giannini on a Gucci "Chime for Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment. The campaign, which aired on February 28, was set to her new music. A concert for the cause took place on June 1, 2013 in London and included other acts like Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine, and Rita Ora. In advance of the concert, she appeared in a campaign video released on May 15, 2013, where she, along with Cameron Diaz, John Legend and Kylie Minogue, described inspiration from their mothers, while a number of other artists celebrated personal inspiration from other women, leading to a call for submission of photos of women of viewers' inspiration from which a selection was shown at the concert. Beyoncé said about her mother Tina Knowles that her gift was "finding the best qualities in every human being." With help of the crowdfunding platform Catapult, visitors of the concert could choose between several projects promoting education of women and girls. Beyoncé is also taking part in "Miss a Meal", a food-donation campaign, and supporting Goodwill charity through online charity auctions at Charitybuzz that support job creation throughout Europe and the U.S.
Dangerously in Love (2003)
I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
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(11/10/2011)||Songs by Beyonce Knowles|