Beyoncé Giselle Knowles (born September 4, 1981) is an American R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, dancer, and fashion designer.
Beyoncé rose to stardom as a founding member of R&B group Destiny's Child. After a series of commercially successful records with the group, she released her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love (2003), which topped both the R&B and Billboard 200 charts in the U.S. and the main album charts in Canada and the United Kingdom. Beyoncé has won nine Grammy Awards – six for her solo work, and three as a member of Destiny's Child.
Beyoncé released her second solo album, B'Day, on September 4, 2006, around the world and September 5, 2006, in the United States, to coincide with the celebration of her twenty-fifth birthday. The album became her highest debut as a solo artist on the Billboard album charts in the U.S., selling over 540,000 copies in the first week.
Beyoncé is the elder of two daughters born to Mathew and Tina Knowles (née Celestine Ann "Tina" Beyince or Beyonce) in Houston, Texas. Beyonce is Creole; her maternal grandparents – Lumis Beyince, a seamstress, and Agnes Deréon – were French-speaking Louisiana Creoles. Her parents decided on her first name as a tribute to her mother's surname. Her sister is Solange Knowles, a singer and actress.
By age seven, Beyoncé was attending dance school and was a soloist in her church choir. Her dance instructor took an interest in Knowles and took her star student to various competitions. Knowles went on to win over 30 local singing and dancing competitions.
As a teenager, Beyoncé attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, where she showed her musical talents. She later went to Alief Elsik High School, also in Houston.
During the autumn of 2002, Beyoncé was the featured vocalist on rapper Jay-Z's hit single, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde." In the spring of 2003, Beyoncé remade a duet with the late Luther Vandross, "The Closer I Get to You," originally made famous by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. In this version, the vocal parts are switched, with Vandross taking Flack's part and Knowles taking Hathaway's. The song was included on both her solo debut album and on Vandross's Dance with My Father album, and the two shared the Grammy for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" that same year.
In 2001, Beyoncé turned to acting, starring alongside actor Mekhi Phifer in the MTV television movie Carmen: A Hip Hopera.
In the summer of 2002, Beyoncé co-starred in the film Austin Powers in Goldmember, playing Foxxy Cleopatra opposite Mike Myers and Michael Caine. The film is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Highest-Grossing Box Office Film Comedy. Beyoncé also recorded the song "Work It Out" for the film's soundtrack. "Work It Out" was a top 10 hit in the UK and a top 40 hit in the Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland, despite being Beyoncé's biggest commercial disappointment to date in the U.S., where radio stations barely played the song and the video received very minor exposure, playing only on digital video channels, MTV Jams, and VH1 Soul.
In 2003, Beyoncé starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the film The Fighting Temptations, and recorded a song for it called "Fighting Temptation", alongside rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free. Unlike Knowles' own singles, the song did not become a hit, although the film was a moderate success at the box office.
Beyoncé co-starred in the film The Pink Panther, playing the role of Xania, an international pop singer, opposite Steve Martin, who plays Inspector Clouseau. The film was released on February 10, 2006, and was number one at the box office on its opening weekend. With Austin Powers in Goldmember and The Pink Panther, Knowles now has starred in two films that opened at number one at the box office; her films have grossed over $481,364,728 worldwide.
Beyoncé has completed filming the movie Dreamgirls, the film adaptation of the hit 1981 Broadway musical about a 1960s singing group loosely based on Motown all-female group The Supremes, as the Diana Ross-based character Deena Jones. The film is scheduled for release on December 22, 2006.
Beyoncé, music producer David Foster, and his daughter, Amy Foster Gillies, wrote Destiny's Child's single "Stand Up for Love" for World Children's Day, an event which takes place annually around the world on November 20 to raise awareness and funds for children's causes worldwide. Destiny's Child lent their voices and support as global ambassadors for the 2005 World Children's Day program.
Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland, along with Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles, and sister Solange Knowles recently announced the formation of the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up for the purpose of providing transitional housing for 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extends the philanthropic mission of the "Knowles-Rowland Center For Youth," a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.