One of the most recognizable characters in modern-day R&B, Beyoncé first rose to fame as the siren-voiced centerpiece of Destiny’s Child before embarking on a multi-platinum solo career in 2001. Booming record sales, Grammy awards, movie roles, and a romance with rapper/CEO Jay-Z combined to heighten her profile in the 2000s, making the singer a virtual mainstay in the entertainment world. While some media outlets derisively championed Paris Hilton as “the next Marilyn Monroe,” Beyoncé was a much better contender for the role, her glittering pop culture persona only matched by her success onscreen and on record.

Born in Houston in September 1981, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles began performing at age seven, winning upwards of 30 local competitions for her dancing and vocal abilities. She also joined her cousin Kelly Rowland and classmates LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett in forming an adolescent vocal group. Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father and Rowland’s legal guardian, signed on to be the girls’ manager, eventually quitting his full-time job to focus on their efforts. This situation would ultimately lead to the creation of one of the most popular female R&B groups of all time — Destiny’s Child. (more…)

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