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Beyonce Knowles is a Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum, recording artist, actress, and clothing designer, who is noted for her vocals, videos, and live shows. Beyonce was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas to Celestine, a hairdresser and salon owner and Mathew Knowles, a Xerox sales manager. She has one sister, Solange Knowles. Beyonce attended St. Mary’s Elementary School in Texas, where she was enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered by her dance instructor, who noted her ability to hit high-pitched notes. She won her schools talent show at age seven, beating fifteen and sixteen year olds. In 1990, she was enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school located in Houston, where she was a member of the school’s choir. She attended high school at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School. She was also a member of the choir at St. John’s United Methodist Church where she was a soloist for two years. At age 8, Beyonce, along with her cousin, Kelly Rowland met LaTavia Roberson while auditioning for an all girl group. The audition was successful and they were placed into a group with three other girls. This group which was called Girl’s Tyme, rapped and danced on the talent show circuit in Houston. While performing on this circuit, the group was discovered by an R&B producer, Arne Frager. He brought them to his Northern California studio and placed them on the show Star Search, which at that time was the largest talent show on national television. The group failed to win, and Beyonce felt it was due to the song they performed. At age 14, her father resigned from his job in order to manage the group. He cut the original lineup from six members to four members. They auditioned for many record labels and finally signed to Elektra Records, then were moved to Atlanta Records to only be cut by that company. In 1996, the group Destiny’s Child began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music. Shortly after the release of this album, the group got a contract with Columbia Records. Their first single “Say My Name” won two Grammy’s. The original members of Destiny’s Child went on to win many Grammy’s along with having many platinum hits. Group members Luckett and Roberson later became unhappy with Mathew’s managing of the band and were eventually replaced with Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams. Beyonce experienced a deep depression following the split after being publicly blamed by the media, critics, and blogs for its cause. Her long-standing boyfriend also left her during this time, which some believe added to the depression. The depression lasted for years, during which she occasionally locked herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat. Franklin was later dismissed from the group, which then left only three members, Beyonce, 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 the best-charting single, topping the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for eleven consecutive weeks. Destiny’s Child released their last studio album in 2004, and officially broke up the following year. In 2003, Beyonce released her first solo album, Dangerously in Love. This album won five Grammy’s and included songs “Crazy in Love, Baby Boy, Me, Myself, and I, The Closer I Get to You, and Naughty Girl.” Her second solo album, B’Day was released in September 2006, to coincide with her twenty-fifth birthday. This album included songs such as “Déjà vu, Irreplaceable, Ring the Alarm, Shakira, Beautiful Liar, Get Me Bodied, and Green Light.” In 2008, she married Jay-Z and released her third solo album; I Am…..Sasha Fierce. This album saw the birth of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned her a record of six Grammy awards in 2010. This album featured songs, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), If I Were a Boy, Halo, Sweet Dreams, and Diva.” Beyonce made her acting debut in 2001 with a starring role in MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera. This film was a modern interpretation of the 19th century opera Carmen by French composer George Bizet. She then co-starred with Mike Myers in the comedy, Austin Powers Goldmember, which grossed $73 million during its first weekend. In 2003, she starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., in the musical comedy The Fighting Temptations. She played Lilly, a single mother whom Gooding’s character falls in love with. In 2006, she played in the comedy film The Pink Panther starring opposite of Steve Martin and Dreamgirls, a film version of the 1981 Broadway musical loosely based on The Supremes. She starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy and played a pop singer based on Diana Ross. In 2008, she further expanded her acting career, starring as blues singer Etta James in the musical biopic, Cadillac Records. In 2009, she 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. Beyonce is not only a singer, song writer, and actress; she also has many clothing lines. In 2005, Beyonce and her mother introduced House of Dereon, a contemporary women’s fashion line. This line was inspired by three generations of women in their family and was named after her grandmother, Agnez Dereon, a respected seamstress. The collection featured sportswear, denim, fur, outerwear, and accessories. In 2009, the Sasha Fierce line was established. This line included sportswear, outerwear, handbags, footwear, eyewear, and jewelry. The following year, Beyonce teamed up with the clothing store C&A to launch Dereon by Beyonce at their stores in Brazil. This collection included tailored blazers with padded shoulders, little black dresses, embroidered tops, shirts, and bandage dresses. In 2014, she signed a deal to launch an active wear brand with British brand Topshop. This venture is called Parkwood Topshop Athletics Ltd and is scheduled to launch its first dance, fitness, and sports in 2015. As a self-described, modern-day feminist, Beyonce created songs that are characterized by themes of love, relationships, and monogamy, as well as female empowerment. Her on stage highly choreographed performances have led to critics hailing her as one of the best entertainers in contemporary popular music. Her career has spanned over 18 years and she has sold over 75 million records as a solo artist and 60 million with Destiny’s Child. She is one of the best selling music artists of all time. She has won twenty Grammy Awards and is the most nominated woman in the awards history.

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