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Beyoncé Giselle Knowles—known internationally solely by her first name—was born on September 4th, 1981, in the United States, in Houston, Texas. Her given name is actually her mother’s maiden name, who is of Louisiana Creole and French descent, while her father is African American. Beyoncé has a younger sister, Solange, who is also a singer and used to be a backup dancer in her sister’s former band.

Beyoncé rose to prominence in the late 1990’s as lead singer in Destiny’s Child, one of the most popular and influential all-girl groups in the world, but her singing career started much earlier than that. She used to dance, and then her singing talent was discovered by her dance instructor. Throughout her educational years, Beyoncé continued to nurture her passion for dancing and singing, which led her to participate in school talent shows and church choirs. Before Destiny’s Child, the singer was part of an all-girl entertainment group around 1995 that, unfortunately, didn’t make it far but laid the foundations for what would later become Destiny’s Child. Around the same time, Beyoncé’s father quit his day job to manage the group, which continued to perform and audition for record labels until they finally landed a deal with Elektra Records. In 1996, they began recording their first album and changed their name, thus marking the beginning of Destiny’s Child.

The all-girl group had a prolific career since the debut of their first album in 1998, slowly rising to fame with each new song, and eventually garnering international attention plus several awards, including Grammys. The group came to be known as one of the top performing, all-girl music groups, their singles reaching top rankings every time. Beyoncé came to be known as the face of the group too. In 2001, after a series of line-up and management changes, the group went into hiatus as each member launched their solo careers.

Beyoncé also made her film debut in 2002, in the successful mock spy movie Austin Powers in Goldmember, contributing to the film’s soundtrack as well. This was a custom she maintained throughout most of her acting career. She eventually released her first solo album in 2003, Dangerously in Love, which performed extremely well in both sales and awards. The album’s lead single, Crazy in Love, which featured her future husband Jay-Z, became her first number one single in the U.S. Her follow-up singles would also reach top ranking in charts and become international successes.

Beyoncé became an unstoppable force in the business. She continued to appear in films alongside well-known actors and actresses, like Steve Martin in The Pink Panther (2006), and Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls (2006). She later embarked on her first international tour, The Beyoncé Experience (2007), and made song collaborations with other musical artists, such as Shakira and Lady Gaga. In 2008, Beyoncé debuted her third solo album, containing Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), which quickly became number one and is still one of her most popular songs to this day.

In June 2011, Beyoncé became the first solo female artist to headline the main stage at Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years. That same year, her fourth studio album also became a number one success, just like its predecessors. In 2013, Beyoncé performed the national Anthem in President Obama’s second inauguration, and the following month sang in the Super Bowl halftime show, which quickly became the second most tweeted event in history.

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