Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, known mononymously as Beyoncé (pron.: // bee-yon-say; born September 4, 1981), is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in performing arts schools and performed in singing and dancing competitions as a child before becoming the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time, in the 1990s.
During the group's hiatus, Knowles released her debut solo album Dangerously in Love (2003), which earned her five Grammy Awards and has sold a total of 4.9 million copies in the US. It spawned Billboard number one singles "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy". Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, Knowles's second solo album B'Day (2006) contained the top five singles "Déjà Vu", "Irreplaceable", and "Beautiful Liar". Her third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008) spawned hits "If I Were a Boy", "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", "Halo", and "Sweet Dreams". This album helped Knowles earn six Grammys in 2010, breaking the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. Her fourth album 4 (2011) became her fourth consecutive number one album on the Billboard 200.
Knowles' work has received numerous awards and accolades, including 17 Grammy Awards, 12 MTV Video Music Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (as part of Destiny's Child). As a solo artist, Knowles has sold over 13 million albums in the United States and 118 million records worldwide (as well as a further 50 million records with Destiny's Child), making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recognized Knowles as the Top Certified Artist of the 2000s. In 2009,Billboard named her the Top Female Artist and Top Radio Songs Artist of the 2000s decade, and ranked her as the fourth Artist of the Decade. Knowles was also ranked first onForbes' list of the "100 Most Powerful and Influential Musicians in the World", appeared on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and placed third on their "100 Greatest Women in Music" list in 2012.
Apart from music, Knowles has acted, designed clothes and endorsed various perfumes. Her performance in Dreamgirls earned her two Golden Globe nominations. Knowles introduced her family's fashion line House of Deréon in 2005 and has appeared in advertising for such brands as L'Oréal, Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Nintendo and Vizio. In April 2008, Knowles married rapperJay-Z and, in January 2012, gave birth to their first child, Blue Ivy Carter.
Life and careerEdit
1981–96: Early life and career beginningsEdit
Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Mathew Knowles, a medical-equipment salesman, and Tina Knowles (née Beyincé). Mathew is African American. Tina, a Louisiana Creole, has African, French, Native American, and Irish ancestry; is a descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. Beyoncé was baptized with her mother's maiden name as her first name. She is the elder sister of Solange Knowles, also a singer, songwriter and actress.
Knowles was educated at St. Mary's Elementary School in Fredericksburg, Texas, where she enrolled in dance classes. Her singing talent was discovered when her dance instructor began humming a song and she finished it, hitting the high-pitched notes. Knowles' interest in music and performing continued after winning a school talent show, singing John Lennon's "Imagine". In fall of 1990, Knowles enrolled in Parker Elementary School, a music magnet school in Houston, where she would perform onstage with the school's choir. She also attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and later Alief Elsik High School.Knowles was also a member of the choir at St. John's United Methodist Church for two years, performing as a soloist.
At the age of eight, Knowles 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 named Girl's Tyme and performed rapping and dancing. After seeing the group west coast R&B producer Arne Frager brought them to his studio in Northern California and placed them in Star Search, the biggest talent show on national TV at the time. Girl's Tyme failed to win, with Knowles saying the song they performed was not good. In 1995 Knowles' father resigned from his job as a medical-equipment salesman to manage the group. The move reduced Knowles' family's income by half, and her parents were forced to move into separated apartments. Mathew cut the original lineup to four and the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups. Tina designed their costumes, continuing to do until the group split. The girls auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records. They moved to Atlanta briefly to work on their first recording, only to be cut by the record company. This put a strain on the family, and Knowles' parents separated. On October 5, 1995, Dwayne Wiggins's Grass Roots Entertainment signed the group. In 1996, they began recording their debut album under an agreement with Sony Music, the Knowles reunited, and shortly after, the girls got a contract with Columbia Records.
1997–2001: Destiny's Child and depressionEdit
The group had changed their name to Destiny's Child in 1993, based on a passage in the Book of Isaiah. In 1997, with Columbia Records, 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 Grammy Awards.The Writing's on the Wall sold more than eight million copies.During this time, Beyoncé recorded a duet with Marc Nelson 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. Knowles experienced depression following the split with Luckett and Roberson after being publicly blamed by the media, critics, and blogs for causing the split-up. Also her longstanding boyfriend left her at this time. The depression was so severe it lasted for a couple of years, during which she kept herself in her bedroom for days and refused to eat anything. Knowles 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. All of these events had made her question herself and who her friends were. Her mother helped her fight out of her depression.Franklin was dismissed after five months, leaving just Knowles, 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, Knowles 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 débuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, 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 pursue solo careers.
2002–07: Dangerously in Love, B'Day, and DreamgirlsEdit
In July 2002, Knowles 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. Knowles released "Work It Out" as the lead single from its soundtrack album. A year later, Knowles starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr., in the musical comedy The Fighting Temptations as Lilly, a single mother whom Gooding's character falls in love with. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $32.7 million at the box office worldwide. Knowles released "Fighting Temptation" as the lead single from the film's soundtrack album.
Knowles' first recording during her solo career was being featured on her then-boyfriend Jay-Z's single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" and was released between the two films in October 2002. The song peaked 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 and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart. As of 2012 it remains as Knowles' best-selling album, with 11 million copies sold worldwide.Knowles was the first artist in twenty years and first female artist in chart history to have both an album and single debut on top of the UK and U.S. charts at the same time.The albums lead single was "Crazy in Love", which features Jay-Z. The song became Knowles' first number one single as a solo artist in the United States. The single "Baby Boy" also reached number one and top two singles, "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl", both reached the top-five. The album earned Knowles a then record-tying five awards at the 46th 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 as an ensemble for the Verizon Ladies First Tour in North America. On February 1, 2004, Knowles performed the American national anthem at Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was held at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.After the release ofDangerously in Love, Knowles 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. It was released on November 15, 2004, in the United States and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart.Destiny Fulfilled spawned the singles "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier", which both reached the top-five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Destiny's Child embarked on a worldwide concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It. During the last stop of their European tour in Barcelona, Spain, 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 United States and reunited to accept a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006.After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Knowles and Rowland founded the Survivor Foundation to provide transitional houses for victims in the Houston area. The foundation also provided relief followingHurricane Ike three years later. She also wrote "Stand Up for Love", along with David Foster and his daughter, a song performed by Destiny's Child for World Children's Day.
Knowles' second solo album B'Day was released on September 5, 2006, in the United States, to coincide with Knowles' twenty-fifth birthday. It sold 541,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, becoming Knowles' second consecutive number-one album in the United States. The albums lead single was "Déjà Vu", which features Jay-Z. The second international single "Irreplaceable" was a commercial success worldwide, reaching number one in Australia, Hungary, Ireland, and New Zealand.B'Day also produced three other singles, "Ring the Alarm", "Get Me Bodied", and "Green Light", which each attained moderate success.
Her first acting role of 2006 was in the comedy film The Pink Panther starring opposite Steve Martin. The film grossed $158.8 million at the box office worldwide, but received generally negative reviews. Her second film of the year Dreamgirls received much better reviews, although it grossed slightly less money worldwide. She starred opposite Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy playing a pop singer loosely based on Diana Ross. To promote Dreamgirls, Knowles released "Listen" as the lead single from the soundtrack album, Dreamgirls: Music from the Motion Picture. In April 2007, Knowles embarked on The Beyoncé Experience, her first worldwide concert tour. The tour visited 97 venues and grossed $90 million. Knowles conducted pre-concert food donation drives during stops. At the same time, B'Day was re-released with five additional songs, including her duet with Colombian singer Shakira "Beautiful Liar".
2008–10: Marriage, I Am... Sasha Fierce and hiatusEdit
On April 4, 2008, Knowles married Jay-Z in New York City. She publicly revealed their marriage through an opening montage video 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 introduces Knowles' alter ego Sasha Fierce, who was born during the making of her 2003 single "Crazy in Love". It sold 482,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Knowles her third consecutive number-one album in the US. The album included the number one song "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" and top five song "Halo". "Halo"'s U.S. success helped Knowles achieve more top ten singles on the Hot 100 chart than any other female artist during 2001–10.It also included the successful "Sweet Dreams" and the moderately successful "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. The video won several awards, including Best Video at the 2009 MTV Europe Music Awards, the 2009 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", sparked led to Kanye West interrupting the ceremony. In March 2009, Knowles embarked on the I Am... World Tour, her second headlining worldwide concert tour. The tour consisted of 108 shows and grossed $119.5 million.
Knowles continued to take movie roles, starring as blues singer Etta James in the 2008 musical biopic film, Cadillac Records. Her performance in the film received praise from critics.Knowles 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. On January 20, 2009, Knowles performed James' "At Last" at Barack Obama's first dance with his wife Michelle during the Neighborhood Ball of his first inauguration as President of the United States.Knowles starred opposite Ali Larter and Idris Elba in the thriller film, Obsessed. She played Sharon Charles, a mother and wife who learns of a woman's obsessive behavior for the former's husband, and suspects an affair between the two. The film received negative reviews from critics,though the fight scene finale between Sharon and the woman was praised and won the 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Fight. Knowles donated her entire salary to Phoenix House, an organization of rehabilitation centers for heroin addicts around the country.
At the 52nd Grammy Awards, Knowles 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 February 2010, Knowles was featured on Lady Gaga's single "Telephone". It topped the U.S. Pop Songs chart, becoming the sixth number-one on the chart for both Knowles and Gaga and, tying them with Mariah Carey for most number-ones since the Nielsen BDS-based Top 40 airplay chart launched in 1992."Telephone" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Knowles announced that she would be taking a break from her music career at the end of 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. Knowles visited the Great Wall of China, Egyptian pyramids, as well as various museums and ballet performances.She also 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. On March 5, 2010, Knowles and her mother Tina opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at the Brooklyn Phoenix House: Its program offers a seven-monthcosmetology training course for men and women. L'Oréal donated all the products to be used at the center, and Knowles, along with her mother, have pledged to donate $100,000 annually.
2011–12: 4 and motherhoodEdit
In 2011, documents obtained by WikiLeaks revealed that Knowles was one of many entertainers who had received extravagant sums to perform for the family of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Rolling Stone reported that the music industry was urging them to return the money they earned for the concerts.A spokesperson for Knowles told The Huffington Post that she donated the money to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Later that year she became the first solo female artist to headline the main Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years and was named the "Highest Paid Performer Per Minute in the World", having earlier earned £1.25 million for a five-song performance at a private 2010 New Year's Eve party on the island of St. Barts by Saucytime.com. In April 2011, Knowles 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, Knowles 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.
Her fourth studio album 4 was released on June 28, 2011 in the United States. 4 sold 310,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart, giving Knowles her fourth consecutive number-one album in the US. This made her the third artist in the chart's history, to have her first four studio albums debut at number one. The album was preceded by its first two singles "Run the World (Girls)" and "Best Thing I Never Had", which both attained moderate success. The album's fourth single "Love on Top" was a commercial success in the US. 4 also produced two other singles, "Countdown" and "End of Time", which received less success, but critical acclaim. Knowles took the stage at New York's Roseland Ballroom for four nights of special performances. The set on each night of the 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé concerts on August 14, 16, 18 and 19 was the entire collection of 4, and she performed to a standing-room-only audience. She wrote the July 2011 Essence cover story "Eat, Play, Love", talking about her break from her music career in 2010 which later won her a writing award from the New York Association of Black Journalists.
At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards Knowles announced that she and Jay-Z were expecting their first child, throwing her microphone on the floor and undoing her blazer at the end of her performance of "Love On Top". (Her appearance helped that year's MTV Video Music Awards become the most-watched broadcast in MTV history, pulling in 12.4 million viewers.) Her pregnancy announcement earned a Guinness World Record for "most tweets per second recorded for a single event" Twitter, receiving 8,868 tweets per second and "Beyonce pregnant" was the most Googled term the week of August 29, 2011. Knowles' announcement resulted in an increase in sales of her records, particularly 4.There was media speculation that she was wearing a prosthetic bump and using a surrogate mother. Knowles called the rumors "not hurtful, just crazy". She later showed her bare baby bump and first sonogram in her 2013 documentary Life is But A Dream in an attempt to quell such rumors.
On January 7, 2012, Knowles 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 Knowles suffered before becoming pregnant. 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. The couple are trying to trademark the name Blue Ivy to start a line of merchandise.
Knowles received two nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards; Best Rap-Sung Collaboration for "Party", and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am... World Tour. That month she also 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. Knowles became an ambassador for the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign and donating her song "I Was Here" and its music video to the campaign. On August 19, Knowles helped the campaign make social media history as more than one billion messages were shared at the same time in relation to the event. Knowles and Jay-Z raised $4 million, during an exclusive fundraising event at the latter's 40/40 Club in New York City, for US President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. In December, Knowles along with a variety of other celebrities teamed up and produced a video campaign named "Demand A Plan", designed to influence the US government into rethinking gun control laws, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
2013–present: Fifth studio albumEdit
In January 2013, Destiny's Child released Love Songs, a compilation album of romantic-themed songs from their previous albums and the newly-recorded song "Nuclear". Knowles performed the American national anthem singing along with a pre-recorded track at President Obama's second inauguration, held at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The next month, Knowles performed at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. At the 55th Grammy Awards, Knowles 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.The film, which Knowles directed and produced herself, featured footage of her childhood, her role as a mother and businesswoman, recording in the studio, rehearsing for live performances, and included her return to the spotlight following the birth of Blue Ivy. Knowles's The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour will begin on April 15 in Europe. Knowles will also voice Queen Tara in the upcoming 3D CGI animated film, Epic, to be released by 20th Century Fox on May 24, 2013.
Knowles' fifth studio album is scheduled for release this year. In February 2013, Knowles signed a global publishing agreement with Warner/Chappell Music, which will cover her future songwriting and upcoming studio album. It was also announced that Knowles would work with Salma Hayek and Frida Giannini on a Gucci "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment, the campaign, aired on February 28, was set to new music by Knowles. On March 17, Knowles released two snippets recordings as one entitled "Bow Down / I Been On", the former produced by Hit-Boy and latter by Timbaland, Polow da Don, Sonny Digital and Planet VI. Knowles has also recorded "Standing on the Sun" to accompany a video for her H&M summer campaign. Knowles collaborated with André 3000 on a cover of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" for The Great Gatsby soundtrack. "Grown Woman", a song from Knowles' upcoming album, was previewed first in Pepsi's "Mirror" commercial.
Music and voiceEdit
"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 [recreating the video] 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."—Knowles reflects on her musical style and the impact it has had on her life and pop culture during her Billboard cover story in 2011.
Knowles' music is generally contemporary R&B, but she also incorporates pop, electropop, funk, hip hop, and soul into her songs. While she almost exclusively releases English songs, Knowles recorded several Spanish songs for Irreemplazable and the re-release of B'Day. Prior to recording these, Knowles 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, as well as for her solo efforts. Her early songs were personally driven and female-empowerment themed compositions like "Independent Women" and "Survivor", but after her relationship with Jay-Z started she transitioned to more man-tending anthems such as "Cater 2 U". Some of her songs are autobiographical or taken from her friends experiences. Knowles 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.
Knowles song writing has been recognised. In 2001 she become the first African-American female and second female songwriter to win the Pop Songwriter of the Year award at the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Pop Music Awards. Knowles 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 Diane Warren at third with nine songwriting credits on number-one singles.In May 2011, Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust of Billboard magazine listed Knowles 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.
Knowles possesses a mezzo-soprano vocal range that spans more than three octaves. She has been identified as the centerpiece of Destiny's Child. While predominately R&B, Knowles' music explores various styles. The Daily Mail calls Knowles' 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". Other critics praise her range and power, with Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly describing her as "a storm system disguised as a singer" and Chris Richards of The Washington Post saying she was "capable of punctuating any beat with goose-bump-inducing whispers or full-bore diva-roars."
Knowles names Michael Jackson as her major musical influence and idol. She admires Diana Ross as an "all-around entertainer" and Whitney Houston whom she said "inspired me to get up there and do what she did." Knowles credits Mariah Carey's singing and her song "Vision of Love" as influencing her to begin practicing vocal runs as a child, as well as helping her pursue a career as a musician. Her other musical influences include Cher, Tina Turner, Prince, Lauryn Hill, Sade Adu,Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson,Anita Baker and Rachelle Ferrell.
The feminism and female empowerment themes on Knowles' second solo album B'Day were inspired by her role in Dreamgirls and by singer Josephine Baker. Knowles' 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.Knowles' third solo album I Am... Sasha Fierce was inspired by Jay-Z and especially by Etta James, whose "boldness" inspired Knowles 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 with additional influences by The Jackson 5, New Edition, Adele, Florence and the Machine, and Prince.
Knowles 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 also has 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.
Stage and alter egoEdit
In 2006, Knowles introduced her all-female tour band Suga Mama, 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 début appearance at the 2006 BET Awards and re-appeared in the music videos for "Irreplaceable" and "Green Light". The band have supported Knowles in most subsequent live performances, including her 2007 concert tour The Beyoncé Experience, 2009 I Am... World Tour and the 4 promotional tour.
Knowles has received praise for her stage presence and voice during live performances. Jarett Wieselman of the New York Post placed Knowles at number one on her list of The Five Best Singer/Dancers. Renee Michelle Harris of South Florida Times praised Knowles dancing and stage presence saying she was the "complete package". According to Barbara Ellen ofT he Guardian Beyoncé is in the most charge female artist she's seen onstage, while Alice Jones of The Independent says she "takes her role as entertainer so seriously she's almost too good." Tamara Hardingham-Gill of the Daily Mail wrote that "many industry experts have been tipping Beyoncé as the next Michael Jackson". 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, Knowles has said that she originally created the alter ego "Sasha Fierce" to keep that stage persona separate from whom she really is.She described Sasha as being "too aggressive, too strong, too sassy [and] too sexy", stating: "I'm not like her in real life at all." Although Sasha was born during the making of "Crazy in Love", Knowles introduced her alter ego with the release of her 2008 album I Am... Sasha Fierce. In February 2010, Knowles announced in an interview with Alluremagazine that she was comfortable enough with herself to no longer need Sasha Fierce. However, Knowles announced in May 2012 that she would be bringing Sasha Fierce back for her Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live shows later that month.
Knowles has been described as a having a wide ranging sex appeal, with music journalist Touré saying that since the release of Dangerously in Love, "[Beyoncé] has become a crossover sex symbol à la Halle Berry " Off stage Knowles says that while she likes to dress sexily her on stage dress "is absolutely for the stage." Due to her curves, in the 2000s the media often used the term "Bootylicious" (a portmanteau of the words booty and delicious) to describe Knowles, the term popularized by the Destiny's Child single of the same name. It was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. Knowles is fond of fashion: according to Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, she uses different styles and tries to harmonize it with the music while performing. Knowles' mother co-wrote a book, published in 2002, entitled Destiny's Style' an account of how fashion had an impact on Destiny's Child's success. The B'Day Anthology Video Album showed many instances of fashion-oriented footage, depicting classic to contemporary wardrobe styles. In 2007, Knowles was featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, becoming the second model of African American descent after Tyra Banks, and People magazine recognized Knowles as the best-dressed celebrity.
As one of the most media-exposed black celebrities in the US, Knowles image has received criticism for the lightness of her skin and the revealing clothes she wears. 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 2006, the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), criticized Knowles for wearing fur coats and using fur in her clothing line House of Deréon. During the release of Rihanna's second album A Girl Like Me in 2006, some critics felt that her image was too heavily similar to Knowles', some even claiming that Jay-Z had fashioned her to be a Knowles replica.Later comparisons were also made between the fashions of Knowles and Ciara, when the latter released the music video of her single "Love Sex Magic". In 2007, Knowles appeared on billboards and newspapers across the United States showing her holding an antique cigarette holder. Taken from the back cover of B'Day, the image provoked response from an anti-smoking group, stating that she did not need to add the cigarette holder "to make herself appear more sophisticated". 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 Knowles' look was "far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce" and that it was "a return to her African roots".
In September 2010, Knowles 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 Knowles are found at Madame Tussauds Wax Museums in major cities around the world, including New York, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, Bangkok, Hollywood and Sydney.