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BEYONCE - Renaissance Woman and Certified Superstar by Kaya Morgan

Multi-talented singer-actress-producer Beyonce Knowles seems to have it all. As the central figure in one of the greatest female R&B groups of all time, Destiny's Child, Beyonce is the premiere talent behind smash hits such as “Say My Name,” “No No No,” and “Independent Woman, Part 1.” Her first solo album, Dangerously In Love , hit the top of the charts again with “Crazy In Love,” and “Baby Boy.” Adding to her dizzying rise to fame, she is the first Afro-American woman (and only the second woman ever) to receive the ASCAP “Pop Songwriter of the Year” Award; was voted Entertainer of the Year at the 2004 NAACP Image Awards; and tied the all-time record won by a female artist for receiving five Grammy Awards. She has also co-written and co-produced a staggering number of mega hits that have sold well over 40 million records.

Born in 1981 in Houston , Texas , Beyonce Giselle Knowles demonstrated an aptitude for music almost before she could even talk. “As a child I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I was always singing and dancing around the house. I always competed in pageants and auditioned for every play at school,” Beyonce recalls. She benefited from a privileged childhood, attending private schools and dance classes. She honed her powerful voice singing soulful hymns in the church choir before being trained in classical opera. At age 8, she formed a pre-teen girl's singing group with cousin Kelly Roland, LaTavia Robertson, and LaToya Luckett. While performing in their home town of Houston in 1992, destiny was surely on their side when they landed a spot on Star Search , the popular TV talent competition. But rather than singing their soulful harmonies, they rapped. Although they didn't win, a contract with Columbia Records eventually followed.

Knowing that she always belonged in the spotlight, Beyonce has been involved in everything from the lyrics to the lipstick. As the founding member of the original Destiny's Child, “ I've had the responsibility since I was 15 of someone who is 25 or 30, so naturally I've had a lot of pressure. I employ a lot of people, I make a lot of adult decisions, and that has forced me to grow up a little faster,” she says.

Under the management of Beyonce's dad, Matthew Knowles, the group went through several incarnations — mixing gospel, rhythm and blues, and hip hop — before finally creating their own unique sound and officially becoming “Destiny's Child” in 1997. That same year, they performed as the opening act for Christina Aguilera's summer tour prior to their 1998 debut album release, Destiny's Child , which led to a sold-out European tour. Their second effort, The Writing's On The Wall , led by the incomparable Beyonce, brought them wider acclaim in the U.S. and generated three top-ten hits on Billboard's R&B singles chart in 1999. But it was the hit single “Independent Woman, Part I,” from the 2000 Charlie's Angels movie soundtrack that reached the largest audience — a reported 140.4 million. The group's third album release, Survivor, took home two Grammy Awards in 2001.

In 2003, Beyonce paved the way for her solo career with the smash hit collaboration “'03 Bonnie and Clyde ” with boyfriend-rapper Jay-Z (considered one of the greatest rappers of all time) before launching Dangerously In Love in June. She has triumphantly emerged as her own original diva creating the sexiest videos and catchiest songs while garnering the biggest headlines of the trio. As the hottest thing in music today, this statuesque, bootylicious star has had an impressive array of musical collaborators — including Missy Elliot, Sean Paul, Mark Batson, Mario Winans, D-Roy & Mr. B, OutKast's Big Boi, Rich Harrison, Fanatic, Scott Storch, Luther Vandross, and of course, main squeeze Jay-Z.

We caught up with Beyonce who shared a few moments about where she has been and what the future might hold for her as she accelerates her acting career and reunites with the group, Destiny's Child, for a world wide tour that brings her back to Las Vegas to perform at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on August 26.

Question: Did you always want to be in music?

Answer: As a child I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I was always singing and dancing around the house. I always competed in pageants and auditioned for every play at school. I used to sing in the church choir before being trained in classical opera. When I was eight, I formed a singing group with my cousins and we were pretty good. In 1992, we landed a spot on Star Search. We didn't win, but it led to a contract offer from Columbia Records.

Question: Did stardom at a young age force you to grow up quicker than other kids?

Answer: I've had the responsibility since I was 15 of someone who is 25 or 30, so naturally I've had a lot of pressure. I employ a lot of people, I make a lot of adult decisions, and that has forced me to grow up a little faster.

Question: What would you say is the biggest challenge that comes with stardom?

Answer: The pressure to keep up the pace can be unbearable but I try to take it all in stride. I don't think about it. I just do my own thing. I love what I do and there are certain things that come along with it that I don't like, but it's a part of my job. Nobody's job is perfect. People are really critical in general and it's ten times worse when you're under the microscope, so it's hard to grow up under that. But I have people who love me regardless of whether I sell another record or not.

Question: If you were to give a rising star advice, what would it be?

Answer: There's no way of preparing a person for this. And the older you get and the bigger you get, the harder it is to separate your personal life and your public life. It's definitely a sacrifice. And I'm learning that there are certain personal things you don't have to talk about.

Question: What does a superstar diva do in her spare time?

Answer: I like to paint and listen to a lot of old-school music like Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Donnie Hathaway. Some of the current artists I like are Tweet, B'Lau and N.E.R.D.

Question: What would you consider a major accomplishment, outside of singing and acting?

Answer: My main accomplishment is achieving peace and happiness. Sometimes you think success is synonymous with being a big star. But I want respect, and I want friendship and love and laughter, and I want to grow.

Question: Is it hard to deal with the constant media speculation that comes with your level of success about who you are and what you do?

Answer: When you love and accept yourself, then you stop caring about what people who don't know you think.

Question: What is giving you the most personal and professional satisfaction right now?

Answer: It feels really good to be back with Kelly and Michelle. We are having a really great tour and to perform on stage with your friends is the best feeling.

Question: With such a busy schedule, do you ever get tired of performing?

Answer: I am always focused on my career. Every night, there's so much excitement. People know all the songs and the words, and you're anxious to sing them because you're sharing something with the audience.

Question: With so many successes at such a young age, what would you consider a ‘successful' future?

Answer: I've won Grammy's for writing songs, I'm a producer and now I'm becoming an actress. But I want to be here when I'm 40. I want to be here a long time. So, I'm really concentrating on the quality of the work that I do and on becoming an artist and becoming like Dorothy Dandridge, Judy Garland, or Barbra Streisand and people that I respect because they're good at everything that they do.

Beyonce shows no signs of slowing down. With the upcoming release in early 2006 of the prequel to The Pink Panther starring Steve Martin as “Inspector Clouseau” and Beyonce as “Xania,” she will once again entertain us with her childlike charm.

Question: Do you think you will do more acting in the future?

Answer: I feel like I have a natural instinct for acting. It's a challenge, and something I can focus on which is separate from my music. Acting has given me the confidence to know that I have the chance of following in the path of great artists — what I call triple-threat performers — singers, dancers and actresses.

Question: Who or what do you attribute your success to?

Answer: Whenever I'm confused about something, I ask God to reveal the answers to my questions, and he does. That's how we found our name — we opened up the Bible and the word destiny was right there.

In 2003, Beyonce paved the way for her solo career. She has triumphantly emerged as her own original diva, garnering the biggest headlines of the trio. Constantly looking to add new dimensions to her career, she remains focused on all the options in her future. She launched a clothing line in March of this year in partnership with her mom, Tina, called “The House of Dereon,” named after her Creole grandmother, who was a seamstress. She also created True Star perfume with Tommy Hilfiger, has been a spokes model for L'Oreal and starred in a series of television commercials for Pepsi Cola and McDonald's.

Yes, Beyonce does seem to have it all — remarkable beauty, fame and fortune. An absolutely mesmerizing entertainer, this do-it-all diva recognizes no boundaries to her ambition and will accept no limits to her future accomplishments. Following the release of their sixth album, Destiny Fulfilled, she, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland bring their 2005 world tour to North America beginning in July spanning through the U.S. and Vancouver, Canada.

Beyonce and Destiny's Child will be performing in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay on August 26th. For tickets and information call 877-632-7400 or visit www.mandalaybay.com.

More stories by journalist, Kaya Morgan, can be found by clicking the link. Contact us for reprint rights as most articles are available at ImagineMediaWorks@gmail.com.


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