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How did Beyoncé get famous?

Beyoncè has had to work hard for her stardom

Destiny’s Child Meet Their Fans in New York Photo by George De Sota/Newsmakers
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Beyoncé’s music career can be divided into two major stages: her time as the leader of Destiny’s Child and her success as a solo artist.

Destiny’s Child were a four-person singing group consisting of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LeToya Luckett, and LaTavia Roberson. Rowland, Luckett, and Knowles were originally in a young girl group called Girls Tyme, based out of Knowles’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Girls Tyme are probably best known for a 1993 Star Search appearance, in which they lost to a group called Skeleton Crew:

When Girls Tyme lost on Star Search.
Star Search via YouTube

Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, managed the group and put the girls through a brief training camp. Tina Knowles, Beyoncé’s mother, designed their costumes. Beyoncé sang lead. In 1997, Destiny’s Child landed their first record contract with Columbia and their first mainstream hit with “No, No, No (Part 2).”

”No, No, No (Part 2)” eventually sold more than a million copies and dominated the American pop and R&B charts.

After the success of their debut single, Destiny’s Child returned to the studio to record their second album with the help of prouder Kevin ‘Shekspere’ Briggs, according to MTV. That decision paid off when the group’s album, The Writing’s on the WaIl, dropped in 1999. “Bills, Bills, Bills,” a tune about unpaid invoices and a relationship gone stagnant, hit the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 that year:

”Bills, Bills, Bills” was important for many reasons. The track helped establish that Destiny’s Child weren’t a one-hit wonder, and, more important, it established the group’s persona and tone. “Bills” portrayed the members of Destiny’s Child as women who could support a household, who weren’t afraid to dictate the terms of a relationship, and who also weren’t ashamed to find men to pay their bills.

”Bills” also did one more thing: it established Knowles as the sound of Destiny’s Child. And that sound was very popular. In the songs that followed, the only voice that would stand out was hers.