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New music alert! 
Beyonce Drops New Song, "Bow Down"

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles was born on September 4, 1981, in Houston, Texas — born to parents Matthew, a medical-equipment salesman, and Tina, a designer and stylist. Having excelled in dance classes growing up, Beyoncé attended multiple performing arts magnet schools. She also took solos in the choir at St. John’s United Methodist Church.

Her big break, however, came when she joined the girl’s group Girl’s Tyme, which then evolved into Destiny’s Child. Despite record label shakeups and a revolving door of group members, the band became the ninth most successful musical act of the 2000s, according to Billboard — thanks to critically and commercially successful albums like The Writing’s on the Wall, Survivor, and Destiny Fulfilled and hits like “Say My Name,” “Bootylicious,” “Independent Women,” and “Survivor.”

The group went on hiatus in 2000 so that members Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams could pursue solo careers. Though all three have done well since, none has been so explosively successful as Beyoncé. Her first album, Dangerously in Love, went quadruple-platinum and earned Bey five Grammys. Though none of her albums since — B’Day, I Am... Sasha Fierce, and 4 — have matched that level of popularity, Bey has won a total of 14 Grammys as a solo artist. New Yorker music critic Jody Rosen even called Beyoncé “the most important and compelling popular musician of the twenty-first century … the result, the logical endpoint, of a century-plus of pop.”

Beyonce is also conquering the world of film, as well. She first took to the screen in MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera in 2001 and made her cinematic debut in Austin Powers in Goldmember and has since appeared in The Pink Panther, Cadillac Records, and Obsessed. Her best-received role to date, however, is rising star Deena Jones in 2006’s Dreamgirls.

The superstar is also thriving in her personal life, having married rap superstar and long-time boyfriend Jay-Z in 2008 and welcomed first child Blue Ivy Carter in 2012.

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