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|R&B pop-singer Beyonce Knowles, 22, has the golden touch.
And thats not because she recently starred opposite comedian Michael Myers in the block-busting spy spoof "Goldmember." Knowles always has seemed to have the Midas touch, turning career opportunities to gold starting in 1992 with the popular television show Star Search -- her first break in show business. That admittedly, didnt seem lucky at first. Managed by her father, Matthew, Knowles and friends LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett and her cousin, Kelly Rowland, didnt win the on-air talent show. And to add insult to injury, three years later the group was dropped from their record label before releasing a single album. However, Matthew believed in his daughters abilities and sold the family home in 1996 to keep the group going.
Although heavily influenced by Motown legends the Supremes and the Jackson 5, Destiny's Child found an original sound by mixing rap and R&B with Knowles strong vocals. Matthews gamble paid off when pop-singer Whitney Houston discovered the group performing at small-time gigs. Knowles and her bandmates soon found themselves opening for popular rappers Dru Hill, SWV and Immature.
In 1998 Destiny's Child released its self-titled debut album, featuring Wyclef Jean, Pras and Jermaine Dupri as collaborating producers. The albums hit single "No, No, No," immediately shot to platinum status, and the group garnered three 1998 Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards.
The next album, The Writings On The Wall was even more successful spawning four hit singles, Bills, Bills, Bills, Say My Name, Bug a Boo, and Jumpin', Jumpin.
The Writings On The Wall reached triple platinum sales and earned two 1999 Grammy nominations for the girls. Destiny's Child also won an "Image Award" for Outstanding Duo or Group by the NAACP, and the groups vocals appeared on the Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Life, and Romeo Must Die soundtracks.
However, Destiny's Child had some serious problems. In March 2000, unhappy with Matthew Knowles management style, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson quit the group and were replaced by singers Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. However, Franklin left the group five months later and Destiny's Child continued as a trio scoring a string of No. 1 hits from the group's third album, Survivor.
Rumors persisted about Matthew Knowles management style, and Beyonce, receiving all the media attention, was causing dissension in the ranks. However, Williams is quoted as saying Beyonce Knowles has been an inspiration and inspired young girls with everything from her vocal style to her hair. They all want to look like Beyonce.
Williams adds, " She also draws attention for her sultry hourglass figure, which is usually adorned with barely-there designs something she doesn't feel is at odds with her religious upbringing. I think you can be a sexy woman, she declares, and still love God."
Knowles says she has many insecurities that keep her humble despite media rumors. Knowles explains that growing up, she was constantly teased about her ears being bigger than her head, and the fact that she was chubby didnt help matters. If Knowles could wave a magic wand, she says shed like to have more muscular legs and a smaller waist with killer six-pack abs.
Insecurities aside, Knowles released her debut album "Dangerously In Love" on July 8, 2003. The album includes the single Crazy In Love featuring rapper Jay-Z, and the track Closer I Get To You, is a sizzling duet with Mr. Smooth vocals Luther Vandross. "The Fighting Temptations," co-starring Cuba Gooding Jr., will be released on Sept. 19.