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Knowles at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester
|Birth name||Solange Piaget Knowles|
June 24, 1986 |
|Genres||R&B, pop, soul, hip-hop, indie|
|Occupations||singer-songwriter, actress, model, dancer, DJ|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, percussion|
|Labels||Columbia, Music World,
Roc Nation, Geffen
|Associated acts||Destiny's Child, Beyoncé|
Solange Piaget Knowles (born June 24, 1986), who performs under the mononym Solange, is an American singer-songwriter, actress, model, dancer, and DJ. Knowles was born and raised in Houston, Texas along with her older sister singer Beyoncé. Showing an interest in music recording at an early age, she eventually broke into the music scene at 16. She has released two studios albums: Solo Star in 2003 and Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams in 2008, which peaked at number nine in the US Billboard 200 chart.
Aside from recording, Knowles has ventured into film, modeling, and entrepreneurship. Knowles has been compared to her sister by the media, but she dismisses the notion, saying they are artistically different.
Knowles was born in Houston, Texas, to Mathew Knowles and Tina Knowles. Solange is the second child of Mathew and Tina, and the younger sister of Beyoncé. Her father is African American and her mother is Creole (of African, Native American, and French descent) and Irish descent. Her maternal grandparents are Lumis Beyincé and Agnéz Deréon, (a seamstress). She is also a descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. As a child, Knowles studied dance and theater. At the age of five, she made her singing debut at an amusement park. She began writing songs at the age of nine. At 13, she decided to pursue recording, but her parents initially advised her to wait. At the age of 15 Knowles replaced a departed dancer and performed with her sister's group Destiny's Child on tour. During the group's opening stint for American pop singer Christina Aguilera's tour, Knowles temporarily replaced Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland after Kelly broke her toes backstage during a costume change. When Knowles was 16, her father, who was then also her manager, signed her to his recording company, Music World Entertainment.
Managed by her father Mathew, Knowles' first foray into the music business was in 2001 as the lead singer, backed with Destiny's Child, on the title theme song for the animated television series The Proud Family. She also was a featured performer on "Hey Goldmember" for the soundtrack to the 2002 film Austin Powers in Goldmember, as well as a backup singer on the track "Little Drummer Boy" on her sister's group's 2001 holiday album 8 Days of Christmas. In 2002, she was featured on Lil Romeo's second studio album Game Time, singing portions of Luther Vandross-penned "So Amazing" on the single "True Love", and on Rowland's debut solo album Simply Deep, for which she also wrote the title track and "Alone". In 2001 she also appeared as Lil' Bow Wow's date in the music video for his single "Puppy Love".
In June 2003, Mathew Knowles excitedly announced that he was considering adding Solange to Destiny's Child when the group reunited in 2004, thus turning them into a quartet for the first time since short-lived member Farrah Franklin left in 2000. Mathew Knowles said he was testing the reactions, and, judging by what he had heard, "it seems like a good idea". Later in August, however, Beyoncé said it was only a rumor and Destiny's Child would remain a trio. Rowland added, "She's a Solo Star," name-dropping Knowles' debut album. Solange parallels her sister vocally, but she is a dynamic performer in her own right.
At the age of 14, Solange Knowles started working on her debut album Solo Star, which involved American producers such as Jermaine Dupri, The Neptunes, Linda Perry and Timbaland among others. The album is primarily uptempo R&B, although Knowles said there are pop, rock, reggae and hip hop influences. Knowles co-wrote and co-produced some of the 15 tracks in the album, including its lead single, "Feelin' You (Part II)". The song failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, but reached number three on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales and Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. Solo Star was released on January 21, 2003 in the United States, where it debuted at number 49 on the Billboard 200 and reached number 23 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Solo Star had a mixed critical reception: William Ruhlmann of Allmusic called it a "state-of-the-art contemporary R&B album", but deemed Knowles "lost somewhere in the mix". As of mid-2008, the album had sold 112,000 copies domestically according to Nielsen Soundscan.
After the release of her debut album, Knowles started acting in films followed by a career break. When she was married, her family moved to Idaho, and, while staying there, resumed writing songs including the singles "Get Me Bodied" and "Upgrade U" off her sister's second solo album, B'Day. Knowles earned the R&B and Hip-Hop Song accolade for "Get Me Bodied" at the 2008 ASCAP Awards. She had also written songs for Destiny's Child, and members Rowland and Michelle Williams. In 2004, while pregnant with son Daniel, she made a cameo appearance in Destiny's Child's music video for "Soldier".
After the divorce, Knowles returned to Houston to began working on her second album. Knowles renewed her management, signing a record deal with Geffen and a publishing deal with EMI. Knowles finished working on her second studio album in 2008 and titled the project Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. It includes production by Cee-Lo Green, Soulshock & Karlin and Mark Ronson as well as an appearance by Bilal. A collection of 1960s- and 1970s-influenced songs, it is seen as a departure from her pop-oriented debut, with what Billboard magazine called "more of a modern twist on hip-hop and R&B flecked with tinges of blues and jazz". The album was released on August 26, 2008 in the United States. By December 2008, the album had sold over 114,000 copies according to Nielsen Soundscan. The album was positively received by critics, some of whom considered it far better than her debut. The album's lead single, "I Decided", was released in April 2008, and reached the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play; Rolling Stone magazine labelled it her breakthrough single. In support of the album, Knowles began the Solange Presents Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams Tour in Britain in November 2008.
Knowles announced, via her blog HadleyStreetJournal.com, that she will be releasing a series of mixtapes, to coincide with the album. The first mixtape, "I Can't Get Clearance...", includes the leaked track "Fuck the Industry (Signed Sincerely)". On this record, Knowles expresses her views on the current state of the music industry. The lyrics to the song name check some major artists such as Mary J. Blige, Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, and Beyoncé, although she made a point of stating that it does not have "a negative light to any of [them]".
In an interview with MTV in 2009, Knowles revealed that she was determining the type of sound for the follow-up to Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Knowles also parted ways with the Interscope-Geffen-A&M record label group. She will now release her third studio album independently. Early in 2010, Knowles traveled to Australia to work with Australian rock band, Midnight Juggernauts on her third studio album Knowles plans to release the album in summer as revealed on her official Twitter account in 2009 She also revealed on her Twitter account that she rented a house in Santa Barbara, California to get into a certain state of mind while writing and making music On 7 May 2010, Knowles made a guest appearance on the popular children show, Yo Gabba Gabba! for a "Mothers Day Special" where she performed an original song called, "Momma Loves Baby". In an interview with Vibe on 7 July 2010, Knowles said she suffered "a little bit of a breakdown" while recording her new album: "I literally gave up my sanity for a while to do this record. [...] We literally were waking up in the morning and just making music all day and all night. [...] It just started to wear on me in so many different ways. I started having these crazy panic attacks." Knowles explained how she made sacrifices "mentally, emotionally and financially", and continued, "It’s more than an album to me. It’s a transitional time in my life." Regarding the musical direction of the album, she said the inspiration came from New Wave music and stated, "This is a dance record, but the lyrics can get pretty dark at times." The singer has also worked on songs with Chromeo and long-time collaborator Pharrell.
Aside from recording, Knowles ventured into film, modeling, and entrepreneurship. According to her father Mathew Knowles, her goal of merging music and film was part of the overall plan for her career. Knowles appeared as a nubile teenager in the 2004 comedy film Johnson Family Vacation, starring alongside American actors Cedric the Entertainer, Vanessa Williams and Bow Wow. She provided a song for its soundtrack—"Freedom", a collaboration with the Houston-based funk-jazz band Drop Trio. Although the reviews were generally negative, Knowles earned praise from Variety magazine: "Solange Knowles is nearly as dazzling as big sister Beyoncé and does little more than smile winningly in her first bigscreen outing." In 2006, she starred as a cheerleading captain in the film Bring It On: All or Nothing, the third installment of the Bring it On series, alongside American actress and singer Hayden Panettiere. What little critical reaction the low-budget, direct-to-DVD movie got was negative, and Knowles was described as an "affordable young starlet". Knowles uses her full name for her acting, rather than just the first name she uses when singing; for Bring It On: All or Nothing, she was billed as Solange Knowles-Smith, reflecting her married state at the time.
Knowles also appeared in several television series. In 2002, she lent her voice for the character Chanel, the cousin of the protagonist Penny Proud, in the episode "Behind Family Lines" to the animated television series The Proud Family. In 2004, she guest starred in the episode "The Catch" to the sitcom One on One.
Knowles and sister Beyoncé model for their families' clothing line, House of Deréon, named after their grandmother, Agnéz Deréon. She also helped launch Deréon, a junior apparel collection and a sister line to House of Deréon. Both sisters model for Deréon, and are featured in most of Deréon's marketing campaigns. They were featured in a "Got Milk?" campaign ad, while still wearing House of Deréon. In 2008, Knowles was named as ambassador for Giorgio Armani's younger diffusion line, Armani Jeans. Armani said Knowles epitomizes the style, which is a "vision of a young, independent, casual lifestyle with a strong and cool, fashion sensibility".
Knowles has been promoting Baby Jamz, a hip hop-styled toy line for pre-schoolers. It was inspired by her son, Julez, who is fond of hip hop music. She is the executive producer of the CD, composed of updated hip hop inspired nursery rhymes, which is featured in all of the toys.
Also, Knowles has been known for her work in the award-winning children's TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba!. She performed "Momma Loves Baby" during the live performance when it toured the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She also performed "Mama Loves Baby" during a 2010 episode called "Baby".
In February 2012, Solange became VOGUE.COM's Today I'm Wearing guest blogger sharing a photograph of her outfits daily for one month.
Knowles married Daniel Smith in February 2004 when she was 17 and he was 19. On October 18, 2004, Knowles gave birth to their son, Daniel Julez Smith, Jr. Knowles has partly expressed regret that she bore a child at an early age, but calls her son the greatest unplanned blessing. A song she wrote for her baby, "6 O' Clock Blues", was included on Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams.
After Daniel Julez' birth, the family moved to Moscow, Idaho, where Knowles' husband continued studying in college. In October 2007, Solange confirmed in an interview with Essence magazine that she and Smith had divorced. Both of them co-parent the child. After the divorce, Knowles and her child moved to Los Angeles, California, where they established their new home. They have since relocated to Brooklyn, New York.
Knowles cites as her influences Motown girl groups such as The Supremes and The Marvelettes, and Martha Reeves, lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas. She also listened to the music of English pop singer Dusty Springfield, and according to Knowles, her "greatest music influence" is her mother, Tina Knowles, who was a one-time member of the 1960s harmony group The Veltones.
Knowles says her first passion is writing songs. She has been doing this since she was nine years old, and has collaborated with a number of songwriters and producers. On her debut album, Knowles had no control over which kinds of music to produce, because "when you're 14, everyone else is older and more seasoned and you trust their decisions". Knowles was more concerned with pleasing her record label by submitting to their desires. Her musical influences were better expressed on Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, when she considered herself mature and was able to write and produce songs as she wished, without worrying about the expectations of others. Knowles' lyrics tackle relationships, world issues, and deceased friends, with her second album focusing on events in her life, such as marriage, divorce, and parenthood.
Aside from recording, Knowles occasionally paints as her hobby: "I think that painting, for me, is such an affirmative expression in that sometimes you don't know what the outcome is gonna be and each stroke and each brush for me is an emotion and, in the end, it comes out as a piece which is the most amazing thing. ... It definitely provides a different outlet."
Knowles has always been compared by the media to her sister, Beyoncé, whom she considers one of her role models. She has expressed her opinion of the comparison in the lyrics to "God Given Name": "I'm not her and never will be" — which was purposely set as the album's opening track to show their differences. In his review for the album, Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone magazine referred to the lyrics a declaration of independence. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Knowles commented: "People think there should be this great rivalry between us, but there's never been any competition. There's a big age gap and we are two very different characters." In another interview, Knowles said that she would not live by her sister's level of stardom, stressing that she and Beyoncé are artistically different, even stating that blogger Teddy Birmingham was "disrespectful" for saying she was living in her sister shadow on his website "Teddytalks" in June 2009. Beyoncé was unwilling to bring her sister into the recording industry, reasoning that it "involves a lot of pressure". Knowles countered by saying, "It's good to have her advice, but we really have different goals".
|2001||Intimate Portrait||Herself||1 Episode|
|2002||The Proud Family||Chanel||1 Episode|
|2003||Soul Train||Herself||1 Episode|
|The 30th Annual American Music Awards||Herself|
|The Today Show||Herself||1 Episode|
|The Brothers Garcia||Herself||1 Episode|
|2004||One On One||Charlotte||1 Episode|
|Johnson Family Vacation||Nikki Johnson|
|2005||Listen Up!||Erika||1 Episode|
|2006||Bring It On: All or Nothing||Camille|
|2008||Ghost Whisperer||Singer||1 Episode|
|2008||Lincoln Heights||Herself||1 Episode|
|2010||Yo Gabba Gabba||Herself||1 Episode|
|2009||Solange Knowles||BET Award for BET Centric Award||Nominated|
|Soul Train Music Award for Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Book: Solange Knowles|
|Wikipedia books are collections of articles that can be downloaded or ordered in print.|