Destiny's Child (sometimes referred to as DC or DC3) was an R&B and pop girl group comprising lead singer Beyoncé Knowles, and Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The group released four major studio albums and four US number-one singles. Destiny's Child has sold more than 17.5 million albums in the United States and have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, including solo releases, their record company said. Billboard magazine ranks the group as one of the greatest musical trios of all time.
Formed in 1990 in Houston, Texas, Destiny's Child members began their musical endeavors in their pre-teens as a group of about six girls under the name Girls' Tyme. After years of struggling, they signed on to Columbia Records and changed their name. Beyonce's mom Tina Knowles is said to have found the group name by reading the bible and finding the words Destiny and Child. Their self titled debut album was moderately successful, but it was the release of The Writing's on the Wall, their second studio album in 1999, that launched the group into mainstream recognition with such singles as "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Bug a Boo" and "Say My Name". However, despite critical and commercial success, the group was plagued by internal conflict and legal turmoil, as members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett attempted to terminate the group's manager (and Knowles' father) Matthew Knowles, citing favoritism over Knowles and Rowland. They were soon replaced with Williams and Farrah Franklin; however, in 2000, Franklin also parted with the group, and they continued as a trio.
Their third album, Survivor, which the public interpreted as a channel to their experience, eclipsed the success of their previous efforts, with the worldwide hits "Independent Women", "Survivor" and "Bootylicious". In 2002, Destiny's Child announced a temporary hiatus, which allowed its members to pursue individual success. They re-united with 2004's Destiny Fulfilled, and a year later during their world tour, announced that the group would permanently disband, and it's members would pursue solo careers in music, theater, television, and film.
Because of the group's defeat, Knowles' father, Mathew Knowles, voluntarily dedicated his time to manage them; in 1995, he resigned from his job as a medical-equipment salesman. The move reduced Knowles' family's income by half, and her parents briefly separated due to the pressure. Mathew Knowles cut down the original lineup to four with the inclusion of LeToya Luckett in 1993; he established a "boot camp" to train them. Rehearsing in the salon of Knowles' mother, Tina, and their backyards, they continued performing as openings for established R&B groups of the time such as SWV, Dru Hill and Immature. Tina Knowles also helped design attires for their performances. They signed to Elektra Records in the same year, but were dropped before they could release an album. In 1997, Knowles' father negotiated with record label Columbia Records and signed the group.
Destiny's Child released their self-titled debut album in the United States on February 17, 1998, featuring the work of producers Rob Fusari, Jermaine Dupri, Wyclef Jean and Corey Rooney. Destiny's Child sold three million copies worldwide, and was certified platinum. The album released its lead single, "No, No, No"; its remix version, featuring The Fugees member Wyclef Jean, reached number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Domestically, the single sold over one million copies and certified platinum. Its follow-up singles, "With Me Part 1" and "Get on the Bus" failed to reproduce the success of "No, No, No". In 1998, Destiny's Child garnered three Soul Train Lady of Soul awards: Best R&B/Soul Single for Group, Band or Duo, Best R&B/Soul or Rap; New Artist for "No, No, No"; and Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year, Group, Band, or Duo. Knowles considered their debut successful but not as huge because she claimed it a neo soul record and was way too mature for them.
After the success of their debut album, Destiny's Child re-entered the studio quickly, bringing in a new lineup of producers, including Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs and Rodney Jerkins. Coming up with The Writing's on the Wall, they released it in July 27, 1999 and it became their breakthrough album. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number six, and topped both R&B and pop US charts in early 2000, launching them to crossover markets and establishing them as a viable pop group. "Bills, Bills, Bills" was released in the summer of 1999 as the album's lead single, and reached the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100, becoming their first US number-one single. The second single, "Bug a Boo", hit the Top 40 pop charts.
In late 1999, Luckett and Roberson attempted to split with their manager, claiming that he kept a disproportionate share of the group's profits and unfairly favored Knowles and Rowland. While they never intended to leave the group, when the video for "Say My Name" surfaced in February 2000, Roberson and Luckett were surprised to find two new members—Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin—joining Knowles and Rowland. Roberson and Luckett took legal action in March, suing both Mathew Knowles and their band mates for breach of partnership and fiduciary duties. Both sides were disparaging each other in the media. Luckett and Roberson started another girl group Anjel but were unsuccessful in record sales and publicity. Luckett released an album Letoya(2006) which went platinum.
Five months after becoming part of Destiny's Child, Franklin left the group for various personal reasons, including stress and negativity surrounding the recent strife; her departure, however, was less controversial. Towards the end of 2000, Roberson and Luckett dropped the portion of their lawsuit aimed at Rowland and Knowles in exchange for a settlement, though they continued to pursue action against Knowles' father. As part of the agreement, both sides were prohibited from attacking each other publicly.
Although the group was affected by the turmoil, their success continued. "It ushered in the group's most successful stretch", when they became a pop-cultural phenomenon. "Say My Name" became their second number-one and biggest single to date. The album's fourth single, "Jumpin' Jumpin'", also became a top-ten hit. The Writings on the Wall furthered the group's careers as it was one of the top-ten selling albums of 2000; it was eventually certified eight-time platinum in the United States. Destiny's Child began performing as an opening act at the concerts of pop singers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
Now in their final lineup, Destiny's Child recorded a theme song for the film version of Charlie's Angels. Released as a single in October 2000, "Independent Women Part 1" spent eleven consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 at number one, the longest-running number-one single of Destiny's Child's career, and of that year in the US.
Survivor—which title was reportedly inspired by a DJ's joke about Destiny's Child members 'voting one another off the island', much like the popular CBS reality series Survivor—hit record stores in the spring of 2001, and entered the Billboard 200 at number one; the album sold over 663,000 copies in its first week sales. The first three singles, "Independent Women Part I", "Survivor" and "Bootylicious" were all big hits; the first two were consecutive number-one singles in the UK. The album was certified four-time platinum in the US; it was certified double platinum in Australia and The Writing's On The Wall reached triple platinum the same year.
Toward the end of the year, the group released a holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas. The album contained updated versions of several Christmas songs. In February 2001, Destiny's Child won two Grammy awards for "Say My Name": Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. They also earned an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo. In early 2002, a remix compilation titled This Is the Remix was released to win fans over before a new studio album would be released.
The lead single and Grammy-winning song "Survivor" was by some interpreted as a response to the strife between the band members, although Knowles claimed it was not directed at anybody. Seeing it as a breach of the agreement that barred each party from public disparagement, Roberson and Luckett once again filed a lawsuit against Destiny's Child and Sony Music, shortly following the release of This Is the Remix. Cases were settled in June 2002.
To capitalize on the success of "Dilemma", Rowland's solo debut album Simply Deep was brought forward from its early 2003 release to September 2002. Rowland's career took off internationally when Simply Deep hit number one on the UK Albums Chart. The same year she made her feature film debut in the horror film Freddy vs. Jason. Meanwhile Knowles made her second film, "The Fighting Temptations", and appeared as featured vocalist on her boyfriend Jay-Z's number-one single "'03 Bonnie and Clyde", an act that was said to earn her street cred.
Also as a result of the success of "Dilemma", Knowles' debut album, Dangerously in Love, was postponed many times, until June 2003. Dangerously in Love debuted at number one upon its release, selling 317,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It yielded the number-one hits "Crazy in Love", and "Baby Boy"; and the top-five singles "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl". Knowles solo debut was well-received by critics, earning five Grammy awards in one night for Dangerously in Love, tying the likes of Norah Jones, Lauryn Hill, and Alicia Keys for most Grammys received in one night by a female. In November 2003, Williams appeared as Aida on Broadway. In January 2004, she released her second gospel album, Do You Know.
Three years after the hiatus, members of Destiny's Child reunited to record their fifth album, Destiny Fulfilled, which is to date their last collective record. The album introduces the trio to a harder, "urban" sound, and songs featured are conceptually interrelated which aims to find love. Destiny Fulfilled saw equality in the trio, with each member contributing to writing on the majority of the album, as well as becoming executive producers aside from their manager.
Released on November 15, 2004, Destiny Fulfilled failed to top Survivor; the album reached number two the following week, selling 497,000 copies in its first week, compared to 663,000 for the previous album. Certified three-time platinum in the US, Still, it was one of the best selling albums of 2005, selling over six million copies worldwide; it pushed the group back into the position of the best-selling female group and American group of the year. Four singles were released from the album: the lead "Lose My Breath", "Soldier", "Cater 2 U" and "Girl"; the first two reached number three in the US.
In connection with the album, Destiny's Child embarked on their worldwide concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It Tour. On June 11, 2005, while at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, the group announced before 16,000 people their official breakup. Destiny's Child claimed, however, that naming it Destiny Fulfilled was not a coincidence of sort. Right in the making of the album, they planned to part ways after their fourteen-year career as a group to facilitate their continued pursuit in individual aspirations. Knowles stated that their destinies were already fulfilled. The group exclusively sent a letter to MTV News about the decision:
We have been working together as Destiny's Child since we were 9, and touring together since we were 14. After a lot of discussion and some deep soul searching, we realized that our current tour has given us the opportunity to leave Destiny's Child on a high note, united in our friendship and filled with an overwhelming gratitude for our music, our fans, and each other. After all these wonderful years working together, we realized that now is the time to pursue our personal goals and solo efforts in earnest...No matter what happens, we will always love each other as friends and sisters and will always support each other as artists. We want to thank all of our fans for their incredible love and support and hope to see you all again as we continue fulfilling our destinies.
—Destiny's Child, MTV News
The title of the compilation fueled a minor issue as it does contain number ones, but not exclusively. While the liner notes of the compilation does not present any information regarding commercial performances of the songs featured in it, Keith Caulfield of Billboard claimed that the name could only be "a marketing angle". Despite this, Chris Harris of MTV News said that it "lives up to its name"; #1's debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of 113,000, becoming their second highest album debut. "Stand Up For Love" was released as Destiny's Child's last single.
Destiny's Child's last televised performance was at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game on February 19 in Houston, Texas; however, Knowles commented, "It's the last album, but it's not the last show. On March 28, 2006, Destiny's Child was cemented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the 2,035th recipient of the coveted recognition.
On the September 2, 2007 Los Angeles stop of The Beyoncé Experience tour, Knowles sang a snippet of "Survivor" with Rowland and Williams. The latter two rendered a "Happy Birthday" song to Knowles. The performance was featured in Knowles' tour DVD, The Beyoncé Experience Live!, released on November 20, 2007.
Rowland and Knowles, along with the latter's family, founded the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up for the purpose of providing transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extended the mission of the Knowles-Rowland Center For Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.
The group explored their lyrics to man-to-woman relationship, and sisterhood and female empowerment anthems.