DESTINY’S CHILD formed in the ’90s. Originally, there were four members, only to become smaller in size and remain as a trio — Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — for years. Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles, managed the group, which recorded girl power songs like “Independent Women, Pt. 1” and love songs like “Cater 2 U.” The ladies’ hard work paid off: MTV dubbed the group one of the “top-selling female pop vocal groups in history.”
However, at the height of their power — following their 2001 album, Survivor — the ladies decided to try their luck by going solo. Beyoncé made sure fans were caught up, saying, “We’ll come back and do another album for Destiny’s Child.”
The promised album did happen, but by that time Beyoncé had become far more important than the group. The numbers didn’t lie. Michelle Williams’ gospel album, Heart to Yours, sold 17,000 copies in its top week; Kelly Rowland’s release, an alternative pop project called Simply Deep, sold 77,000 units in its strongest week; and Beyoncé’s R&B and hip-hop solo debut, Dangerously In Love, sold 317,000 copies in its first week alone. It seemed only a matter of time before Beyoncé would become a superstar solo performer. Her manager-father referred to Destiny’s Child as “my daughter’s group.”
After the group’s comeback album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004, Rowland announced, during their 2005 tour, that the trio would disband for good. Their joint statement read, “After 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.”
Fans were blindsided by the announcement. However, music industry insiders weren’t surprised. In 2004, the New York Times critic had written of Beyoncé, “She’s the one you can’t take your eyes off of; no one really cares about the other girls. I think she’ll eventually realize these girls are throwing dust on her shine.”
In a 2005 interview, Beyoncé confirmed to Vanity Fair, “I always held back in Destiny’s Child. I was comfortable in a group and felt I didn’t have to do anything 100 percent, because there were other people onstage with me.”
Only after her first solo album did she say she went “all the way” with her singing.
“For the first time,” she allowed, “I wasn’t afraid — I didn’t feel limited.” In the video for “Crazy in Love,” she “danced all the way” for the first time, she said. “I let go.”
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