Childhood & Early Life
Solange Knowles was born on 24 June 1986, in Houston, Texas, USA, into a family of music moguls. Her father Mathew Knowles owned ‘Music World Entertainment,’ a fairly small but successful music label. Solange and Beyonce spent their childhood listening to different kinds of music, which encouraged them to pursue a career in music.
Solange was slightly different from her sister. While Beyonce was a loud and outspoken girl, Solange was just the opposite, a shy and introvert girl.
Apart from music, Solange also learned dancing and theatre. She often worked on her skills to become a performer. As for singing, she started performing in family events at the age of five. She sang for the first time in front of an amusement park crowd, and by the age of nine, she was writing her own songs.
By the time she was 13, she had asked her father if she could start her career, but he asked her to wait, saying that she was too young. Her older sister Beyonce was already a popular singer by then, and her father advised Solange to start working with her. While accompanying Beyonce’s music group ‘Destiny’s Child’ to their tours, Solange performed as a background dancer.
At the age of 15, she performed for the first time with her sister when one of the members of ‘Destiny’s Child’ was not available. Upon seeing her performance, her father signed her for his music label. Subsequently, ‘Columbia Records’ signed a contract with Solange and hence, her musical dreams were given wings.
Continue Reading Below
Solange Knowles didn’t take long to come out of her famous sister’s shadow. In 2002, she collaborated with Lil Romeo for his album ‘Game Time’ and then with Kelly Rowland for her album ‘Simply Deep.’ These collaborations served her well as she further got acquainted with song-writing and music production. Immediately after these collaborations, she started working on her debut music album.
In late 2002, she came up with her debut single titled ‘Feelin' You,’ which resonated well with fans of hip hop music. Eventually, her debut single got her noticed as it topped many music charts. Billboard’s ‘Maxi-Singles Sales’ chart had the track in its top five list. This was an electrifying start to a surprisingly young musician, and the song eventually went big in the club DJ scene as well.
In the year 2002, she also released her debut album ‘Solo Star’ which made into the top 50 list of ‘Billboard 200.’ However, the album did not achieve the kind of success that was expected from it, despite having some big names attached to it, such as Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Beyonce.
The critical reception wasn’t very encouraging either, with critics calling it “an average state of the art hip hop album.”
For the next few years, she furthered her career with her acting skills and played some major and minor roles in films, such as ‘Johnson Family Vacation’ and ‘Bring it On: All or Nothing.’ She also appeared in a guest role in the sitcom ‘One on One.’ While she was gathering ideas for her next album, she kept working with her sister and wrote two songs, namely ‘Upgrade U’ and ‘Get Me Bodied.’
She also collaborated with the members of ‘Destiny’s Child’ and wrote songs for Rowland and Michelle Williams, eventually appearing in the music video of their song ‘Soldier.’
In 2007, she started working on her second studio album under the label ‘Geffen Records.’ In mid-2008, she released her album ‘Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams.’ It was apparent that she had taken the criticisms of her first album seriously as she had fine-tuned her music.
The critical response was overwhelming this time around, with some critics calling it “unique and brilliant.” ‘I Decided,’ a single from the album, rocked the Billboard charts, and ‘Rolling Stones’ magazine called it her breakthrough single. Later that year, Solange embarked on a tour in Britain for the promotion of the album. The concerts were massive hits, registering record attendance at some venues.
However, she wasn’t pleased with the way the industry worked, and she didn’t even care enough to hide her qualms as one of the singles from the album was titled ‘Fuck the Industry.’ She blamed the debacle of her first album on a few executives who had allegedly exerted pressure on her to create a certain kind of music. She also said that her second album was more of an independent venture.
Continue Reading Below
She made a courageous move by severing her ties with music labels and going independent, which was considered a suicidal move by the industry experts. Her crazy transition was apparent in the single ‘Losing You’ from her EP ‘True.’ The song housed a funky mix of sounds, which were considered experimental. However, the song became a hit among the listeners.
Her EP, which released in late 2012, further cemented the fact that she was moving away from commercial hip hop music. She collaborated with Saint Heron and established her own music label ‘Saint Records.’ Through her label, she also promoted some like-minded and highly creative artists, such as Kelela and Sampha. They went on to work together on Solange’s next album ‘A Seat at the Table.’
The album proved the immense talent that Solange possessed, as the sounds produced were never heard before. The album made it to ‘Billboard 200’ where it took the top spot. It eventually became her highest-selling album.
Solange performed a rendition of the sing-along from ‘The Proud Family’ during the 2017 ‘Roots Picnic Festival’ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The same year, she became the face of a new ‘Calvin Klein’ campaign.
She released her fourth studio album ‘When I Get Home’ on all streaming platforms on March 1, 2019.
Apart from her music and acting endeavors, she has also modeled for ‘Armani’ and ‘Michael Kors.’ Solange and her sister Beyonce have also modeled for their family line of clothing ‘House of Dereon,’ which is named after their deceased grandmother.
In 2004, Solange Knowles married Daniel Smith at the age of 17, and gave birth to her son Daniel Julez J. Smith, Jr., later that year. The couple moved to Moscow, Idaho, where Daniel Smith attended college. In 2007, she divorced Daniel Smith. She said that she regretted marrying and becoming a mother early in her life.
In November 2014, she got married to the famous music video director Alan Ferguson.
In 2014, she became part of a controversy which also involved her brother-in-law Jay Z. In a leaked footage, she was seen physically assaulting her brother-in-law inside an elevator. The entire incident was later labeled as a mere publicity stunt.