Happy Birthday, Beyoncé!

Is there anyone better than Beyoncé? Seriously, is there? Rare is the entertainer who matches such enormous talent with personal grace, beauty and style. From surviving the hard times to straight runnin’ the world, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles has certainly made the most of her 30 years.

Born September 4, 1981 in Houston, Texas to Mathew and Tina Knowles, Beyoncé seemed destined for stardom from an early age. While attending St Mary’s Elementary School, she began classes in ballet and jazz and it was during one of those classes that her talent for singing became known after Beyoncé sang a high note to a song that her instructor was humming but could not reach.

From there, she began performing in school talent shows and by age 9 had enrolled in Houston’s music magnet school, Parker Elementary. A year prior, Beyoncé met longtime friend Kelly Rowland at an audition for an all-girl rap and singing group entitled Girl Tyme. However, the group struggled to find success and suffered several setbacks until finally signing a deal with Columbia Records in 1997 under the name of Destiny’s Child. Beyoncé was only 16 years old.

From there, Beyoncé’s success has only continued. Destiny’s Child enjoyed worldwide recognition, selling over 40 million records and being named the best selling female group of all time by the World Music Awards.

Finally, in 2002, Beyoncé not only began dating future husband Jay-Z but also decided to pursue a solo career, acting in several films (Austin Powers in Goldmember, The Fighting Temptations) and releasing her debut album Dangerously In Love in 2003. The record shifted 317,000 units in its first week and has gone on to sell over 11 million copies worldwide since its release.

Since then, Beyoncé has released three more solo albums, most recently the brilliant 4 in 2011, which is daring, different and totally Beyoncé. She has also starred in several more films and signed endorsement deals with big name companies such as Pepsi, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and L’Oréal. This year has also seen her perform an absolutely mindblowing headlining set at Glastonbury and she even announced her first pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards last month. It doesn’t seem like she’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

Beyoncé has arguably become the most successful female popstar in the world, loved and admired by not only fans but her fellow musicians for her fearlessness and her grace, as well as her ability to take the reins of her career and do things her own way in an industry that would love nothing but total control over the artists it represents.

Beyoncé’s music is not only fun to sing at the top of your lungs and dance around your room to, it also sends an empowering message to young girls, reminding them that independence, confidence and the ability to stand up for yourself against any injustice – whether from a lover or a boss or society at large – are important skills to have while still maintaining the vulnerability to love fully and deal with the hurt that sometimes comes along with it.

In addition, she has managed to maintain much of her private life from the public eye, rarely appearing in tabloids or gossip rags and preferring to stay mum on the details on her marriage to Jay-Z and her life outside of showbiz. It’s truly impressive.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Beyoncé and that’s okay – I’m happy continuing to lavish praise on her at every opportunity. You can feel free to do the same in the comments if you’re feeling it.

Happy birthday, Bey. Here’s to another fantastic year!

Featured image via bossip.com; Additional images via posh24.com, wonderfullyfab.com; Gifs via beyoncegifs.tumblr.com

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