A Destiny in the Making
Destiny's Child was formed in Houston, TX, in 1990, when original members Beyoncé Knowles and LaTavia Roberson were just nine years old; the two met at an audition and became friends, and Knowles' father Mathew set about developing an act based on their singing and rapping, taking their name from a passage in the -Book of Isaiah. Beyoncé's cousin Kelendria "Kelly" Rowland joined the group in 1992, and shortly thereafter they landed an appearance on Star Search, where they performed a rap song. The quartet's lineup was finalized (for the time being) when LeToya Luckett joined in 1993, and they spent the next few years working their way up from the Houston club scene, eventually opening for artists like SWV, Dru Hill, and Immature. Finally, in 1997, Destiny's Child was offered a recording contract by Columbia Records.
The group made its recorded debut on 1997's "Killing Time," a song included on the soundtrack of the blockbuster Men in Black. Their self-titled debut album was released in early 1998, featuring production by Wyclef Jean and Jermaine Dupri, among others. Its lead single, the Jean-produced "No No No," was a smash hit, selling over a million copies and topping the RB charts. The follow-up singles -- "With Me" and "Get on the Bus," the latter of which was taken from the soundtrack of Why Do Fools Fall in Love? -- didn't quite duplicate the success of "No No No," although Destiny's Child would eventually go platinum (after the group's later success). Destiny's Child re-entered the studio quickly, bringing in producer Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs to handle the majority of their next record. Lead single "Bills, Bills, Bills" became the group's first number one pop hit (and second RB number one) in the summer of 1999, and paced by its success, the accompanying album, The Writing's on the Wall, entered the charts at number six upon its release.
That was just the beginning of the group's breakout success. The second single, "Bug a Boo," didn't perform as well, but the third single, "Say My Name," was another massive hit, their biggest so far; it hit number one on both the pop and R&B charts for three weeks apiece in early 2000, and made Destiny's Child a pop-cultural phenomenon. However, at the peak of "Say My Name"'s popularity, the group splintered. In December 1999, Roberson and Luckett attempted to split with manager Mathew Knowles, charging that he kept a disproportionate share of the band's profits, attempted to exert too much control, and unfairly favored his daughter and niece. While they never intended to leave the group, relations naturally grew strained, and when the video for "Say My Name" premiered in February 2000, many fans (not to mention Roberson and Luckett) were surprised to find two new members -- Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin -- joining Knowles and Rowland. Infuriated, Roberson and Luckett took legal action in March, suing both Knowles and their former bandmates for breach of partnership and fiduciary duties. A war of words followed in the press; meanwhile, the next Destiny's Child single, "Jumpin' Jumpin'," hit the Top Ten, and The Writing's on the Wall went on to sell an incredible eight million copies.
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