50 facts about singer Michelle Williams, former member of Destiny's Child

Michelle Williams
(Photo : Credit: Jason Merritt) Caption:INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Singer Michelle Williams attends the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MTV)
Michelle Williams
(Photo : Credit: Jerod Harris ) Caption:HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 14: Recording artist Michelle Williams attends the WE tv's LA Hair Season 4 Premiere Party at Avalon on July 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for WE tv)
Michelle Williams
(Photo : Credit: Getty Images ) Caption:LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 28: Singers Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland and Beyonce performing 'Say Yes' during the 30th Annual Stellar Awards at the Orleans Arena on March 28, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Say Yes is a song by Michelle Williams, taken from her fourth studio album Journey to Freedom (2014). The song and video feature Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé. (Photo by Erik Umphery/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment)
Michelle Williams
(Photo : Credit: Frederick M. Brown) Caption:LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Singer Michelle Williams attends the 2015 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET)
Caption:NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Singer-songwriter Michelle Williams attends Fashion Rocks 2014 presented by Three Lions Entertainment at the Barclays Center of Brooklyn on September 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Three Lions Entertainment)
(Photo : Credit: Larry Busacca) Caption:NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Singer-songwriter Michelle Williams attends Fashion Rocks 2014 presented by Three Lions Entertainment at the Barclays Center of Brooklyn on September 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Three Lions Entertainment)

Michelle Williams rose to fame in the 2000s as a member of R&B girl group Destiny's Child. Learn 50 things about the singer.

1. Tenitra Michelle Williams, commonly known as Michelle Williams, is an American recording artist and songwriter.

2. Michelle Williams rose to fame in the 2000s as a member of R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling female groups of all time with over 60 million records, of which more than 35 million copies sold with the trio lineup with Williams.

3. During their hiatus, she released her debut solo album Heart to Yours (2002) which topped the US gospel album chart and became the best-selling gospel release of the year.

4. Also in 2002, Billboard, named her the fifth Top Gospel Artist of the year and she received a MOBO Award for "Best Gospel Act".

5. Michelle Williams released Do You Know (2004) which gained her a nomination for "Best Gospel Act" at the 2004 MOBO Awards.

6. After Destiny's Child's disbanded in 2005, Williams released her first pop album, Unexpected (2008), which spawned the internationally-charting single "We Break the Dawn" and the US Dance number-one "The Greatest".

7. Her fourth studio album, Journey to Freedom (2014) was critically acclaimed and became her highest-charting charting album in the US; preceded by lead single "If We Had Your Eyes" which reached the US Adult R&B top 20 and the Soul Train-nominated "Say Yes", which charted internationally and topped the US Hot Gospel Songs chart for 7 weeks.

8. Journey to Freedom was nominated for Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary) at the 46th NAACP Image Awards and earned Williams four nominations at the 30th annual Stellar Awards, winning Music Video of the Year for "Say Yes".

9. In 2015, Williams sang for U.S. President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

10. Michelle Williams has found success as a television, Broadway and West End theatre actress, gaining a nomination for "Best Lead Female - Equity" in 2008 at the 18th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards.

11. Making her acting debut on Broadway in Aida (2003), she has since starred in the sitcom series Half & Half (2006) and the musical productions; The Color Purple (2007), Chicago (2009-2010), What My Husband Doesn't Know (2011) and Fela! (2013).

12. Furthermore, she was a featured judge on MTV's Top Pop Group, a contestant in series 8 of Strictly Come Dancing and co-stars alongside Deitrick Haddon in the Oxygen reality television series Fix My Choir.

13. Williams has earned several awards and accolades including but not limited to, a Grammy Award and star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Destiny's Child; a solo MOBO Award and Stellar Award.

14. Michelle Williams was born in Rockford, Illinois.

15. Her mother was a nurse and her father was a car salesman.

16. Michelle Williams became one of four children raised in a "stable, loving" household.

17. Michelle Williams made her musical debut at the age of seven, performing a rendition of the hymn "Blessed Assurance" at the St. Paul Church of God in Christ.

18. Michelle Williams later sang in the gospel groups United Harmony and Chosen Expression.

19. After attending Rockford Auburn High School and being a part of the school's Creative and Performing Arts magnet program, she pursued a degree in criminal justice at Illinois State University, doubtful of her ability to make a career as a professional singer.

20. After two years of university, she left to pursue a music career and began touring as a backing vocalist for Grammy-award winning R&B artist Monica in October 1999, after successfully auditioning in May.

21. In late 1999, Williams met Destiny's Child band members Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland in the lobby of an Atlanta hotel.

22. Months later Beyoncé asked an acquaintance if she knew anyone who could sing for the possible spot with the group and was referred to Michelle.

23. After the much-publicized turmoil, Williams-alongside Farrah Franklin-officially joined the group in early 2000, replacing LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson without notice.

24. In May 2001 Williams and Destiny's Child released the group's third studio album Survivor. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with sales of 663,000 copies.

25. After releasing their holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects.

26. While Williams was still with Destiny's Child, she intensified work on her debut solo album Heart to Yours. The album material included collaborations with singers Carl Thomas, Shirley Caesar and the Mary Mary duo, taking the singer's work further into urban contemporary gospel and Christian music. "Some people will do gospel when their career fails, but I chose to do it at the height of the popularity of Destiny's Child," Williams explained during the album's release. "And I didn't want to do it because it was a fad. I wanted to do it because it's in me. It's in my heart."

27. Released on April 16, 2002 in North America to much critical acclaim, Williams became the first member of Destiny's Child to release solo material with Heart to Yours. The album sold 20,000 copies in its first week, placing it at number fifty-seven on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart, where it later rose to number one.

28. A music video for the album's first and only single, "Heard a Word," was produced by film director Sylvain White.

29. Heart to Yours won Williams a MOBO Award for "Best Gospel Act" along with a raft of nominations including a Stellar Award nomination for "New Artist of the Year", a GMWA Excellence Award nomination for "Female Vocalist of the Year Urban Contemporary" and a nomination for "Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year" from GMA Dove Awards for her collaboration with Shirley Caesar on "Steal Away To Jesus" which was first featured on Caesar's Hymns album.

30. Billboard listed Williams as the fifth Top Gospel Artist of 2002.

31. Following the release and promotion of Heart to Yours, Williams made her on-stage acting debut in 2003, replacing fellow R&B singer Toni Braxton in the title role of Aida, the hit Broadway musical with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.

32. She was the first and remains the only Destiny's Child member to have acted on Broadway.

33. During the release of her fellow Destiny's Child members' debut albums, Williams spent time in the studio, recording her second album. The album saw her generally re-teaming with the majority of the producers and songwriters from her previous effort, also including Solange Knowles, Dawkins & Dawkins, and brother Erron Williams.

34. After a three-year hiatus, Destiny's Child reunited for Destiny Fulfilled, released in November 2004. The album hit number two on the Billboard 200, and spawned the singles "Lose My Breath", "Soldier", "Girl" and "Cater 2 U".

35. Destiny's Child was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006. They were also recognized as the world's best-selling female group of all time.

36. Following Destiny's Child's disbandment in early 2006 Williams made her television debut in the UPN comedy Half & Half, where she played the role of Naomi, a record company executive who is HIV positive.

37. Later that year, she appeared as one of the celebrity singers on the FOX reality television show Celebrity Duets, duetting with actors Alfonso Ribeiro and Jai Rodriguez.

38. In April 2006, Williams performed "America the Beautiful" at World Wrestling Entertainment's event WrestleMania 22, which was in her hometown of Chicago.

39. Beginning in April 2007, Williams joined Oprah Winfrey's Chicago-based cast of the hit Broadway musical The Color Purple for its national tour, starting with an extended run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Williams described the opportunity as "a dream come true", playing the part of blues singer Shug Avery, which earned her positive reception.

40. In March 2008, Columbia Records and Music World Entertainment revealed that Williams would be releasing her third studio album Unexpected on October 7, 2008 in the U.S. The album, her first secular release and first release since the disbanding of Destiny's Child,[10] involves production by Stargate, Rico Love, the Heavyweights, Wayne Wilkins, Andrew Frampton and Soulshock and Karlin, among others.

41. In June 2008, Williams released lead single "We Break the Dawn" to universal acclaim from critics who hailed it as "a terrific fusion of European disco and American R&B". The song became Williams' most successful single, peaking at number four on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, whilst also charting internationally at number forty-seven on the UK Singles Chart and number thirty-eight on the Hungarian Singles Chart before eventually being listed on Hungary's year-end singles chart.

42. On February 8, 2010, Williams made a return to Broadway by commencing a seven-week limited engagement in Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre, replacing Ashlee Simpson.

43. In December 2010, Williams joined DJ Martin Jay to became a co-host on Choice FM's Breakfast Show in London for the month, replacing Lucy Ambache who was on maternity leave.

44. In January 2011, Williams appeared on BBC's popular comedy panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

45. In January 2011, Williams appeared on BBC's popular comedy panel game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

46. Michelle Williams is a soprano, although she assumed the alto role within Destiny's Child.

47. Michelle Williams has earned an array of awards and honors as a solo artist and as member of Destiny's Child. These include (but not limited to); 1 Grammy Award and 1 MOBO Award. Billboard ranked Williams as the fifth Top Gospel Artist of 2002 due to the success of her debut release Heart to Yours which was one of the best-selling gospel releases of the year.

48. In 2013, Williams was honored in her hometown of Rockford, Illinois at the 2013 I Love Gospel Music honors luncheon, which featured musical tributes, including one by Sunday Best winner Amber Bullock.

49. In 2001, Williams made a "bountiful" donation of $148,900 to her church, St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Rockford, Illinois - of which she has been a member since birth - to finish construction of the church's school, St. Paul Academy.

50. In 2012, she became an ambassador for the American Heart Association's Power to End Stroke campaign.


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