Who Is Michelle Williams?
Born in 1980, Michelle Williams developed a love for singing as a child and performed gospel music for much of her early life. She became a backup singer for R&B artist Monica before joining Destiny's Child in 2000, delivering such hits as "Survivor" and "Bootylicious." The group broke up in 2005, but they have reunited several times since. Williams has released several solo albums as well, including 2008's Unexpected and 2014's Journey to Freedom. She performed at the Super Bowl with Destiny's Child in 2013.
Early Life and Career
Born on July 23, 1980, performer Michelle Williams started singing in her church choir. She later joined such gospel groups as United Harmony. As much as she loved music, Williams tried a different path in college. She studied criminal justice at Illinois State University before dropping out to pursue her first love.
In 1999, Williams got her first big break. She was hired as a backup singer for R&B star Monica for a tour. Before long, Williams reached new heights of musical success. She was recommended to Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, who were looking for someone to join their hit group, Destiny's Child.
Williams became a member of Destiny's Child in early 2000. "Independent Women Part 1," which appeared on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack, was the first song she recorded with the group. It also proved to be the group's first No. 1 hit on the pop charts.
Williams enjoyed more success with Destiny's Child in 2001, with their release Survivor. The album instantly became a top-seller, buoyed by such hits as "Survivor" and "Bootylicious." She took on a more prominent role on the group's next studio album, 2004's Destiny Fulfilled, taking on more writing responsibilities. After the tour to support the record ended in 2005, Destiny's Child announced that they would be breaking up.
Solo Artist and Actress
While with Destiny's Child, Williams successfully returned to her gospel roots with her first solo album Heart to Yours in 2002. She made her Broadway debut the following year, taking over for singer Toni Braxton in the musical Aida. On a roll professionally, Williams released another popular gospel album in 2004, Do You Know.
After Destiny's Child split up, Williams continued to pursue a range of creative endeavors. She starred in a national tour of the Broadway hit The Color Purple, based on the book by Alice Walker, in 2007. In the music world, Williams tried her hand at pop success with her third solo album, Unexpected, released in 2008. The album featured two dance hits: "We Break the Dawn" and "The Greatest."
Williams returned to the Broadway stage in 2010, playing the role of Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. Across the pond, she also starred in the British competition program Strictly Come Dancing in 2010.
Destiny's Child Reunion
In February 2013, Williams once again garnered international attention when she reunited with Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland at Super Bowl XLVII, taking to the stage with her former bandmates during Beyoncé's impressive halftime show. Williams described the experience as a "beautiful thing" to Billboard. "When three good girlfriends are together, you're free and you don't care who's around; you're just trying to catch up and be goofy. I had a blast." Before this appearance, Williams also took time to record a new track with Destiny's Child, "Nuclear," for a compilation album entitled Love Songs.
Along with reuniting with her old bandmates, Williams in 2013 began starring in a touring production of the musical Fela!, about the life of Nigerian musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
'Journey to Freedom'
In 2014, Williams released her first studio album in six years, the R&B and gospel-infused Journey to Freedom. Its singles enjoyed some success, particularly "Say Yes," co-written by Williams and performed with her Destiny's Child cohorts. That year, the singer also began starring in the Oxygen reality series Fix My Choir.
On the personal front, Williams announced her engagement to pastor Chad Johnson in April 2018. That summer, on the heels of a TMZ report that she had been admitted to a mental-health facility, Williams delivered a heartfelt Instagram post in which she confirmed the news, describing herself as "someone who will continue to always lead by example" and "tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need." The artist had previously been open about her ongoing battles with depression.
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