Born into a legacy of music, Solange Knowles started writing songs at just 9 years old. She was still in braces when she started working as a backup dancer and singer on tour with Destiny’s Child at age 13; later, she would write songs for the band and for Beyoncé (via Biography).
At 16, Solange released a debut album called Solo Star, but it wasn’t until much later that her true artistic vision saw the light. “I was young when I recorded my first record,” Solange told Essence in 2009. “I knew what kind of artist I wanted to be, but I didn’t know how to carry it out. And I wasn’t brave enough to carry it out because I was more concerned with pleasing my label.”
Solange hit her stride with the release of her critically-acclaimed third album, A Seat at the Table, in 2016. While recording the groundbreaking album, she started her own record label, Saint Records. Since then, she’s truly carved out a niche in the music industry; she’s known for incorporating performance art and other experimental elements into her music.
Despite the relentless comparisons to her sister, Solange knew all along that she was never trying to be the next Beyoncé. “People think there should be this great rivalry between us, but there’s never been any competition. There’s a big age gap and we are two very different characters,” she told the Daily Mail in 2008.