Dazed meets 17-year-old Beyoncé (“rhymes with fiancé”), Kelly, LeToya and LaTavia in a 1999 interview with a group of “sweet-assed junior R&B sensations”
Taken from the August 1999 edition of Dazed:
Nobody does teen sensations better than US MTV culture. And nobody does sweet-assed junior R&B better than Destiny's Child.
It could almost be said that the career choice of LaTavia, LeToya, Kelly and Beyoncé (rhymes with fiance) was practically preordained from the moment they were christened. Not for LaTavia the typing pool or for Beyoncé the banal repetition of nine to five. No, if destiny had anything to do with it, the Texan quartet were simply born to pout, preen and harmonise for Houston.
And if affirmation were needed, they could have looked no further than the phrase "destiny's child" just happening to slip out of Beyoncé's mother's copy of Isaiah, thus conceiving their name. So when Destiny's Child knelt down and thanked God for their platinum album success of last year, you know they meant it. Although it's debatable how much divine intervention was really required to send their slinky, knowing single, "No No No", straight into the UK charts.
Destiny's Child's origins can ostensibly be traced back to the point when, after a school voice lesson, Beyoncé decided that she wanted to sing for a living. Or perhaps to Kelly who, after seeing Whitney Houston shatter glass singing "I Will Always Love You" on the telly, decided she wanted to be a superstar "just like her". This at five and four, respectively.
Significantly nearer their goals, the girls feel life has taught them much. Beyoncé: "I've learnt a lot about how things work. The music business is a lot like any other business; there's a lot of politics involved, it feels like people who are aggressive and mean always get credit for stuff and that nice people never do. Except the nice people always win out in the end." She is now 17.
Early on, lessons were replaced by rigorous exercise routines and endless replays of Jackson Five videos, finding Destiny's Child sufficiently proficient to begin breaking hearts with the melting sounds of their sexualised teenage R&B at, amongst other places, army bases. "We love playing army bases because they hardly get any artists there and when they do, they give us a lot of love," coos Kelly. "They love our music and that's the rush for us."
All this under the auspicious tutelage of Beyoncé's manager-Dad, who would encourage the girls to write their own songs and melodies from the age of nine onwards and who took them out of school at 11. LeToya: "You've got to understand you need to make sacrifices." Beyoncé: "It's kind of hard being managed by your dad, but I know he's working extra-hard because he's going to want to make sure his babies succeed."
And sure enough, Destiny's Child soon found themselves on tour with Wyclef (LaTavia: "He's real that's what we really like about him"), in the studio with Rodney Jerkins and Master P and touched by the presence of Mariah Carey and Lauryn Hill (Beyoncé: "She was the nicest person I've ever met"). Of course, the Destiny's Child Juggernaut is only just beginning to warm up. Which is why they've been in NYC for the past four days, promoting their new album, The Writing's On The Wall – a self-proclaimed guide to modem relationships – doing photo shoots "for Japan" and lots of interviews. "We're always doing interviews," giggles Kelly. "I kind of like that.”
LeToya is permanently on line to her boyfriend, and LaTavia talks of Houston where "the weather is really hot and the people are really nice" and where the Ralph Lauren handbag she is twirling around her wrist only cost $12. Kelly explains how she admires sartorial flair as executed by Posh Spice, and Beyoncé, who produced much of the new album herself, is busy exercising the voice that one day not very far off is surely destined to become unforgettable.
And if past successes are anything to go by, Destiny's Child's new single "Bills Bills Bills" will not disappoint. It's a flirty R&B boogie produced by She'kspere, the smooth operator behind "No Scrubs". Comparisons with their big soul sisters TLC are not completely unfounded. The secret, explains Kelly, is just that: "it's like a hunger in me. I want to go all the way with it and I'm not stopping till I get there."
Beyoncé's new album Lemonade is out now via iTunes and Amazon