theGrio’s 100: Solange Knowles, from sibling to star in her own right

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Who is Solange Knowles?

Solange Knowles, 26, who known by her fans as simply Solange, is a singer-songwriter, actress, model and dancer. Solange is the second child of Mathew and Tina Knowles and the younger sister of Beyoncé.

As a child growing up in Houston, Texas, Solange studied dance and theater. At the age of five, she made her singing debut at an amusement park and began writing songs at the age of nine. At the age of 15, Solange performed as a background dancer with her sister’s group Destiny’s Child while they were on tour. When Knowles was 16, her father, who was then also her manager, signed her to his recording company, Music World Entertainment.

Knowles’ debut record, Solo Star, was released in 2003 on Columbia Records when the singer was 16 years old. She followed that five years later with 2008’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, and, in between, gave birth to her first child, Daniel Julez Smith, Jr.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

In November 2012, Solange reintroduced herself to the spotlight with the release of her new digital EP True, a seven-track compilation of pop-centric throwback jams. Knowles recruited the 26-year-old Dev Hynes, also known as Blood Orange, and the two ventured to a variety of locales in Santa Barbara, L.A., Houston, New York and Germany to mastermind something classic, yet out of the ordinary.

“These are just really, really strong amazing pop songs, but they still are interesting and they still encompass a lot of layers and nuances that have those intricacies,” Knowles pointed out during an interview with theGrio. “I have learned that I’m generally attracted to albums and records, from as early as I can remember, that are produced by one producer; that are written by the artist; that is a true collaboration, which sort of transcends a moment in time; that is a real vibe, a real energy.”

What’s next for Solange?

While Knowles may not have been topping Billboard charts in recent years, she has remained busy with other artistic endeavors. In 2012 alone, she signed a modeling contract with Next Model Management, began blogging for Vogue.com, furthered her pursuits as a club D.J., and additionally spent time in front of the camera as an actress.

Solange says now that her new focus revolves around her setting up lifestyle that allows her to be an entertainer as well as a hands-on mother.

“I have an 8-year-old son, he’s in school now,” Solange commented.  My focus now revolves around me about me setting up my life with simplicity and structure for him, and this has allowed me to do that and sort of create my own lane.”

Follow Solange on Twitter at @solangeknowles