Destiny’s Child, also known as Girl’s Tyme, was a girl group whose final line-up comprised Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams. In 1990, this group started their career under the name Girl’s Tyme in Houston, Texas.
At first, the group had four girls, including LaTavia Roberson, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and LeToy Luckett. The quartet achieved limited success, after which in 1997, the group got signed with Columbia Records with a new name of Destiny’s Child.
Early Years of Destiny’s Child
After becoming a part of Columbia Records, Destiny’s Child released the first song that provided them the mainstream recognition, named ‘No, No, No.’ Soon after this, in 1999, they released their second album, The Writing’s on the Wall, which also became a best-seller. This album comprised all-time favorite singles, such as Say My Name and Bills, Bills, Bills.
Generally, the group was quite successful, but due to some internal conflicts and legal turmoil, Luckett and Roberson were replaced with Farrah Franklin and Michelle Williams. However, after five months, Franklin also left, and the final trio was left as Destiny’s Child.
In 2001, this trio released the third album named Survivor, which was later said to be about the group’s struggle over the past years. In the same year, the trio announced a hiatus to pursue solo careers. However, after two years, the trio reunited and released their fifth album, Destiny Fulfilled, in 2004. The album gained much spotlight and became another best-seller with the ever-green songs Soldier and Lose My Breath.
In 2006, the group announced its official disbandment. However, Rowland, Knowles, and Williams reunited a few times after disbanding.
Destiny’s Child and R&B
The Destiny’s Child was a girl group who focused on R&B songs – Rhythm and Blues is a term used for postwar African-American Pop Music. The R&B songs by Destiny’s Child encompassed contemporary, urban, and dance-pop.
It’s been more than a decade since Destiny’s Child disbanded; however, their impact on R&B is still intact. They changed the image of R&B forever, especially during the last years before their disbandment. Destiny’s Child was everywhere on Tumblr, as the Tumblr-hungry generation focused on each and every move, sound, and style that the trio made. Destiny’s Child changed the music for upcoming R&B music in several ways, and the effects are evident in today’s pop landscape too.
The Digital Themes of Their Songs
In 1999, Destiny’s Child released their song Have AOL make my emails stop, which generally covered the topic of internet loneliness. The song was the true representation of the post-internet generation; the lines of this song are even more relatable in this era of cyberstalking and pervasive social media.
Today, this same theme of digitalization and post-internet sadness is a major part of most R&B sounds. From Drake’s comments about Tumblr to Yung Lean, every R&Ber is somehow involved in discussing the internet, its hatred, and loneliness.
The Art of Tight Harmony
The art of tight harmony in R&B is closely related to Destiny’s Child. The group exemplified their harmonized vocal arrangements in their album Survivor. Each of the group members kept taking lead vocals while singing the songs of Survivor.
Indeed, the harmonies were first introduced by The Supremes and Janet Jackson, but it was Destiny’s Child who converted these harmonies into a millennium-friendly and fresh way. Even today, we can hear the harmonious singing in several R&B songs.
The Feminist Theme that Became the Mantra of the 2000s
Today, feminism is a very well-spoken topic. However, during the millennium era, it wasn’t much of a topic that had many supporters. Destiny’s Child was the one who talked about the third-wave feminist ideals and not relying on any man. The theme was quite prominent in their song Independent Women as the lyrics go.
“The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it. The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it. The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it. ‘Cause I depend on me if I want it.”
Before Independent Women, the song Bills, Bills, bills also had a taste of anti-feminism, which caused controversy, as the song was about a man who couldn’t pay his way into a relationship. However, the theme of feminism gave a new color to R&B, which still has its charm alive, like, just listen to Ariana Grande’s 7 Rings, Beyoncé’s Bow Down, and Jamila Wood’s Blk Girl Soldier.
The Legacy of Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child has always been one of the most iconic girl groups of all time; along with that, the group is also referred to as an icon of R&B. With selling over 60 million albums worldwide, the group indeed placed the stakes very high for next groups. Even after disbanding, Destiny’s Child left the legacy of being the best-selling girl group in the history of R&B music.
According to Billboard, the definition of Destiny’s Child was the combination of killer dance moves, feisty female empowerment anthems, and enviable fashion sense.
In 2015, Daisy Jones published an article in which she discussed the impact of Destiny’s Child on R&B. She talked about how Destiny’s Child had such a strong impact on R&B that it has changed since the day they debuted. She also said that we all can see the influence of Destiny’s Child all over the pop landscape.
The final line-up of the group became the most perfect of all the earlier line-ups. According to Billboard, they will always stay as one of the greatest trios in music history. Their song Bootylicious became so famous that the song’s title was turned into an actual slang word. The song Bootylicious got listed in VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Songs of the 00s, while Destiny’s Child itself was placed in the 100 Greatest Women in Music. Their song Independent Women holds the acknowledgment of Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest-running number-one song by a girl group on top 100.
Destiny’s Child holds a very significant place in the history of R&B. Singers like Rihanna, Fifth Harmony, Meghan Trainor, Katy B, Jess Glynne, Little Mix, RichGirl, and Haim are said to be inspired and influenced by the world-famous girl group. While Ariana Grande considers Destiny’s Child as her vocal inspiration. According to her, she discovered her own range and learned the harmonies while listening to them.
Meghan Trainor says her 2018 song No by Destiny’s Child of the late 90s and early 00s. Other singers like Britney Spears and Fifth harmony have also cited Destiny’s Child several times, as they also got much inspiration through their songs.
Destiny’s Child may seem like just another girl group to some people, but it was somewhat a historical era of music in which a large chunk, i.e., R&B, was changed completely. Today, we often forget that the R&B songs we listen to are nothing like they used to be before the advent of Destiny’s Child. However, all the members of the final line-up went off for their solo careers; the short time they spent together while creating amazing music will always be remembered.