23 July 1980 (age 38)
Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois, United States
1 Tenitra Michelle Williams (born July 23, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Her work has earned her several awards and accolades including a Grammy Award and star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Destiny's Child, a solo MOBO Award, and solo nominations in the Stellar Awards and NAACP Theatre Awards. She has also been honored by the American Society of Culture Critics for her contributions to music and theater.
Williams rose to noteriety when she joined Destiny's Child, one of the most successful female groups of all time with whom she earned a Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for single "Survivor".
Raised in a Christian family, Williams learned to sing in her church's choir. She later sang in a musical quartet called United Harmony alongside sister Cameron. After attending Auburn High School and being a part of the C.A.P.A (Creative And Performing Arts) program there, she pursued a degree in criminal justice at Illinois State University before leaving to pursue a career in music. Whilst touring as a backing vocalist for R&B star Monica, the opportunity arose for Williams to join Destiny's Child in 2000.
After the release and promotion of the grammy-nominated Destiny's Child album Survivor, Williams became the first member to release a solo studio album in 2002. Her debut, Heart To Yours , shot up to #1 on the Billboard Gospel Chart, where it spent a total of 46 weeks and also peaked within the top 20 of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums before being listed at #6 on the year-end Gospel Albums chart. Also a critical success, the album won Williams an award for "Best Gospel Act" at the 2003 MOBO Awards. Billboard ranked Williams as the #5 Top Gospel Artist of 2002. Williams then made her acting debut in the Broadway hit, Aida, replacing R&B singer Toni Braxton; making her the first and only member of Destiny's Child to appear on Broadway.
Following the success of her debut, Michelle released her sophomore album, entitled Do You Know, in 2004 which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, #2 on the Billboard Gospel Chart and was well received by critics who lent particular praise to her songwriting ability.
In 2006, she made her television debut in the UPN comedy Half & Half, where she played the role of Naomi. In 2007, Williams returned to theatre, starring in the first US national tour of The Colour Purple alongside LaToya London and Stephanie St. James, which earned her a nomination for "Best Lead Female Actress" at the 18th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards.
Williams released her third (and first commercial pop) album, Unexpected in 2008. The highly-anticipated and critically-acclaimed pop debut features singles; "We Break The Dawn" which peaked at #47 in the UK, #38 in Hungary and #4 on the US Dance chart; "The Greatest", which topped the US Billboard Dance chart; and "Hello Heartbreak". In 2009, "The Greatest" was listed at #39 on the decade-end, 2000-2009 Billboard Dance chart, one place behind "Lose My Breath" which Williams released as a member of Destiny's Child.
In 2009 she starred in the hit West-End production of Chicago, making her the first African-American to be cast in the lead role. The following year she replaced Ashlee Simpson in the Broadway production of the legendary musical before beginning an engagement at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. She further pursued acting in 2011, originating the lead role of Lena Summer in David E. Talbert's What My Husband Doesn't Know, which was released on DVD the same year.
In 2011, Williams released a collaboration with dance artist Ultra Naté titled "Waiting on You" which became her third top 20 entry on the US Billboard Dance chart where it peaked at #11.
In 2012, it was announced Williams had signed with Light Records/eOne. In 2013, Williams joined the US national tour of three-time Tony Award-winning musical Fela! and reunited with Destiny's Child at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show.
In 2013, it was announced that Williams will star in her own reality show titled My Sister's Keeper, produced by eOne, to coincide with the release of her fourth solo album.
2 The actress Michelle Ingrid Williams (Marilyn Monroe ) features on the soundtrack of the film My Week with Marilyn singing It's a Wrap, I found a Dream, That Old Black Magic and a medley of 'When love goes wrong, Nothin' Goes Right' & 'Heat Wave'.
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