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Solange Knowles: In A Class Of Her Own

By Melissa Castellanos

Beyoncé Knowles' 21-year-old sister Solange Knowles isn't an amateur in the music biz whatsoever. The young talent says that she and her sister are completely different when it comes to music.

"I think all artists have a different story to tell and no story is the same," Solange told The Showbuzz. "Our music is completely different. I think I would describe it as 60s and 70s soul music, so it is definitely not something that you really hear. I don't try to focus so much on defining how I am different (from Beyoncé), I just focus on myself as an artist and the message that I have with my music is the story that I can only tell. That's definitely mine and mine alone."

Having performed alongside Beyoncé since she was a little girl - a star known for her tremendous stage presence and confidence, comparable to that of legendary Tina Turner - it's no doubt that Solange has learned from one of the best.

Photos: Sister Act
Instead of being a back-up singer, Solange has stepped up front and center and into the spotlight the past few years and is now promoting her upcoming album, "SoL - AngeL & The Hadley Street Dreams."

The album's title refers to Hadley Street, where her father, Mathew Knowles, set up his Music World headquarters on a piece of land he purchased in one of the worst parts of Houston.

Though her father endured some hardships along the way, he ultimately made his dream come true. Today the Music World compound is located in one of the wealthiest areas of Houston. Solange spent a good portion of her childhood there where her father built a studio for her and Beyonce to record their music.

Photos: Beyoncé
Mathew Knowles has a dual role of father and manger. Despite the paternal tie, Solange said that she has "more creative control" of her music, which may not come easy with another manager.

"He knows me the best; he knows what I stand for and he fights for exactly what I want, and I know that it comes from an organic place… it's a good partnership," Solange revealed.

Although "SoL - AngeL & The Hadley Street Dreams," which infuses electronic beats and Motown sounds will be released at the end of August, fans can catch her music on the Web.

Solange's first single "I Decided" along with "Champagne Chronic Nightcap" and "White Picket Dreams" are available on Solange's MySpace page. She also co-wrote R&B singer Teairra Mari's second album.

Solange has been influenced by various artists across the board, such as Zero 7, Knarls Barkley, Fiest, John Legend, Bilal, Earth Wind and Fire, and Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. She has collaborated with Knarls Barkley, Bilal, Pharrell and Q-Tip.

"The vibe of that music was so impactful for me because it was so uplifting. The music was very happy, but they had messages in them," Solange said. "So, I started writing songs, not for anyone in particular …and that kind of evolved into my album. It definitely tells a story from beginning to end about the last few years. A lot of people don't know me as an artist. They get bits and pieces, so the album is a way to express my story."

Recently, Solange appeared in Beyoncé's music video, "Get Me Bodied", which she co-wrote. The music video is about girlfriends going out and having fun and also features "Destiny's Child's" Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.
Solange also appeared in Destiny's Child's "Soldier" music video when she was pregnant with her son Daniel Julez, who is now 3.

"I was actually due the day that "Soldier" was shot," Solange said.

Her "Soldier" music video appearance was a complete surprise. Her family convinced her to get out of the house instead of sitting around waiting to go into labor.

The Knowles family is oozing talent in every field it seems.

Solange and Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles has raised many eyebrows in the fashion world with her unique, one-of-a-kind fashion sense. Her flair for designing came from her mother, seamstress Agnéz Deréon. Tina designed costumes for "Destiny's Child" when they first started out when funds were low and then everyone began taking notice of her talent.

Today, Tina Knowles and Beyoncé have teamed up to create House of Dereon, a clothing, footwear and handbag line. Solange is the spokesmodel for Dereon, the juniors line of House of Dereon.

As a mother, Solange was inspired to create a children's toy company line called "Baby Jams," which she pitched to Wal-Mart.

Needless to say, Solange, like her family, dabbles in a lot of different things and for a 21-year-old mother/singer/actress that can be a lot to handle.

"It's (being a mother) just changed my whole life, Solange admitted. "Definitely in my career I have to learn how to say no to a lot to things. He comes first and foremost. I just try to balance everything to the best of my abilities. Because at the end of the day when all of this is done, I am going to be remembered as a mother."

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