Over the years, Beyonce has continually pushed her music and style in new directions.

The ever-evolving singer superstar is now set to embark on a new era with the release of Cowboy Carter, her country-inspired album.

Ahead of its release on Friday, here is a look at her evolution over her career.

– Destiny’s Child

After growing up singing as a child, Beyonce first rose to fame with R&B girl group Destiny’s Child in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Following a number of line-up and name changes, the group’s final form consisted of Beyonce alongside Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.

With hits like Survivor, Say My Name and Bootylicious, they became one of the best-selling female musical groups of all time and a symbol of empowerment for women worldwide.

Destinys Child, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Beyonce Knowles (Anthony Harvey/PA)

They released five albums together between 1998 and 2004 before the group went their separate ways.

– Going Solo

Beyonce’s first solo recording was a feature on future husband Jay-Z’s song ’03 Bonnie & Clyde, but it was with the release of Crazy In Love in 2003 that her solo career began in earnest.

The track, another collaboration with Jay-Z, was an international hit, reaching number one in both the UK and US.

Her debut album, Dangerously In Love, followed suit and topped the charts around the world, and Beyonce was soon a pop phenomenon.

– Her partnership with Jay-Z

Disney’s The Lion King European Premiere – London
Jay-Z and Beyonce (Ian West/PA)

After working together on ’03 Bonnie & Clyde, Beyonce began dating rapper and Def Jam Recordings chief executive Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

They married in secret in New York City in 2008 and have three children – daughter Blue Ivy, 12, and six-year-old twins Rumi and Sir.

Outside their romance, the pair have continued to inspire each other’s work and have collaborated on a host of tracks, including Deja Vu and Drunk In Love.

In 2018, they released a joint album together, titled Everything Is Love, under the moniker The Carters, which contained the hit track Apeshit.

– Sasha Fierce

Beyonce’s third album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, formerly introduced her alter ego to the world.

“Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken side and more glamorous side that comes out when I’m working and when I’m on the stage”, the singer said in a statement at the time.

“I have someone else that takes over when it’s time for me to work and when I’m onstage, this alter ego that I’ve created kind of protects me and who I really am.”

Brit Awards 2014 – Show – London
Beyonce on stage during the 2014 Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London (Yui Mok/PA)

The album featured some of her biggest known ballads like If I Were a Boy and Halo, cementing her position as a vocal powerhouse.

It also contained the smash hit Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) which explores men’s unwillingness to commit to a relationship.

The music video created a viral moment and sparked a dance craze, with fans and famous faces across the world copying her dance moves, including Justin Timberlake who parodied them on Saturday Night Live.

– Mrs Carter

The pop superstar embarked on her fifth concert tour, titled The Mrs Carter Show, in 2013 and 2014 following on from her fourth studio album 4 and self-titled fifth studio album.

Opulence and power were the central themes with the singer portraying herself as royalty on the tour posters.

– Lemonade

Beyonce set hearts racing in 2016 when she surprised her fans by releasing her emotion-fuelled, tell-all album Lemonade in 2016.

MTV Video Music Awards 2016 – Arrivals – New York
Beyonce (PA)

Across its 13 tracks, she explored black empowerment, female identity and hinted at her husband Jay Z’s infidelities.

She also prompted wild speculation over the identity of who the woman in question – “Becky with the good hair” – could be.

It was accompanied by a 65-minute film of the same title and went to number one in many countries across the world, including on both sides of the Atlantic.

– Renaissance

The dancefloor-focused album was eagerly anticipated when it dropped in 2022 as it was her first full-length solo album since 2016’s Lemonade.

The Renaissance world tour
Beyonce performing during her Renaissance world tour at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Mason Poole/Live Nation/PA)

The sprawling 16-track record featured contributions from her husband Jay-Z, Drake, producer Skrillex and The-Dream and explored the black and LGBT roots of dance music.

Across the tracks, which move between house, disco, Afrobeats and R&B, she paid tribute to the community from which house and techno emerged in the 1980s, and features trangender DJ Honey Dijon and lesbian R&B star Syd.

Dubbed Act I, it was the first of Beyonce’s trilogy which she wrote and recorded amid a particularly creative period during the height of the Covid pandemic.

She later embarked on a mega world tour for the album, dazzling fans across the world with her slick dance moves, powerful vocals and extravagant outfits.

In December, she released a film which chronicles her world tour and offered behind-the-scenes footage of her with her husband Jay-Z and children.

– Cowboy Carter

The country-inspired Act II was preceded by two hit singles – Texas Hold ’Em and 16 Carriages – which dropped on the day of the Super Bowl.

Following their success, the Texas-born star became the first black woman to top Billboard’s country music chart last month with Texas Hold ‘Em and she topped the UK singles charts for the first time in almost 14 years.

The eighth studio album from the US pop star features duets with Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, covers of Dolly Parton’s Jolene and The Beatles classic Blackbird, while country singers Willie Nelson and Linda Martell also star.

Reflecting on the album’s origin, the singer revealed it was born from an experience where she “did not feel welcome”, which inspired her to do a deep dive into the history of country music.