Mathew Knowles is the founder, President and CEO of Music World Entertainment (MWE), which has 0ffices in Houston and New York City. MWE is one of the world’s leading music and entertainment conglomerates, with record sales exceeding 300 million worldwide. The company has experienced tremendous growth and extraordinary success over the past two decades. Its worldwide platforms include successful record label ventures; management services for recording artists and producers; artist development services; endorsement and partnership deals, performance and event facilities; a master catalog series; film and television ventures; licensed merchandise products; philanthropic work; and investment and property holdings. Knowles established several recording imprints under Music World Music, including Music World Gospel, Music World Kids and Music World Country/Compadre. Music World Music has had an unprecedented impact on music around the globe through its GRAMMY® Award-winning artists, legendary entertainers and music icons, top catalogue compilations and celebrated soundtracks.
Before Knowles became a star-maker and music business innovator, he had a distinguished career in sales of office and medical equipment. Knowles moved to Houston in 1976 and began working for the Xerox Corporation, where he had highly successful 10-year tenure, primarily as part of an elite sales force in the medical systems sales division. Knowles was the number one sales representative for medical systems for three of the four years worldwide where he worked in that division.
When Xerox closed its medical systems sales division, Knowles worked as a CT/MRI specialist, selling diagnostic imaging equipment to hospitals and health facilities, for two other major medical equipment companies. He also worked as a neurosurgical specialist, where he provided neurosurgeons with a wide range of devices and solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. In 1992, Knowles left his career in corporate and medical sales to turn his attention full time to his growing music company.
Knowles is widely recognized in the entertainment industry for his effective approach to developing and promoting award-winning artists. Through Music World Entertainment and Artist Management, he has served as executive producer for more than 100 award-winning, platinum and gold albums in multiple genres, including pop, R&B, gospel, dance, and country, as well as soundtracks and special themed projects. Under Music World Artist Management, Destiny’s Child became a global phenomenon and in 2004 the group embarked on a historic worldwide tour, “Destiny Fulfilled…And Loving It…” which hit 16 countries and more than 75 cities around the world. The tour was one of 5 major worldwide tours. Shortly thereafter Destiny’s Child was named the Best Selling Female Group of All Time in popular music, selling over 100 million records and collecting nearly 200 awards, including GRAMMY Awards, World Music Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Awards (U.S., Europe and Asia), Billboard Awards, BET Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and countless others. Billboard magazine ranked the group as one of the Greatest Trios of All Time and, in 2008, inducted them into the All Time Hot 100 Artists. Under Knowles’s guidance, both Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé experienced spectacular success during the decade between 2000 and 2009. Destiny’s Child was named on Billboard magazine’s Top 10 Artists of the Decade (2000- 2009) and, as a solo artist, Beyoncé was crowned Billboard’s number one Artist of the Decade—Female (2000-2009) and number 4 Top Artist of the Decade (2000-2009). During that time, Knowles also successfully launched and managed the solo careers of the members of Destiny’s Child: Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, who have all had unprecedented international success.
In 2004, Knowles managed the solo career of Beyoncé and solidified her first solo tour for the first time as a solo artist and in support of her #1 multi-platinum debut solo album, Dangerously In Love which earned her five Grammy Awards that year including Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best R&B Song for “Crazy In Love” featuring Jay-Z. With her five-in-one-year Grammy win, Beyoncé tied the record for the most Grammy’s to be won in a single year by a female artist; and in 2007 Beyoncé embarked on the tour of the year, “The Beyoncé Experience” which showcased the international music and film star, along with her sizzling all-female band. In 2009 the “I AM…” World Tour opened in Canada in March 2009 and took Beyoncé to over 100 cities around the world. She performed to sold-out crowds on every continent, including her biggest live solo concert audience ever in Sặo Paulo, Brazil, where 60,000 fans attended the show on February 6, 2010 at Morumbi Stadium. Billboard Magazine named the “I AM” World Tour, which was one of 4 major worldwide tours, the #1 concert attraction of 2009.
As an international business leader, Knowles also established joint ventures with Sony Music, Interscope/Geffen, Fontana/Universal, Integrity Africa, Fontana International and Sony Brazil. In addition, Knowles has negotiated mega endorsement deals and strategic partnerships with Fortune 50, 100 and 500 corporations across various industries, including Wal-Mart, AOL, BET, The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, ESSENCE Communications, American Express, L’Oreal, General Mills, Verizon, Pepsico (Pepsi), McDonald’s, Nintendo, Giorgio Armani (Emporio Armani Diamonds), DirecTV, Chesebrough-Ponds (Vaseline), Ocean Pacific, Soft Sheen-Carson, Crystal Geyser, Samantha Thavasa and others.
In 2002, Knowles founded Spirit Rising Music, which is now Music World Gospel, as a faith-based record and management company under Music World Music. Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, Music World Gospel is the largest owned and operated African American Gospel label in the world. Music World Gospel features a roster of award-winning recording artists, joint ventures and special projects including Trin-i-tee 5:7, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Juanita Bynum, Le’Andria Johnson, Amber Bullock, Andrea Helms, and Elder Goldwire, as well as ESSENCE Gospel, Ultimate Gospel, the Most Powerful Voices, The Gospel Superfest, Spirit Rising and The Pastor Rudy Experience brand compilations CDs. In 2007, through Music World Music, Knowles acquired the country music catalogue of Compadre, which includes recordings of GRAMMY award winning artists and unique country music compilations featuring artists such as country singer and cultural icon Johnny Cash, as well as Billy Joe Shaver, James McMurty, Trent Willmon and Kate Campbell, among others. Knowles also launched the family oriented music imprint, Music World Kids. The label has released youth projects that include: Baby Jamz, Krazy Kuzins, Kid’s Rap Radio and the Music World Kids CD 5-pack. The venture also has released music from Nickelodeon’s popular cartoon series, Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!
Music World Music has received recognition and accolades within the industry for its astounding success. It was crowned one of the Top Imprint Labels of the Decade (2000-2009) by Billboard magazine. With hits across the music landscape—from Top 40, to R&B, to hip hop, to gospel, Music World Music was also named the #1 Dance Imprint Label in the world by Billboard magazine 2009.
Knowles’ successful track record has expanded to include film. He is executive producer of the #1 box office hit, Obsessed. He has also ventured into television. Knowles executive produced and is featured in two international reality series: UK’s #1 rated show, Chancers, and the new series Breaking From Above, a six-episode program based on the British girl group From Above and their struggles to stay on top. The series airs on MTV International and can be viewed in over 160 countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Asia, Portugal, Greece, Poland, and Latin America. The group, which came to Knowles’ attention when they performed as the opening act on Beyoncé 2009 “I Am…” Tour in the UK, was signed by Knowles to Music World Artist Management and Music World Music. From Above’s debut CD, Breaking From Above, was released internationally in December 2011.
In 2005 the female apparel, House of Dereon was founded by Tina and Beyonce’ Knowles. As Chief Marketing Officer, Knowles’ role meant building the House of Dereon brand, which he built into a worldwide success.
Knowles’ understood the power of the brand and marketed it by focusing on the three generations, Agnes Dereon who was a prominent seamstress in the early to mid 50’s in the heyday of Galveston, Texas before the great hurricane. Tina, the youngest of 6, was always drawn to anything creative and learned all that she could from her mother. Beyonce’, well do we have to say more? From those three generations of creative empowering women was created. The tag line, House of Dereon: Couture, Kick, Soul, with Tina as head designer and couture, Beyonce’ the kick and the face of the brand and Agnes the soul of the brand.
Philanthropy has always been part of Music World Entertainment’s corporate responsibility and has always been important to Mathew Knowles. Along with Tina Knowles, and daughters, Beyoncé and Solange, he established the “Survivor Foundation,” “The Knowles Rowland Center” and the “Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments” (St. Johns Church, Downtown Houston), an apartment complex for homeless individuals that provides affordable housing, supportive services, and employment resources to people who are on their journey to self-sufficiency. The Knowles also built two homes in Houston for Habitat for Humanity. In addition, the family has donated to numerous non-profit organizations throughout the world.
Knowles has garnered countless awards for his achievements in business, the music industry, and community partnerships. He is the winner of an MTV Video Music Award. He is the recipient of the Century Award of Excellence (1911-2011) from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He also received the 2011 Living Legends Foundation Award. He was named the “2007 International Executive of the Year” by the Greater Houston Partnership, and was honored by the City of Houston with the declaration of “Mathew Knowles Day.”
Knowles is an active and longtime voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and serves on its GRAMMY Board Committee. In 2011, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Gospel Music Association.
Born in Gadsden, Alabama, in 1952, Knowles is a 1974 graduate of Fisk University, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He was bestowed with the honor of Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater at the University’s 2008 Commencement Ceremony. Knowles holds a professorship at Texas Southern University, where he teaches a course on the entertainment industry in the School of Communications and also a course in The School of Business. He also has been a popular keynote speaker and guest lecturer at colleges, universities and various organizations throughout the country, including Rice University, University of Southern California, Berklee College of Music, The Learning Annex, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Billboard Music & Money Symposium, The Power of Diversity Leadership Panel Discussion, and numerous others. Additionally, Knowles as a real estate developer, has projects in St. Louis, Atlanta, and Houston.