Matthew Knowles Breaks Down the ‘DNA’ of Success (On the “A” w/Souleo)

mathew-knowlesIn recent years, allegations of cheating on his former wife Tina Knowles Lawson, child support issues, mismanagement charges lobbed by former Destiny’s Child members and a reportedly estranged relationship with his superstar daughter, Beyoncé, have dominated much of the narrative around Mathew Knowles. But he is aiming to put the spotlight back on his professional achievements with the release of his book, The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals.

Before shopping demo tapes, Knowles was pitching office and medical equipment. After ten years in sales he transitioned into music and helped launch and guide the successful careers of Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé as a solo act. (His role managing the solo careers of fellow group members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams was short-lived.) But as a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” he’s applied his business acumen to various areas including film (executive producer of Obsessed), fashion (chief marketing officer of House of Dereon) and philanthropy (Knowles-Temenos Place Apartments).

Needless to say, Knowles just might know something about success, failure and resilience. He took time to break down what he considers to be three of the most important traits for success. Plus he named a few celebrities and one moment in history that he says puts those traits into perspective. Read on and see if you have the right “DNA.”


“This is the most important trait of all. You can’t have success in any aspect of your life unless you’re truly passionate about it. When we lead with our passion we don’t work a day in our life. Passionate people are energetic and exude that to others and motivate others just with their energy. I love basketball and Michael Jordan, to me, is extremely passionate about playing basketball. You can tell he had to work at it to be as good as he is. I even see passion in President Obama. It’s a tough job, but he is passionate about wanting to help people.”


“This is having an idea and taking that idea all the way to execution so that it becomes real. Part of that is making sure you thought this idea through and do not just run up to people, asking ‘What do you think?’ True visionaries think it through and then come to you and say, ‘This is what I need from you.’ Berry Gordy [Motown Records founder] is a true visionary. We have the 360 model now in music, but he was doing that years ago at Motown. He was grooming those artists, he had a production company that shared writers and producers, and he was the record label, manger, and worked in touring. He was doing it all.”

Learning from Failure or Mistakes

“We all make mistakes and all have failures, but that comes also from taking risks. Failure is an opportunity to grow and not a reason to quit. In America, the Vietnam War made us realize we had made a mistake. My brother was in Vietnam for two or three years. We had nontraditional warfare with soldiers on the ground and in trees utilizing kids and women in their warfare. After that, we learned we had to approach military warfare differently, which led to the [military] technology becoming more advanced.”


The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company, Souleo Enterprises, LLC.

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