KELLY ROWLAND: SINGLE BLACK FEMALE
B&S caught up with the singer to talk about her new album, amidst a hectic photoshoot, where even a thousand costume changes still couldn't halt her continual smile.
“I'm so excited about this album. I've worked so hard on it, and for that it's everything I wanted it to be.” The album in question is in fact a full remake of one that was originally slated for last Summer but never made it. It seems like a lot of hard work went to waste. What happened?
“I just felt like it wasn't ready," she explains, "and I thought my last album was rushed, so I didn't want to make that mistake again. Because 'Dilemma' was such a huge success, my label was so excited about putting that out, so I was thrown in the studio to rush an album within 2/3 weeks. But we learn from our mistakes. And I did. So I took my time with this album. It's my baby.”
“I was focussing mainly on the beats for this album, and making sure my voice could be really melodic over it. I pulled in Scott Storch, Polo Da Don (who did the first single 'Like This' featuring Eve), Soulshock and Karlin, and some new producers out of LA called Kenny and Charlie who are real fly and different.”
Snoop is on the second single, 'Ghetto', a collaboration Kelly has awaited anxiously. “Ever since he did 'Doggystyle', I was like, 'I wanna work with Snoooop,” she laughs. “He's the King of Cool, so I was honoured when he said yes to do the record. It was like a dream come true.”
The Knowles family is represented on Kelly's set, too. Not Beyonce but a songwriting contribution from her younger sister, Solange. Kelly smiles with a clear fondness that shows she also sees the emerging starlet as something of a sister of her own. “She wrote an amazing, beautiful track called 'Love'. Solange is so independent. I admire her on so many different levels - as a woman, a mother now, and as an artist, so I'm extremely proud of her.”
Kelly seems to have adapted to being on her own during her solo project, despite missing Beyonce and Michelle. “I miss the companionship of travelling with the girls," she reveals. "We always had the best times travelling together, cracking jokes and everything, but when you do go off on your own it pushes you to grow a little bit more. Growing and changing is good for everybody, it doesn't matter what industry you're in.”
This has clearly been a beneficial learning experience for Ms. Kelly.
“I think it keeps you on our toes. You definitely 'look after your hiney' as we would say back at home" she giggles.
Matthew Knowles, (Beyonce's father and mentor of Destiny's Child,) recently chaired a reality TV show for new talent, revealing the stern, no-nonsense work ethic that first brought Destiny's Child to the world. Did this spark off memories of those early, hard-working days? “Definitely,” she nods with a smirk. “the rehearsals, the training,” she sighs jokingly. “But it makes you a better artist. I actually appeared on the show to help one of the girls. It was great. It gives people an insight into what's going on in the music industry and how it's not always easy getting to the top. I think it actually made some people stop and think, 'do I really want this? 'Cause it's a lot of work and you have to have a passion for it.”
It's well-known that Destiny's Child were very young when their world first blew up with 'No No No'. The rest, as they say, is history. Is there any sense that they might all have been a little too young to handle such momentous fame? If they had their time again would Kelly opt to wait awhile? “No, I don't feel like it came too early," she responds assuredly. "It took us 6 years to get a record deal, and I'm happy at the way everything turned out.”
When asked if things are still cool with the original 2 members, Kelly leaves the impression that they don't all exactly meet up at the mall every other weekend for a coffee and a catch-up. “LeToya came out with an amazing album and I'm very proud of her. She also has a store, 'Lady Ill' in Houston. I've also heard that LaTavia is a songwriter, which is great."
She is, however, in touch with Beyonce and Michelle on an every day basis and Kelly's eyes light up when talking about them. “Michelle is great!” she yelps excitedly. “She's getting ready for her opening night of The Colour Purple' in Chicago, which I'm going to. I can't wait. Beyonce is in Australia right now, I talked to her yesterday and I'll see her this Friday in Germany.”
No matter how much they say that Destiny's Child are no more, it is hard to believe there will be no re-union. "Well, anything could happen" Kelly chuckles. "If Destiny's Child were to do another album again, I would want Europe to have it first. You guys have been so supportive towards Destiny's Child, the UK especially. Some of our fondest memories are from the UK so we will let y'all know first!"
YOU CAN READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH KELLY IN THE NEW ISSUE OF B&S 995 - ON THE STREETS NOW!
The single 'Like This' featuring Eve is out on June 11.
The album, 'Ms. Kelly', on June 25.
Words Joanna Chaundy