Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy

Music Interview

Kelly Rowland

By
Kelly Rowland
Kelly Rowland's debut solo album, 2002's Simply Deep, was a huge success, topping the UK album charts and yielding the smash hit singles 'Stole' and 'Dilemma'. Five years later, after Destiny's Child had regrouped for one last album and tour, Rowland returned with Ms. Kelly, but the album's sales have hitherto proved disappointing. Is the Destiny's Child survivor feeling despondent? Hell no! Ms. Kelly is being primed for reissue as we read; she's got a collaboration with Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes on the way; and there's the small matter of 'Work', the most danceable, seductive single she's ever released. Does she really mean that stuff about "putting it in" and "going hard"? We gave her a call to find out.

'Work' is quite a change for you, isn't it?
"I guess... in what way?"

It's a little more... suggestive.
"Haha! Maybe just a little."

Is it a conscious attempt to show a more sexually confident side of yourself?
"Yes, just a little bit. I feel like I've grown up a lot, and I guess 'Work' is just a taste of me coming into my sensual side."

You're going to get more sensual than singing about "putting it in" and "going hard"?
"Haha maybe! You'll just have to wait and see. The main lyric about "putting it in" is definitely the one that's making people say 'What?!'"

The Freemasons have remixed 'Work' for its single release. Do you prefer their remix to the original album version?
"I love both versions, because they're both completely different. It's so amazing that the Freemasons were able to hear something completely different in a track I'd already done - I really admire their ear and their creativity."

Five years elapsed between Simply Deep, your debut solo album, and Ms. Kelly, your follow-up. Was that frustrating for you?
"I believe that everything happens for a reason, because in that time Destiny's Child did an album and a tour, and I was doing some TV too, so I was really busy in that time. I'm happy with the five-year gap: it allowed me to play around in the studio and grow as an artist."

Ms. Kelly is being reissued in March because it hasn't sold as well as your label hoped. How are you feeling about this?
"It was difficult at first, but then I realised that it wasn't my fault. The reason I say it wasn't my fault is that we live in a very different music industry right now. It's tough to sell records without having someone download it. Also, first time around, the label didn't see what I saw in the record. It took them a while to get it, but now everyone's on board and excited at the album, so I'm happy that everyone's on the same page this time around."

How does the new version differ from the re-release?
"Obviously some songs that were on the original album will be on the re-release, but there are some new tracks too. The Freemasons' version of 'Work' will be on there, as will 'Daylight', a Bobby Womack cover I've done with Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes."

How did that come about?
"It was actually a song we did for a soundtrack, and I liked it so much I wanted to have it on my album and release it as a single as well. I love doing collaborations - it's always good to do something that's out the box. I mean, nobody would ever have thought I'd so something with Travis McCoy."

Has it been difficult to step out as a solo star after being part of a group for so long?
"It's not hard, but when I first started out with Simply Deep I was terrified! The more you perform by yourself, do interviews by yourself and travel by yourself, the more you get used to it. In the group everyone focused on the three of us, as we did too, so it's nice to have this time to grow individually now."

Is your Destiny's Child history as much a curse as a blessing?
"I think when people expect us to do things with the same sound as Destiny's Child, well, it's not respectful of our personal growth. Of course we're all going to be compared to each other and to Destiny's Child, but that's fine. For someone to introduce Beyoncé, Michelle or I as "one third of the biggest-selling female group of all time" is quite an introduction - I'm always humbled by that. It's a great title to have!"

Has the success of the Spice Girls reunion given you any ideas?
"You know, myself and Michelle were actually watching something on the Spice Girls the other day. We looked at each other and said: 'Are you ready for that again?', and then we both said: 'You know what, we'll see what happens and wait just a little bit longer.' I think we're all allowing each other personal growth right now."

Are you all still in touch with each other?
"Oh, definitely. Michelle called me last night, but I haven't had chance to return her call yet, and I spoke to Beyoncé a couple of days ago. We all spend our birthdays together - we're friends and sisters above anything. If I'm feeling stressed or frustrated, I can call one of them and just totally vent, you know."

'Work' is out now on CD and download.

You May Like

More: Music