They say that change can be a good thing. Just ask Kelly Rowland, a founding member of Destiny's Child, the top-selling female recording group of all-time, and a best-selling Grammy-winning solo artist in her own right.
By 2006, Destiny's Child had wrapped the group's "Destiny Fulfilled" farewell tour and Kelly Rowland -- who'd successfully debuted as a solo artist in 2002 with a global smash album, Simply Deep, and a chart-topping Grammy-winning hit single, "Dilemma" --decided to record her second solo album, a collection of new songs reflecting who she was and where she was going as a woman and as an artist.
The result, Ms. Kelly is the long-awaited successor to Rowland's best-selling 2002 solo debut album, Simply Deep, which has sold more than 2.5 copies worldwide, debut at ..1 in the UK and Australia. Simply Deep showcased the smash hit, "Dilemma," Kelly's duet with the rapper Nelly, which earned the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2003 and spent 10 weeks at ..1 on the Hot 100.
By 2005 and the release of Destiny Child's chart-topping ..1's album, Kelly could see that her creative impulses were heading in new directions and decided to express that joy and freedom on her latest album. "Yeah," Kelly says, radiating confidence, "I'm totally proud of what I initially worked on but the more I lived with it, the more I grew to realize that I wanted to really focus on where I am today. I said, 'Kelly. You're 25 years old! You like to party and you want your songs to be played in clubs.' I wanted to my new record to sound as young as I feel, so that's what I focused on."
The result is the eagerly-awaited Ms. Kelly. Featuring production from some of the most innovative names in the game -- including Polow Da Don, Sean Garrett, Tank, Scott Storch, Rockwilder, SoulShock and Karlin, and Billy Mann -- as well as guest appearances from Eve and Snoop Dogg, Ms. Kelly is 100% Kelly Rowland 2007: sexy, honest, playful, and passionate. "I really put my heart and soul into this record," she enthuses, "and not only am I excited that everyone's going to hear the music, I'm looking forward to people getting to hear the real me. That's the reason I called the album Ms. Kelly. Because the title is all about respect, being an adult and that's how I feel about my life, and my music. I know it's kind of a clich to say, but Ms. Kelly really is the album I was meant to make."
You can hear it on her jump-off single, "Like This," featuring Eve. Hip-shaking, bass- blessed and hot-wired with a sassy vibe, "Like This" sends a clear message to the fellas: don't mess with Ms. Kelly.
Cowritten by Kelly and Sean Garrett ("Ring The Alarm," "Yeah"), produced by Polow Da Don ("London Bridge") and featuring Eve, "Like This" kicks off Ms. Kelly with attitude, which was exactly what Kelly had in mind. "Destiny's Child had always had such great experiences with Sean," Kelly says. "So I thought, let me try him on my album. Polow already had this hot track. I loved the sound of the cowbell; it was so different! Sean and I started writing and he said, 'Kelly this is your first single' and it turned out he was right." Kelly took a break from recording the song and when she and Sean returned to the studio she had a flash of inspiration. "I just heard Eve on this song," she recalls. "I knew her energy belonged on the song and, just like that, it all came together. Then I knew: this was the single."
Ms. Kelly premieres the fab collaboration "Ghetto," produced by Tank and featuring Snoop Dogg. "'Ghetto' is about good girls who dig bad boys and it's one of my favorites," Kelly admits. "As soon as Tank played it, I knew and recorded it in an hour. 'Ghetto' is just so laid back and that's why I had to have Snoop. He just gives it that something. I like it when a song can make you feel good."
Although working with Snoop and Eve were dreams come true, Kelly wanted to keep the collaborations on her new album to a minimum. "I always get something when I collaborate," she says, "but this time I wanted to show more of myself."
That emotional honesty is evident on "This Is Love," the album's closing track. A mid-tempo coda to an otherwise upbeat collection, "This Is Love" is a song that Kelly's wanted to record ever since producer/co-writer Billy Mann played it for her years ago. Profoundly open in its perspective, showcasing one of Kelly's strongest vocal performances, "This Is Love" was originally written for a movie soundtrack. When the project fell through Kelly held on to the song. "The timing worked out perfectly because now it's on my album," she says happily. "I love the song. It feels timeless and it speaks about how to be open with love. Even when things go bad and you're hurt, you still have to be open and whenever it comes you'll know that this is love."
A founding member and vocal superstar in Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland proved a major contributing force to the group's record-breaking global popularity as Destiny's Child racked up sales of more than 100 million records worldwide while earning two Grammy Awards in the Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals category (2000: "Say My Name"; 2001: "Survivor").
Kelly's natural charm and charisma have opened up the doors to roles in movies and on television. Her big screen acting credits include starring roles in the 2003 horror blockbuster, "Freddy vs. Jason," and 2004's comedy-romance, "The Seat Filler," executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Among her television roles, she has appeared as "Carly" in three episodes of "The Hughleys" and as "Martha Reeves" (of Martha & the Vandellas) on "American Dreams." She has performed on "Saturday Night Live" and as a guest host on "The View."
Most recently, Kelly Rowland may be seen as celebrity spokesperson for the "Dark & Lovely" hair product line from Soft Sheen-Carson (consumer products division of L'Oreal USA, Inc.).
With her new album, Kelly Rowland is back with a collection of songs that show an artist at the top of her game, eager for what lies ahead and ready to embrace whatever comes her way.
"Writing and recording Ms. Kelly has definitely been a learning process," the young artist offers. "And I like that it was. I needed to prove something to myself: that I can make great music, stay true to who I am and, more importantly, be my own woman, in and out of the studio. Making Ms. Kelly made me grow up, in every aspect of my life."