It has been nearly five years since the release of Kelly Rowland’s first album Simply Deep, now she's returning with the heat on her second solo album Ms. Kelly. One third of Destiny’s Child, one of the biggest girl groups of all time, Rowland knows what it means to achieve incalculable success—the kid is no rookie. MF chatted up a confident Kelly Rowland about her new album, and making healthy synonymous with sexy.
MF: This album is years in the making. Describe the journey of releasing this second album.
Kelly: Exciting, anxious, a lot of growth took place—confidence. I definitely feel like I gained a lot of confidence with this record and creativity. I actually took risks and I wanted to do the things I’ve never done before, or I was possibly afraid to do. I just did it, I think that Nike said it best when the said, “Just do it.” When you just do it great results come out.
Your first album was more R&B/alternative rock. This album is more straight R&B—what made you change musical directions?
I just felt the need for a thump with this record. I felt the need to be a little more sassy as far as sound was concerned and I did that. I felt like R&B, I wanted to do it.
You seem to have this sex appeal that wasn’t in your first album or Destiny's Child. Where did this new sexiness come from?
I don’t even think it’s so much sexiness, I think that it’s more so confidence what everybody sees. It’s just me coming into my own, not only that but being comfortable in my skin. Not that I wasn’t so much but I just think that the older you get, you change, you mature. Different feelings and characteristics start to unveil themselves and I guess confidence was definitely one of them.
Do feel pressure to sell a certain amount of records?
I would like to sell records the way basically the music industry used to sell records as a whole. I think everybody feels the pressure of selling records now just because music is at a very different place right now. A lot of kids are doing a lot of downloads, music is basically being sold or they’re stealing it. So, of course you want to sell records—I’d like to sell a lot of records though, I think that it’s definitely possible though.
How you feel about the way the music industry has changed since when you came out in the ‘90’s—it’s almost a different business now.
It is a different business now. I have a great label and great management that I’m thinking of different ways for us to reach out basically to my audience, or my fans, to where we are all on the same page. We can basically still sell records and it feels more personal. I think that’s what kids like—think about artists like Cassie, the fans want to feel like they made that artist. To me, I think that’s really important to have the fans involved in everything that I do. Picking the next single, or whatever it is, I just try to figure out different ways to get closer. I go on MySpace, I check all my different emails, myself as well as the company I work with helps me come up with different things. I think that it’s more so really getting to know the fans personally.
Obviously there is some heavy scrutiny on you being part of one of the biggest girl groups in the world. At this point in your career does being a former member of Destiny's Child help you or hurt you?
I feel like it helps me above anything. Destiny’s child is in my blood and it will forever be in myself, Michelle’s and Beyonce’s blood. I think a lot of people are going to compare us. A lot of people are going to compare us to what possibly happened ten years ago. Nothing but great things has come out of Destiny’s Child. I don’t listen to what everybody else says.
Some of your fans are upset how the album has been pushed back more than a few times. Was that your decision or did it have to do with management?
That was my decision because I felt the album wasn’t ready. I wouldn’t want to give them an album that I felt was not complete and I hope they wouldn’t want me to put out an album that sounded incomplete. I couldn’t do that to them, not as supportive they’ve been on this record.
Who is in your Ipod?
Who I’m listening to right now is a lot of Robin Thicke, Marvin Gaye and Sade.
What's your biggest aspirations you haven’t achieved?
It’s so many. I’ll tell one that has nothing to do with the music industry or business, which is just my own family. To be a wife and a mother.
I can only imagine you have an intense schedule - how do you stay healthy?
I exercise, I try to eat healthy, I try to get as much rest as I can and I drink a lot of water.
What’s your workout regimen?
Between cardio and a lot of weights. I do like thirty minutes of cardio and I like to lift weights. I’m actually trying to build my legs up so I lift heavy weights.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Still of course doing music. I’d love to do more movies, more TV. I actually want to study child psychology, pick up a different language and create my own scent. Get married, have a kid—at least one, you said ten years! [Laughs]
Kelly Rowland’s new album Ms. Kelly is in stores July 3rd. Clay Cane is the creator of the urban pop culture site http://www.claycane.net.