Destiny’s Child was one of the hottest musical groups, from the end of the 1990s to 2005. After numerous lineup changes, founding members Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland along with Michelle Williams toured the world, putting their stamp on music history. Their major hits included Independent Women, Bootylicious, and Survivor. Today, they remain one of the top selling, female groups of all time.
In 2005, Destiny’s Child officially went their separate ways. Since then, Beyonce Knowles’ solo career has led her to super-stardom. Lesser known, but certainly no less talented, is Kelly Rowland.
After the group separated, Kelly Rowland found herself for the first time with a performing career that required her to stand on her own two feet. Reflecting on that process, it was something she was quite nervous about.
Nervous or not, Rowland’s talent and drive won the day. Whether it was putting out her recent album Ms. Kelly or traveling to Europe where she found inspiration to record a chart topper dance flick When Love Takes Over, Kelly found her own identity.
Other changes took place in her life, besides her solo career. Recently, Kelly parted ways with longtime manager Matthew Knowles, Beyonce’s father. It was a tough decision, but she came to the conclusion that she just wasn’t growing anymore. She does, however, remain close with the Knowles family. Currently, Kelly is shopping for a new label.
As if the challenge of establishing a solo career wasn’t enough, online gossip surfaced in recent months that Rowland’s Miami home was in foreclosure. Kelly tells me she is financially stable and that she originally put the house on the market because she thought it was too big for her. Later, she decided to take the house off the market concluding it is a place she can continue to grow into. The house, by the way, was never in foreclosure.
So what’s next for Kelly Rowland? She’s hosting a new program on Bravo titled The Fashion Show. By her own admission, she never saw herself hosting this kind of program. While shooting the project, she came to truly enjoy the hosting gig. She also learned more about fashion, which she says is consistent with her interests.
Speaking with Ms. Rowland, you can tell she is happy for her fellow group-mates Beyonce – who has journeyed into wifehood – and Michelle – who is preparing for her role in the play Chicago, in London. You can sense Kelly is enjoying life, including being single. She says marriage is off in the distance, unless Prince Charming comes along.
Ms. Rowland is deciding her destiny now more than ever. In that sense, she is its truest child.
Listen to the entire Kelly Rowland CYInterview:
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Chris Yandek: You recently visited a young girl in a hospital that’s battling leukemia and she needed a bone marrow transplant and so you went in there, helped spread awareness. Is that what it’s really all about when you can make a difference in someone’s life?
Kelly Rowland: “It honestly is because of the fact that you know, I feel like if we’re blessed enough to be given talent, to be given an opportunity, then why not take that opportunity and make it for someone’s betterment you know? Especially with a young girl like Jasmina, who is a baby, she hasn’t even lived life yet. I think it’s worth a shot you know, at least trying to reach out to different people, and seeing if she can have a better life, a more healthy life, a life where she can see the age of 12, where she can see the age of 20. If I can help that and get other people involved then so be it.”
CY: You were just over in the U.K. a few weeks ago at the BBC Radio 1 weekend event. What is it about certain artists like you that have such a big fan base in Europe besides your appeal in the United States of America?
KR: “You know what? I think it’s really about staying over there and actually getting a chance to understand the market and almost making those places feel like your home as well. I know that’s one thing I learned with Destiny’s Child is like we spent so much time abroad. We would stay in Japan for two and three weeks at a time and we’d go to Europe and stay there for two months. It’s just about really trying to understand the market and appreciate it, appreciate the culture, appreciate there and understand the fans as well.”
CY: Well, I know that you always had music aspirations and you showed them in the reality show Clash of The Choirs in 2007, but did you think you’d ever get involved in a show that didn’t have anything to do with music like The Fashion Show when it comes to reality television?
KR: “I didn’t. Hosting The Fashion Show is hosting basically so it’s something different for me that I was actually to be quite honest with you, a little nervous about. Of course you have like little shindigs you host at your party, but here is a television show that everybody wants to be a number one hit. You want to make sure that you do everything in your possible nature to make sure that it is a great success, but it was fun.
I had a great time and Isaac [Mizrahi] is fantastic. You just pick up so many tips from whether it’s Isaac or Fern Mallis or the designer that’s visiting that week or the designers that are even competing for the grand prize. You just learn so much and I’ve learned so much.”
CY: Compared to Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum who host other fashion related shows, what kind of style did you want to bring to the table with this?
KR: “You know what? I have to put myself in the show because that’s why they asked me to host. You know? They asked for Kelly Rowland, so I had to make sure the style is definitely me. For me, I just wanted to be able to express myself as just myself. I like to make classic, chic couture together and just make it my own. I’m a huge fan of Ralph Lauren to Dolce and Gabbana to Dsquared and those are completely different designers and what they do, but that’s exactly what I like to mix together.”
CY: On a normal day, what is your favorite type of clothes, fashion, style to wear on any given day?
KR: “Well, it really depends. I think in L.A. everybody has a really cool flare, trendy style here. I think I kinda adapt be it I’m a little more trendy in L.A. Somewhere in New York, I could literally sit at a café and have a cappuccino and watch people walk by and it’s like a fashion show to me. Compared to somewhere like Miami where I literally wear beachwear all day and I can walk around barefoot. My style is consistent. It may bend a little bit according to cities, but that’s about it.”
CY: Well, I am a Miami native, so I know exactly what you’re talking about.
KR: “(Laughs) I love Miami. I love living there. I love the energy. It’s just great. I love it.”
CY: Looking at fellow music artists like Melanie Brown and Lil Kim, would you ever consider doing something like Dancing with the Stars?
KR: “I don’t know. I think that what they do is so much hard work to be quite honest with you. I don’t know if I’d be able, ready for all that. To see Lil Kim just completely just spin into shape, I’m just like ugh, she looks so fantastic and Mel, Mel’s body is thick. These two women look fantastic. If only to just get in shape rather quickly I would do the show. (Laughs).”
CY: Focusing back on Destiny’s Child, you were there from the beginning, 15 years, you became one of the successful female groups of all time. You’re now here, you’re doing your solo thing, but as you were ready to go on fully to have an individual career, was there any part of you that was scared because now I’ve gotta make my own decisions? I don’t have to do this from a group situation. Was there any nerves? Were you scared at all? Were you excited? How did it feel looking back on that?
KR: “Oh my God! I was so nervous. Just the fact that in Destiny’s Child, Michelle [Williams], Beyonce [Knowles], and myself made decisions together. Or if I didn’t feel like I was strong enough to make a decision, there was always Beyonce or Michelle to depend on. It was a little bit of culture shock for me to be completely honest with you when people are coming up to me like, ‘Well, do you like this picture better than that picture?’ Oh, well, it kinda looks the same.
When maybe there is B who is a little more meticulous about pictures and stuff like that as far as Destiny’s Child was concerned and she was just like, ‘I like this picture because of such and such.’ And Michelle would listen to a song maybe better then I would and say, ‘You know what? This is off. Make sure we go back and record this.’ It was hard. So I had to really whip into shape and kinda take on those great things I love about them so much and respect about them so much and get down to business.
Once you realize it is your show and that you want it to be great and you’re just standing by yourself, you have to make it great, plain and simple because it’s just you and you want to be just as great as those moments you’ll have to be just as great as being in Destiny’s Child.”
CY: So you were really nervous?
KR: “Completely nervous. (Laughs) Completely nervous.”
CY: Because in reality, you probably go from well, if we’re in a group it could’ve been one thing or another or maybe we just all didn’t click together. But when it’s just you, I guess you say to yourself, ‘I only have me to blame.’ Am I right?
KR: “Right. Exactly! Exactly”
CY: You’ve known Beyonce as long as anybody else, but does she still continue to surprise you every single day?
KR: “Yes. It’s so funny just – I think the most recent thing that has surprised me is just falling into her wifehood. (Laughs) Because I am so proud of her. Growing up with her as a kid, I was the one always talking about marriage first and she’s like, ‘I can wait.’ (Laughs) You know? I’m just so happy that God has blessed her with such a great man. Not just a great husband.
I know that Jay is a great husband and I know that he will be a great father when they choose to have children, but he is just a great man and that falls under every category that they’ll experience together as being the head of the household and her being the wife now, she’s a wife. She’s not just a friend. She’s like someone’s wife. She has to go home to her husband you know? I’m really proud of her.”
CY: In some sense, maybe you’re learning something about how you want to be when you’re married maybe from her?
KR: “Well, that will be a while. (Laughs) My, have the tables have turned. (Laughs) And I’m the one that’s a little slow as far as being a wife is concerned now. But definitely.”
CY: You’ve got plenty of time. You’ve got plenty of time.
KR: “Yeah, yeah.”
CY: How does she keep her life so private? That’s the question I’m always curious about with her because she handles it so well. All of these other couples are so conflicted in Hollywood with their personal lives coming into their professional lives, but she just keeps it so quiet, everything is so easily separated. How does she do it?
KR: “I think that it’s about having boundaries. It’s so funny because people are intrigued by that, and they’re also like wondering like, ‘Really? No. What happened?’ People are always intrigued by what’s actually behind closed doors or what’s next to Beyonce that is Sasha on stage? People want to know more about who that person is that’s behind their doors at home. I think that she does a fantastic job at keeping that separate and people just respecting her for the talent, which I think is the most important thing because I think nowadays we’re often sidetracked by what somebody got popular doing with all due respect to what they do, but it should be about the talent.
I respect someone like a Tina Fey for what she’s done in being a female, and producing shows, and being a wife, and being a mother, but that’s all you know. You don’t know anything else about her because you respect her talent first. The same thing with B. The same thing with, who else is that that I love so much that does a great job at that, but those are the ones.”
CY: Michelle [Williams]?
KR: “Michelle Obama. Yeah.”
CY: I was actually thinking of your group mate Michelle Williams.
KR: “I am sorry. But I mean, Michelle does a great job of that too. We don’t like to go into great detail. Matthew Knowles was a great manager or is a great manager for Destiny’s Child in the fact that he wanted to make sure that people knew to respect our talent first. He said, ‘All those things aren’t as important because they don’t make you popular. Do they? Or they shouldn’t make you popular. People should be able to respect you for your talent. That’s like that Boyle. What’s that lady? Susan Boyle.”
CY: Susan Boyle from The London’s Got Talent over in Europe.
KR: “Exactly! Who gives a crap about what this woman has on? Did you hear her sing? You get what I’m saying?”
CY: It was the moment in time Kelly, where superficialness was thrown out the door and bonafide talent conquered all.
KR: “And that’s the way it should be. (Laughs)”
CY: You spend almost two decades with Matthew Knowles and then you guys departed recently. So he’s no longer managing you. Was it just like you wanted to go in a different direction, or was it just that you guys did everything you possibly could with each other?
KR: “I wanted to go in a different direction to be quite honest with you. I felt like Matthew and myself, our relationship just came to a point where for me, I felt like I wasn’t really growing anymore if I’m being completely honest with you. I just felt like I wasn’t growing anymore. I think that it’s really great when you can part with someone and it’s a mutual thing.
It’s like, ok you know? Go spread your wings. It took a long time to actually come up with my final decision because it was something that you think about before when you feel like you’re almost hitting a ceiling. I wanted a change. I needed a change. So that’s what happened. He’s been supportive. Beyonce’s been supportive. Michelle has been supportive. Tina [Knowles] has been supportive, who I call my Mamma T. Solange’s [Knowles] supportive. Everybody has been really great.”
CY: How’s Michelle Williams doing? We don’t really hear much about her. I am guessing you guys stay in touch?
KR: “Oh, of course we do. I just spoke to Michelle earlier this week. I actually call her this evening so we can have a chit chatter, but she’s fine. She’s actually getting ready to star as Roxie Hart in Chicago in the West End in London. She’s excited about it. She’s in dance classes like crazy now and excited about that. Michelle put out a fantastic record.
I don’t think it got the credit that it deserved to be completely honest with you, but she put together a fabulous album. If people don’t know the name of it, it’s fantastic, Michelle Williams album. What is it called? I’m just thinking about my favorite song on there, which is Hello Heartbreak and The Greatest and everything.”
CY: I will do the research when we got off this phone and make sure to note that in the transcript.
KR: “And I appreciate that. Thank you!”
[Editor’s note: The name of the Michelle Williams album is titled Unexpected.]
CY: Absolutely Kelly! I appreciate your time today. There’s not many people who are so candid and as an open book as you. There were some positive and negative reports about you selling your house in Miami. How’s it going?
KR: “You know what’s funny? For a while I wanted to sell my house. I felt it was a huge space for me and for just me because I’m just a single gal out there.”
CY: It’s a nice city to be in being a single gal.
KR: “Yeah. It really is. I took it off the market because I’m just like, why do I want to sell this space? I’ll just continue to grow in it eventually. So I’m just switching around rooms, making an office out of one, my God kid’s room out of another. So yes it was on the market but I did take it down because I changed my mind. It’s just as simple as that.
It’s just so funny because I remember the day a girlfriend called me and she says, ‘Is your house in foreclosure?’ I was like, no, it’s not in foreclosure and it’s the truth. There’s no reason for me to lie about that. We are living in difficult times, but I’m so blessed and I truly believe in God and I truly believe that he’s made different opportunities for me to be able of course to pay my bills. I’m good. (Laughs).”
CY: So let’s clear this up once and for all, Kelly Rowland is financially stable, she is not in foreclosure, and anyone who says so is totally wrong 100 percent, correct?
KR: “Thank you! Yes. That is correct. You know what’s funny is the fact that when my girlfriend told me that, of course it’s upsetting and really ridiculous that people would actually want to put someone’s business like that on front street when you have to sit back and think about if that were you. The sad part about now’s time in the media and hype and all this other stuff, things like that get reported to the news.
It’s not how great was a record or whatever it was. It’s things like that. What sex tape was out? Who did this or who had sex this week or whatever it might be. It’s just ridiculous at what kind of things make the news. I think people should find themselves being entertained by something that’s worth being entertained by.”
CY: Oh Kelly, while we’re sitting here, wrapping this conversation, is there anything else you’d like to get off your chest? I am giving you an open forum. Is there anything else you wanted to say?
KR: “No…no. That’s about it.”
CY: What else is going on? Anything else you’d like to do in the future? Anything else you’re working on?
KR: “Yes. Well, in this transitional period that I’m going through with labels and with management.”
CY: Reinventing yourself?
KR: “Yes. Exactly! Reinventing myself. This year I plan on producing more TV. I want to produce a TV show, like I have different ideas for a TV show this year that I’ll be pitching. Also starting an organization for young girls called I Heart My Girlfriends I’m so excited about, which basically will be an organization for young girls to gather amongst each other, talk about different things and to allow them an outlet to be able to talk and to ask questions, like every day questions about different things that might be on their chest.
So I’m excited about that, putting together another record above anything because I have a single out right now. Actually, I’m featured on this artist’s, he’s a French artist. His name is David Guetta and he is so talented. We actually did a song together called When Love Takes Over. If you haven’t heard it you must hear it. It’s fantastic. We just shot the video for it this past week and I’m excited. I think that it’s nowhere else to go but up from here and we’re just constantly keeping this train moving man. Yeah.”
CY: In closing Ms. Rowland, is there anything else you’d like to add as we close up this interview? Ladies and gentleman, this is truly a wonderful individual that speaks her mind and says it like it is.
KR: “Thank you! I’m good. I think that this was a great interview and I love your energy. I thank you so much for being so understanding of my tardiness and this won’t happen again. I know that if I need something to be completely cleared up I can call you. You do it in a classy way.”
CY: In closing, I guess this is the question I would like to ask again, Kelly is enjoying her life. She’s enjoying her independence. She might get married but it’s not happening anywhere in the near future ladies and gentleman. Is that correct?
KR: “(Laughs) That is. Well, I mean if the Prince Charming comes along then so be it.”
You can catch Kelly Rowland on The Fashion Show Thursdays at 10:00 PM on Bravo
Her official website is http://www.kellyrowlandonline.com
Her official My Space page is at http://www.myspace.com/kellyrowland
Her official Twitter page is at http://www.twitter.com/kelly__rowland