Kelly Rowland Biography
During the hiatus of Destiny's Child, Rowland released her debut solo album Simply Deep in 2002, which produced her joint worldwide number-one single "Dilemma" with rapper Nelly, and the international top-ten hit "Stole". The album topped the UK Albums Chart and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide. Following the group's disbandment in 2005, Rowland released her second solo effort Ms. Kelly in 2007 and despite being less successful than its predecessor, it included the international top-ten singles "Like This" and "Work". Rowland scored her second worldwide number-one hit in 2009, as a featured artist on French DJ David Guetta's single "When Love Takes Over", and two years later she collaborated with Italian DJ Alex Gaudino on the international top-ten single "What a Feeling". Both songs are included in the international edition of her third album Here I Am which was released in 2011 and topped the US R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. It included the international top-ten single "Commander" and the US R&B number-one "Motivation".
Apart from her work in music, Rowland has also launched a career in film and television. In 2002, she made her acting debut with guest appearances on sitcom series The Hughleys and Taina, prior to appearing in various films, including Freddy vs. Jason (2003), The Seat Filler (2004) and Think Like a Man (2012). In 2007, Rowland appeared as a choirmaster on the reality show Clash of the Choirs, and in 2009 she served as the host on Bravo's reality competition series The Fashion Show alongside Isaac Mizrahi. In 2011, Rowland joined the judging panel on the eighth series of The X Factor (UK), but left after one season. She then became a dance master on the first series of the Australian dance talent show Everybody Dance Now in 2012.
Rowland was born Kelendria Trene Rowland in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Doris Rowland Garrison and Christopher Lovett, who were married after Kelly was born. When she was seven, her mother took her and left her father, who was an abusive alcoholic.
At the age of eight, she relocated to Houston, Texas, where she was practically raised by the Knowles family. Rowland was placed into a rapping and dancing group, along with her friends Beyonc? Knowles and LaTavia Roberson. Originally named Girl's Tyme, they were eventually cut down to six members. West coast R&B producer, Arne Frager, flew into Houston to see them. He eventually brought them to his studio?The Plant Recording Studios?in Northern California, with Knowles' vocals being featured because Frager thought she had the best personality and the ability to sing. As part of efforts to sign Gyrl's Time to a major label record deal, Frager's strategy was to debut them in Star Search, the biggest talent show on national TV at that time. They participated, but lost the competition because the song they performed was not good, as the group later admitted.
To manage the group, Beyonc?'s father Mathew Knowles resigned in 1995 from his job as a medical-equipment salesman. He dedicated his time and established a "boot camp" for their training. The move reduced Knowles family's income by half and her parents separated because of the pressure. Not long after the inclusion of Rowland, Mathew cut the original lineup to four, with LeToya Luckett joining in 1993. Rehearsing in Tina Knowles' hair styling salon and their backyards, the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups of the time; Tina contributed to the cause by designing their costumes, which she continued to do throughout Destiny's Child era. With the continued support of Mathew, they auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, only to be dropped months later before they could release an album.
Breakthrough with Destiny's Child
Main article: Destiny's Child
Taken from a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah, the group changed their name to Destiny's Child in 1993. Together, they performed in local events and, after four years on the road, the group was signed to Columbia Records in late 1997. That same year, Destiny's Child recorded their major label debut song, "Killing Time", for the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black. The following year, the group released their self-titled debut album, spawning hits such as "No, No, No". That album made it possible for Destiny?s Child to win three awards from the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. The group rose to stardom after releasing their multi-platinum second album, The Writing's on the Wall, in 1999. The record features some of the group?s most widely known songs such as "Bills, Bills, Bills", Jumpin' Jumpin'", and "Say My Name". "Say My Name" was nominated for and won the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and the Best R&B Song at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The Writing's on the Wall sold more than eight million copies in the US and a massive 13 million worldwide, essentially becoming their breakthrough album.
Along with their commercial successes, the group became entangled in much-publicized turmoil involving the filing of a lawsuit by Luckett and Roberson for breach of contract. The issue was heightened after Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin appeared on the video of "Say My Name", implying that Luckett and Roberson had already been replaced. Eventually, Luckett and Roberson left the group. Franklin would eventually fade from the group after five months, as evidenced by her absences during promotional appearances and concerts. She attributed her departure to negative vibes in the group resulting from the strife. After settling on their final lineup, the trio recorded "Independent Women Part I", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Charlie's Angels. It became their best-charting single, topping the official U.S. singles chart for eleven consecutive weeks. The success cemented the new lineup and skyrocketed them to fame. Later that year, Luckett and Roberson withdrew their case against their now-former band mates, while maintaining the suit against Mathew, which ended in both sides agreeing to stop public disparaging.
Destiny's Child's third album, Survivor, channels the turmoil they underwent, spawning its lead single of the same name, which was a response to the experience. The themes of "Survivor", however, caused Luckett and Roberson to refile their lawsuit; the proceedings were eventually settled in June 2002. Meanwhile, the album was released in May 2001, debuting at number one on U.S. Billboard 200 with 663,000 units sold. To date, Survivor has sold over ten million copies worldwide, over forty percent of which were sold in the U.S. alone. The album spawned other number-one hits?"Bootylicious" and the title track, "Survivor", the latter of which earned the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. After releasing their remix album, This Is the Remix, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects.
Solo career establishment (2002?2003)
Main article: Simply Deep
Still with Destiny's Child, Rowland teamed up with rapper Nelly in 2002 to record the chorus vocals on the track "Dilemma" for his album Nellyville. Released as the album's second single, the song rose to one of the most successful singles of the year, topping many charts worldwide, and saw Rowland establishing herself as a solo artist, winning her a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and a Billboard Award the following year.
Originally expected in early 2003, the success of the collaboration caused the label to advance the release date of her debut solo album, Simply Deep, which Rowland rushed within three weeks to get done. Featuring production by Mark J. Feist, Robert "Big Bert" Smith, Rich Harrison, and singers Brandy and Solange Knowles, the album took Rowland's solo work further into an alternative music mixture, which Rowland described as a "weird fusion a little bit of Sade and a little bit of rock." Released stateside in October 2002 and internationally in 2003, Simply Deep peaked at number twelve on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., where it was eventually certified gold by the RIAA for more than 600,000 copies sold. Released to even bigger success in international territories, the album topped the UK Albums Chart and became a gold-seller in Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other countries, resulting into a worldwide sales total of 2.5 million copies.
The album yielded three singles. "Stole," a rock pop-influenced mid-tempo track about loss, was released as the album's lead single and became an international top ten, peaking at number two in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the song failed to capitalize of the success of "Dilemma," reaching the top thirty only. The album's second single, an up-tempo track entitled "Can't Nobody," charted significantly lower in the U.S., but enjoyed top twenty success throughout Australia and parts of Europe, where it became another top five hit on the UK Singles Chart. Final single "Train on a Track" was featured on the soundtrack of the romantic comedy film Maid in Manhattan (2003) but failed to chart or sell noticeably, except for the UK again, where it became her fourth consecutive top twenty entry.
Destiny Fulfilled and hiatus (2004?2005)
Destiny's Child performing their 2000 hit "Say My Name" during their farewell concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It.
After a three-year journey that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Rowland rejoined Knowles and Williams for Destiny's Child's fourth studio album Destiny Fulfilled, released in November 2004. The album hit number two on the Billboard 200, and spawned "Lose My Breath", "Soldier", "Girl", and "Cater 2 U" as notable mainstream records. In support of the album, Destiny's Child embarked on the 2005 Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It world tour, which started in April and ran through September. On the Barcelona, Spain visit, the group announced their disbandment after the end of their final North American leg. In October 2005, the group released a compilation album, entitled #1's, including all of Destiny's Child's number-one hits and most of their well-known songs. The greatest hits collection also includes three new tracks, including their final single "Stand Up for Love." Destiny's Child was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006. They were also recognized as the world's best-selling female group of all time.
That same year, Rowland was featured on rapper Trina's hit single "Here We Go," the lead single of the Glamorest Life album (2005). The song became another success for the artist, who scored another top twenty entry in Finland, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom with the collaboration.
Ms. Kelly (2007?2008)
Main article: Ms. Kelly
Rowland's second solo album, Ms. Kelly, was released in June 2007. Originally entitled My Story, the album's first version was actually scheduled for a June 2006 release, but the singer, her management and Columbia Records decided to shelve the album last minute to re-work a version with a different vibe as the singer considered the final tracklisting "too full of midtempos and ballads." Rowland eventually consulted additional producers to collaborate on the album, renamed Ms. Kelly, including Billy Mann, Scott Storch, and Atlanta-based Polow da Don, who contributed the single "Like This," a collaboration with rapper Eve, to the album. A moderate success around the globe, the song reached the top ten in Canada, Ireland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Upon its release, Ms. Kelly debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with moderately successful first week sales of 86,000 copies. Outside the United States, the album widely failed to reprise the success of Simply Deep, barely reaching the top forty on the majority of all charts it appeared on, except for the United Kingdom where it opened at number thirty-seven.
In continued support of the album, Rowland released the album cuts "Ghetto" and "Work" as singles, respectively. While the Snoop Dogg-featured "Ghetto" underperformed stateside, the latter became a top ten hit in most European markets including France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 2008, a reissued version of the album, branded Ms. Kelly Deluxe, received a release, its lead single being the previously unreleased Bobby Womack cover "Daylight," a collaboration with Gym Class Heroes that reached the top twenty of the UK Singles Chart. By April 2008, Ms. Kelly had managed to sell just over 1.2 million copies worldwide. Also in 2008, Rowland recorded a single with French singer N?diya, an uptempo urban pop track entitled "No Future in the Past", for which a video was shot in Miami, Florida during July 2008.
2009–11: New management, label, and Here I Am
In 2009, Rowland was featured on Italian singer Tiziano Ferro's single "Breathe Gentle", which was released on February 20, 2009. It reached the top ten of The Netherlands' Single Top 100 chart. On January 28, 2009, it was announced that Rowland and her manager Mathew Knowles had parted ways. She released a statement to the media, saying "Mathew Knowles has been a positive influence in my career. I have had great success under his guidance – both as a member of Destiny's Child and with my solo projects. Although we have decided to part ways professionally, the Knowles family and the entire Music World Entertainment team will always be my family." Then two months later, on March 31, 2009, Rowland issued a statement that she had also left her record label of 13 years, Columbia Records, to explore other ventures. She added that she "felt the need to explore new directions, new challenges, and new freedoms outside my comfort zone." Later in a 2010 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rowland stated that the decision to leave was not hers: the label ended her contract because her previous album Ms. Kelly was not commercially successful.
In April 2009, Rowland was featured on the dance song "When Love Takes Over", the first single from French DJ David Guetta's album One Love (2009), in which Rowland contributed vocals on two other tracks. The song was a commercial success, reaching number one in ten countries, including in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. "When Love Takes Over" earned the pair a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Dance Recording category of the 52nd Grammy Awards. In October 2009, it was suggested that the success of the single had made Rowland consider signing a new record deal with EMI Music. Then in May 2010, speculation of Rowland's new record deal ended when an official press release revealed that she had signed to Universal Motown Records. It was whilst recording within the studios with Guetta that Rowland caught the attention of the head of Universal Motown, Sylvia Rhone, which led to the new deal. On the decision to go with Rhone's label, Rowland said "they have really embraced me and have set me up to succeed. I decided, after careful thought, to sign with Universal Motown not only because of their track record of success, but also because they truly put their artists first".
In 2010, Rowland released the single "Everywhere You Go", which featured several African and South African artists known as the Rhythm of Africa, as the theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Rowland continued her live appearances throughout 2010 in Australia, performing at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras party with George Michael on March 7, and was part of the Supafest tour in April. A song titled "Commander" featuring David Guetta, was released on May 17, 2010 as the first international single from Rowland's third studio album Here I Am. Upon release, the single was met with positive reception from music critics who praised the dance sound of the song. In the United Kingdom, "Commander" topped the UK Dance Chart and became a top-ten hit on the UK Singles Chart. Despite not being serviced as a single in the US, it managed to top the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. In the US, "Rose Colored Glasses" and "Grown Woman" were released as the album's lead pop and R&B singles, respectively. Both songs failed to match the chart success that their predecessor achieved, and resulted in "Grown Woman" being excluded from the album. Eventually, Rowland announced that Here I Am would be rebooted with a brand new lead single for the US market. In April 2011, she released a song titled "Motivation" featuring rapper Lil Wayne, replacing the previous lead singles. "Motivation" peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It was eventually certified platinum by the RIAA, and became Rowland's highest charting single on the Hot 100 as a lead artist thus far. The song won the award for Song of the Year at the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards, and was nominated in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category of the 54th Grammy Awards.
Rowland continued her musical collaborations by lending her vocals to British rapper Tinie Tempah's single "Invincible", from his album Disc-Overy (2010). The single peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. In addition, she reunited with rapper Nelly on the single "Gone", and appeared on Italian DJ Alex Gaudino's single "What a Feeling". After several delays, Here I Am was finally released in the US on July 26, 2011. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number three, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with first-week sales of 77,000 copies sold. To date, it is Rowland's highest debuting and charting album in the United States. As of December 2011, Here I Am has sold 178,000 copies in the US. Two more singles were released from the album; "Lay It on Me" and "Down for Whatever", the latter became a top-ten hit in the UK. In August 2011, Rowland was announced as the ambassador and spokesperson for rapper Sean Combs' second fragrance, Empress. In December 2011, Rowland was announced as a worldwide ambassador for the watchmakers company, TW Steel.
2012-2013: Year of the Woman and Destiny's Child Reunion
On February 8, 2012, Rowland was honored for her contributions to the music industry at Essence magazine's 2012 Black Women in Music Event. In April 2012, Rowland travelled to Australia as one of the supporting acts at Supafest. A song titled "Need a Reason" featuring American rappers Future and Bei Major, was featured on the soundtrack album for the 2012 film Think Like a Man, in which Rowland stars. Trey Songz released the accompanying music video for his single "Heart Attack" in May 2012, which features a cameo appearance by Rowland who plays his love interest. At the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, Rowland's song "Motivation" featuring Lil Wayne won in the Top R&B Song category. In June 2012, she teamed up with liquor company Bacardi, for a remake of Kate Yanai's single "Bacardi Feeling (Summer Dreamin')", in honor of the company's 150th anniversary. Rowland shot an accompanying music video for the song in Barcelona, which debuted online on June 17, 2012.
"Ice", featuring Lil Wayne, premiered online on July 2, 2012, as the lead single from Rowland's upcoming fourth album, Year of the Woman, scheduled to be released in 2013. The single reached number 88 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 24 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number 25 on the South Korea Gaon International Chart. Year of the Woman will be Rowland's first release with Universal Republic following Universal Music Group's decision to close Universal Motown. Also in 2012, Rowland was featured on Ludacris' single "Representin'", Sean Paul's "How Deep Is Your Love", Big Boi's "Mama Told Me" and Future's "Neva End (Remix)".
On January 10, 2013, Rowland and Beyoncé announced on their Facebook accounts that Destiny's Child will be releasing a compilation album titled Love Songs on January 29. Michelle Williams announced the reunion the following day on her Facebook accounts too. The album is a collection of romantically-themed songs from the group's previous albums and also includes the newly recorded song "Nuclear", co-written by Williams. Only solo song of album, is "Heaven" from Rowland's debut Simply Deep in 2002.
Music producer Mike WiLL has announced Rowland's next single from her fourth solo album entitles "Kisses Down Low."