Posted by Brandon Vesely on 06/19 at 03:42 PM
Kelly Rowland, an original member of the enormously successful R&B trio Destiny’s Child, is working her way back to the forefront of the pop industry with the release of her fourth studio album, Talk a Good Game.
Through her contributions to Destiny’s Child and collaborations with big-name stars like Lil Wayne and Nelly, Rowland has built herself a name as an accomplished R&B singer. However, her solo work has only garnered moderate commercial success, especially in comparison to former Destiny’s Child group mate, Beyoncé Knowles – at least until now , that is.
Rowland’s release of two lead singles, “Kisses Down Low” and “Dirty Laundry” show promise for the her newest album release, and she seems poised to reemerge as a pop music heavyweight.
The pop star was born Kelendria Trene Rowland on February 11, 1981 to Doris Rowland Garrison and Christopher Lovett in Atlanta, Georgia. As a girl, Rowland was captivated by famous pop artists like Whitney Houston and participated in her church choir. Due to domestic issues stemming from Lovett’s alcohol abuse, Rowland and her mother moved to Houston, Texas when Rowland was eight years old.
After settling in Houston, Rowland met future Destiny collaborators Beyoncé Knowles and LaTavia Roberson, who she performed with in the pop group Girl’s Tyme. Girl’s Tyme built themselves a reputation by performing at local venues, and tried their luck on Star Search, a televised talent contest that had previously hosted successful acts like Aaliyah, Christina Aguilera, and Alanis Morissette.
Though the group lost the contest, their participation earned them considerable attention and lead to their 1997 record deal via Columbia Records with their newly adopted name – Destiny’s Child.
From left: Michele Williams, Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland
Despite a number of interpersonal feuds and lineup changes, Destiny’s Child achieved extraordinary commercial success and established themselves as one of the most prominent and influential pop groups of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The group produced a multitude of chart-topping singles like “Say My Name,” “Bills Bills Bills,” and “Survivor” and earned a variety of musical awards from authoritative sources like the Grammy’s, the Billboard Music Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards.
The legendary group disbanded in 2006 after a farewell show at the NBA All-Star Game, and each member went on to pursue budding solo careers with varying levels of success. Obviously, Beyoncé Knowles became the most accomplished and prolific solo artist to emerge out of Destiny’s Child and Billboard recognized her as Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade and Top Female Artist in 2009.
However, Kelly Rowland was not calling it quits either. During her time in Destiny and after the break-up, Rowland released three studio albums as a solo artist. Rowland released her first solo effort, Simply Deep, in 2002 while she was still a member of Destiny’s Child. Simply Deep reached number 12 on the Billboard 200 and wielded two popular singles, “Stole” and “Dilemma.” “Stole,” a softer R&B track, maxed out at number 27 on the Top 40 Charts.
In “Dilemma,” (my favorite Kelly Rowland song), the R&B singer worked with rapper Nelly to produce another low-key, sensual track that reached number 1 on the Hot 100 Chart and is both artists’ most successful track to date.
In June of 2007, Rowland released her second solo album, Ms. Kelly. After the rushed production and release of Simply Deep, Rowland wanted to play a greater role in the creation of her sophomore solo effort. She helped to co-write most of the album’s tracks and played a significant role in the album’s conceptualization and production.
Ms. Kelly could not compete with the commercial success of Simply Deep. However, it did produce the moderately successful single, “Like This,” which featured female rapper Eve. Though “Like This” was still undoubtedly an R&B track, it took on a notable hip-hop feel and reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
After Ms. Kelly, Rowland split from Columbia records and her manager, Matthew Knowles, to release her third solo album, Here I Am, on Universal Motown. Upon its debut in July of 2011, Here I Am produced the hit singles “Commander” and “Motivation,” both of which constituted a considerable divergence from Rowland’s R&B roots.
In “Commander,” Rowland collaborated with dance/electronic artist David Guetta to produce a synth-driven track that reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs Chart. Additionally, “Motivation” featured Lil Wayne as a guest rapper, and the cozy R&B track hit number 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, making it Rowland’s highest charting single as a lead solo artist.
The R&B artist hopes to build on the success of Here I Am with her newest full length album, Talk a Good Game, which was just released on June 18. In recent interviews, Rowland has suggested that the album will be her most personally revealing and emotionally-charged release to date.
She unveiled the first of two singles released in promotion of the new album, “Kisses Down Low” on February 1, 2013. The track is low key, sensual, and listens like a traditional Kelly song. The second of these singles, “Dirty Laundry” was released on May 21, and is an exploration of Rowland’s personal turbulence with regards to interpersonal tensions in Destiny and her experiences with domestic abuse. “Kisses Down Low” and “Dirty Laundry” hint at the R&B-driven feel of Rowland’s newest release, and I’m looking forward to seeing Rowland mix her traditional R&B style with hip-hop and dance influences.
Be sure to check out the deluxe-edition of the album on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/talk-a-good-game/id651698712
Author: Brandon Vesely
Bio: Brandon Vesely is originally from the Pittsburgh area and is currently a junior majoring in Public Relations and Spanish at Penn State. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, biking, and spending time outdoors. His musical interests are wide-ranging and include a variety of alternative genres including post-hardcore, indie, noise pop, and pop punk. Some of his favorite artists are Bayside, Yeasayer, Phantogram, and Fireworks.
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