Hip-Hop

Black History Month: Kelly Rowland Explains How Her Personal & Professional Worlds Changed This February

Kelly Rowland
Dennis Leupold

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland is keeping the momentum going this Black History Month with a handful of big moments to celebrate. Over the last month, the Grammy-winning singer gave birth to her second child, Noah; celebrated her 40th birthday; and last Friday (Feb. 19), she dropped her latest EP, K.

Celebrating the birth of a baby, the release of a new project and her birthday, Rowland has undoubtedly been busy taking in these moments while reflecting on other accomplishments over the last year. She describes her recently released project as a musical "labor of love," with six tracks that are upbeat, rhythmic and unabashedly fun. Rowland recorded the project during her pregnancy and in quarantine, giving listeners three brand new tracks (“Flowers,” “Speed of Love” and “Better”) to add to previously released singles “Hitman,” “Crazy” and most recently, “Black Magic.”

Ahead of the release of her EP, Rowland unpacked what she’s learned about being a new mother of two, the lessons and values she plans on instilling in her sons, why she chose to drop her EP during Black History Month, what “Black Magic” means to her, and steps she’s taking to become the best mom she can be. -- As told to Tallie Spencer 

I’m feeling overwhelmed, overjoyed, but definitely above anything I’m very grateful. I’ve had the best time putting this record together. It’s taken forever but I’m so happy it’s finally out. To bring Noah home -- I basically had two births. And now I’m thinking about the fact that I just had a birthday, so it’s basically three births!

I feel like the pandemic was a great time to be pregnant. Tim [Witherspoon] and I were talking about having a baby, and then we were presented the opportunity to do so. We were like, “Let’s just see what happens.” Being pregnant during a pandemic wasn’t as hard as I thought -- you do have to keep moving, though. I promised myself that I didn’t just want to stay on the couch. To stay busy, I was taking a walk or going swimming with my son, Titan, or working out. I just kept moving, and I’m happy that I did because I feel like it just allowed my brain to just breathe as well. 

As far as giving birth in the pandemic, it was a really peaceful experience. It was me, my husband, and the doula in the birthing room and we were just chilling. It was really, really sweet. And bringing Noah home to meet his big brother was awesome. Titan actually feels like Noah is his baby, not mine.

Having all this extra time with Titan and truly learning his love language was one moment that stuck with me throughout quarantine. Titan’s love language is “play” and he likes to be read to. Spending extra time with him has allowed me to get lost in his world. For me, that was just one of my many takeaways from the pandemic and being in quarantine -- being there and showing up for my son.

 

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[During the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020,] I thought about so many different things, but one of them was preparing [my sons] now and instilling in them their sense of identity and sense of awareness before the world tries to tell them who they are. There were so many different things that I wanted to put my energy into, whether it was marching, or calling to bail kids out of jail. I wanted to contribute all that I could of myself to this generation, who is loud and vocal about how they’re feeling in this space in time that we’re in … Hoping that [my effort] pays forward to my kids. 

My son [Titan] is very vocal and very spirit-filled now. I know that when he gets older, God forbid that these things are still happening, but he will be out there marching, protesting, making his opinion known and speaking up for his community. But I pray that this all comes to a cease or a halt because it’s enough.

Me and my husband didn’t know how to explain what was going on in the world to a 5 year old, which is insane that you even have to explain it because it’s all over the news. It was consuming my phone in every picture and every statement. I remember watching the CNN collaboration that they did with Sesame Street and I was so grateful for that, because I didn’t know how to explain it without being angry.

I still don’t know how to be a mother of two, exactly, but I’m figuring it out. It’s going to be a unique experience -- Titan’s not like anyone else’s on this planet, Noah’s not like anyone else on this planet. I’m still navigating myself through motherhood. So the less pressure I put on myself and allow myself grace -- because I’m not going to get it right every single time – I think it’s only fair to just breathe and use your instincts to navigate your way through. But I’ve learned not to put so much pressure on myself and to let my creativity flow.

I had a ton of creative thoughts this time around with my second pregnancy. I found it such a blessing to be surrounded by creativity. Whether it was dreaming about something or daydreaming about something, I had creativity all around me, even though I was just in the house. Whether it was a conversation I had with my son, or my husband, or a disagreement, or looking through my art books … I captured all of those moments through my music. I wanted to make sure that the album felt alive.

To be able to drop this project during Black History Month … It all means Black magic to me. It’s been so awesome to be able to have my son, have my 40th, and of course drop the record in Black History Month -- to me that is the definition of Black magic. I want people to feel the joy and to feel the pride that I have for this project. The strength that it took to do the record, and how much fun it was putting it together. I have to say that above anything, I had so much fun putting together this record. I really, really did. It was a labor of love for sure.