Solange Following In Big Sis' Footsteps

Excerpted from the magazine for

"It got to the point where I told Columbia that they were going to have to drop me," 16-year-old newcomer Solange recalls. Not exactly something typically heard from a young artist on her first outing, but Solange is not one to cave easily.

"They said the single I had chosen, 'Feelin' You,' wasn't sing-songy enough. It wasn't the right type of genre. It wasn't R&B, reggae, hip-hop. I said, 'Whatever you want to call it, I want it to be the first single.' I stood my ground."

The label then tested the track, which earned resoundingly positive feedback. As it currently builds an audience at radio, the road is being paved for Solange's full-length debut, "Solo Star," due Tuesday (Jan. 21) on Music World Music/Columbia.

While this may be her debut, Solange is no stranger to the industry. Her sister is Beyonce Knowles, one-third of the mega-successful Destiny's Child. In fact, Solange got a taste of the industry on tour with the act.

"This is the career she's chosen," says Mathew Knowles, her manager and father -- and the head of Music World Music. "I asked if she had a passion and love for it. She said yes. I told her that what I thought she should do first was to go on tour. She's an exceptional dancer. So, I suggested she go on tour as a dancer and understand the day-to-day tasks of this industry."

With that, Solange joined Destiny's Child on the road as dancer and loved it. From there, the then-prodigious 14-year-old began writing and producing "Solo Star."

"The first time I said I wanted to write it, they said, 'Well, we don't know if you can write,' so I said, 'Put me in the studio," she comments. "I had some tracks, and 'Feelin' You' was the first track that came out."

The album ended up with 18 cuts that range from sultry ballads to tracks that mix a variety of genres. It is a substantial piece of work from such a young artist. "Solo Star" is not only the title of the album but almost a personal mantra for Solange -- who is intent on doing things her way.

"A lot of people have tried to mold me," she says. "It's an issue -- since I'm so young -- to just be me."

And what about all the family connections? "Having Beyonce for a sister has pros and cons," Solange says. "I've gotten the chance to experience the industry and learn a lot. But I am trying to establish myself as an artist, and that can be tough with the last name that I have."

As for the future, Solange will be hitting the stage. She is going on the road with another Destiny's Child member, Kelly Rowland, in late February.

Excerpted from the Jan. 25, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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