Backbeat: Kelly Rowland Gets Deep at Recording Academy 'Conversation With' Event
Backbeat: Kelly Rowland Gets Deep at Recording Academy 'Conversation With' Event
Karen Elson
Kelly Rowland with MC Lyte at the "A Conversation With" event in Los Angeles Tuesday night (Photo: Maury Phillips,; courtesy of The Recording Academy)

"I'm on the highest cloud right now; it surpasses nine," declared Kelly Rowland to a packed room at the Recording Academy's Los Angeles headquarters on Tuesday.

The occasion was the Los Angeles Chapter's ongoing series, "A Conversation With …" For over an hour, L.A. chapter board president and rapper MC Lyte took the four-time Grammy Award winner on a journey through her career, from her beginnings as a founding member of Destiny's Child to her solo turn and the release of her third studio album "Here I Am." In between, selections from the album were played, including "Work It Man" and "Keep It Between Us" -- the latter of which she also performed a cappella to enthusiastic response.

Noting that she's excited about touring again after a long break (this time with Chris Brown, T-Pain and Tyga), Rowland revealed that she didn't really enjoy performing until two years ago. "I went through a stage in which it felt challenging for me to sing by myself with no Beyoncé or Michelle to the right or left of me. Then Beyoncé said to me, 'You deserve this because of all the sweat and tears you've put in -- go for it.' I think I just needed someone to tell me that. So when I performed 'Motivation' at BET, my first awards show as a solo, I just wanted to eat the stage."

She also said that her favorite song to perform on tour is "I'm Dat Chick." "There's such great energy on this tour -- I love being surrounded by all that testosterone!" she laughed.

After the Brown tour wraps in Atlanta next week, Rowland will head across the pond to start her judgeship on the U.K. "X Factor." About that gig, she noted, "It's like watching yourself all over again. A long time ago Destiny's Child did 'Star Search' and lost. So as a judge, I want to be honest but also give constructive criticism."

Also in attendance at the event were Rowland's managers, Tim Weatherspoon and Marcus Grant of The Collective, and Kristen Madsen, senior VP of MusiCares and Grammy Foundations.

Kelly Rowland
Taking five in the green room at Recording Academy headquarters are (l-r) MC Lyte, Kelly Rowland, Billboard's Gail Mitchell and Lizzy Moore, West Regional Director for the Recording Academy (Photo: Maury Phillips,; courtesy of The Recording Academy)
Kelly Rowland
"For the first time, I've acknowledged that I'm the boss in charge," Rowland said. "I'm 30 now and it's time. I can't sit back and let life and opportunities pass me by when I've worked my ass off." (Photo: Maury Phillips,; courtesy of The Recording Academy)