As one-third of Destiny’s Child, Kelly Rowland has always been able to fall back on group mates Michelle Williams and Beyonce Knowles for support. But when she recorded her solo debut, “Simply Deep,” released yesterday (Oct. 22) by Columbia, things were a bit different.
“I was terrified,” Rowland admits. “I remember calling the girls and telling them that I missed them. Usually, when we’re in the studio, if I can’t get a part, then I can tell Michelle and Beyonce to take it. This time I had to depend on myself.”
Despite her initial fears, Rowland’s newfound independence offered her an opportunity to branch out and try new things. “I got a chance to do a bit of writing and come up with some of the vocal arrangements,” she says. “It was quite an experience. I remember feeling so proud that I was able to do this by myself.”
On “Simply Deep,” the Houston native also stepped away from the act’s R&B/pop fare, choosing instead to craft her own brand of rock and R&B. Rowland credits the concept of the 14-track set to her manager (and Beyonce’s father), Mathew Knowles of Houston-based Music World Entertainment.
“He’s always known how much I love rock music and alternative music,” she says. “He brought the idea to me, and I was so excited because I never thought that I could do something like that. I had a certain sound that I wanted in my head, and it’s amazing that I got exactly what I was looking for.”
Rowland unveiled her new sound via the album’s lead single, “Stole,” which touches on the topic of school violence. The single is currently No. 62 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and No. 56 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
As the song climbs the charts it also doesn’t hurt Rowland’s cause that she’s coming off a seven-week run atop the Hot 100 as part of “Dilemma,” a single on which she collaborates with Nelly. The single, which originally appeared on the rapper’s Universal set “Nellyville,” also appears on “Simply Deep.”
Rowland — who is slated to promote the album on BET’s “Access Granted,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Showtime at the Apollo,” and “Soul Train” — is also building a film career. She is currently in Vancouver shooting the horror film “Freddy vs. Jason” with Robert Englund.
“It’s been quite a whirlwind,” she says. “I knew it was a lot of work from watching my sister, Beyonce, do it [in ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’]. I love acting. I love anything that’s a challenge. It’s just like the album, which was challenging because I did it by myself. I was doing some different things, musically and vocally. It’s all been a challenge but it’s something I enjoy.”
Excerpted from the Oct. 26, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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