The girl we knew from Destiny’s Child has definitely changed. Once a self-proclaimed “team player,” Kelly Rowland is finally getting the hang of being on her own musically without Beyonce and Michelle Knowles at her side.
After a year’s delay and a bit of retooling, Rowland kicked off her sophomore solo album, “Ms. Kelly,” which includes the single “Like This,” featuring Eve.
Next up, the 26-year-old R&B singer, who keeps her iTunes playlist cued up to the sounds of Sade, Robin Thicke and, yes, a touch of T-Pain, is gearing up to serve the streets a little swagger with her second single, “Ghetto,” alongside Snoop Dogg.
Clearly, she’s not in Houston anymore.
AP: Now that Destiny’s Child is behind you and you’re on your second album, who is Kelly Rowland today?
Rowland: I’m comfortable in my skin and quite honestly, I feel older. (Laughs.) I rushed through my first album, “Simply Deep” (released in 2002), but with “Ms. Kelly,” I was able to take my time. I’m very proud of the first one, though. I sold almost 2 million albums, so I still dust my shoulder off for that one.
AP: Let’s talk about the track “Still in Love With My Ex.” Who is this guy?
Rowland: We don’t talk about him. He doesn’t even have a name; he’s just “the ex.” I got a great song out of (that experience). Thanks, buddy!
AP: So, tell us about your fans.
Rowland: Well, I still have Destiny’s Child fans who’ve grown up with me, and I’ve also talked to people on MySpace and on my Web site who are listening to the new album and liking it. That’s a good feeling.
AP: What’s it like now that you’re on your own?
Rowland: I feel like I’ve come into the fact of being comfortable, just being by myself, which is a really good feeling. It’s good to finally say goodbye to that fear.
AP: You and your Destiny’s Child bandmates seem to be supportive of each other’s solo projects. How did that happen?
Rowland: It was instilled in us, just the spirit of camaraderie. I think it’s really important to me. I’m so happy that my parents taught me that, you know, the fact there’s room and there’s space for everybody and that we’re supposed to support each other and be secure within ourselves as women, as sisters.
AP: You’ve got Snoop rhyming on your next single, and then there’s Tank singing with you on a sexy ballad. Do tell.
Rowland: I’ve loved Snoop since he released “Doggy Style,” so I’m glad he said yes to my song. And Tank? The man is an R&B crooner. He wrote and produced “The Show” and I loved working with him.
AP: So, let’s talk about the album’s first week’s sales.
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trueH6falsetrue1Rowland: Yes, I came in at No. 6 and sold 86,000 records — in a declining market, might I add. I’m very proud of that. Not everybody’s selling records like they used to. Even the biggest artists don’t come out and go platinum in a week anymore. It’s a different day and age in the music industry.
AP: How’s your ringtone game coming along?
Rowland: Every time I walk through an airport, someone’s phone will ring with “Like This,” which is pretty cool.
AP: How have you managed to deal with the ups and downs of the entertainment industry?
Rowland: There’s no easy way to get what’s worth working and waiting for, so whenever I get thrown a curveball, I know it’s just a challenge. You just have to keep going.