Interview: Kelly Rowland Goes Deluxe
March 25th, 2008 is an important date for Kelly Rowland fans, as it marks the online release of "Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe." Yes, the Grammy winning R&B/pop superstar is re-releasing a deluxe version of the original "Ms. Kelly" album that includes 5 unexpected new tracks and 2 exciting remixes. Kelly Rowland goes even deeper with the new album, portraying her personality and vulnerability, all the while keeping the party going with good vibes. TeenMusic recently had the opportunity to discuss with Kelly her new album, "Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe," as well as touring, her commitment to her fans, her charitable work, and her genuine love for music. Let's find out more about the unstoppable Ms. Kelly Rowland.
TeenMusic: "Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe" comes out March 25th. What can fans look forward to with the new tracks and remixes?
Kelly: The new tracks and remixes definitely showcase a different side of 'Ms. Kelly' and that's what I love the most about the new tracks on the album. I know for me, some of my personal favorites are 'Daylight,' that showcases soul and just my favorite feelings. With 'Daylight,' I remember listening to 'Daylight' and I was like, 'Oh my god, this feels like a great day. Got the wind in your hair, just feels good.' That's what I loved about it the most. You also have songs on the record like "Love Again" and "Unity" that are just really vulnerable, and I feel like those are also sides of me that I get a chance to showcase as well. So it's going even deeper into the title 'Ms. Kelly' and being more personal, a little bit more vulnerable, and showcasing my party-girl side. [Laughs]
TeenMusic: You're also releasing two remix EPs for the songs 'Daylight' and 'Work'. Is that something that you'd like to explore further?
Kelly: Definitely, I love remixes. I know I learned a lot about that with Destiny's Child. With "Daylight," that song just sounds like it can go with anything, as far as if I were a DJ, just mixing it with so many different types of sounds. I remember listening to all the remixes for "Daylight" and being so excited about it and I felt like it would be a great idea to just put them all on the single release and it came out great. "Work" speaks for itself. You just can't stop moving to that record and I'm happy that the remixes came out for "Work" the way that they did. I love them all.
TeenMusic: What was it like collaborating with Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes?
Kelly: Travis has so much personality and I remember being nervous to meet him. Why? I don't know, but when we got into the studio it was just magic together and I'm happy that it was because you always wonder how a collaboration is going to come out. You sometimes hear it in your head, but to actually hear it just kind of blows you away. Nobody would probably expect for myself and Travis to do a record together and that's also what I liked about the collaboration. It is just unexpected and it came out great.
TeenMusic: Is there anyone that you'd like to collaborate with in the future that you haven't or would like to again?
Kelly: Pharrell [Williams], I collaborated with Pharrell with Destiny's Child. I'd like to collaborate with him on my own. Yeah, he would be awesome.
TeenMusic: When will the "Ms. Kelly" tour be underway and where do you plan to go?
Kelly: I know the first stop will be Europe and that will be later on this year. I don't know when I'll get to the States, hopefully soon.
TeenMusic: How do you keep your energy up while on tour and what do you do for breaks?
Kelly: I keep my energy up by making sure I get rest and I'm drinking water. What else? I guess I've got to remain happy. When I'm just chillin' and I'm breakin' and I'm not doing anything, I like to be at home with family and friends and sit out on the beach and chill.
TeenMusic: Do you feel that an artist needs validation from critics, or do you feel it's more a commitment to you and your listeners?
Kelly: I think it's more so a commitment to you and your listeners. Although you have to respect people's opinions and judgments, but I also feel like opinions are like butt holes, everybody has got one and somebody's going to have something to say. So it's important to love what you have and be true to yourself as an artist. Just know that people are going to say whatever they want to say, it's just a part of it.
TeenMusic: That's very commendable. Speaking of which, you do so much charitable work for different people and organizations as well as your own, The Survivor Foundation. What made you be such a charitable person?
Kelly: My parents, I must admit my parents and just growing up in the type of church that I've grown up in. I feel like they've always been instrumental in making sure that we know how important it is to give back. I feel like the same community that sews a lot into you, whether it's your character or your faith or just you as a person, as a human being, you have to go back and put that into the community as well. Put your energy into the community, the same community that built you up, you should go back and build it up as well.
TeenMusic: Do you believe that everyone in the public eye has a duty to use their names for charities or do you think it's up to the person themselves?
Kelly: I think that it's up to the person themselves. I do believe that there are also some things that they don't have to be in the public eye. You don't want to talk about everything or seem like a brag. I do think that the reason why, myself or Beyonce [Knowles] or Michelle [Williams], we do decide to talk about it is because it's important to let the young generation know how important it is to give back.
TeenMusic: Being a singer/performer, actor and philanthropist can be a lot of work. Do you see it as being stressful or a stress relief?
Kelly: A stress relief. I feel you love what you do as far as music is concerned, but there's a lot of hard work when it comes to music and basically touring and promotions and everything. But when you're able to go back and give back, that's your moment that you've really been waiting for.
TeenMusic: What was your initial attraction to being a singer?
Kelly: Whitney Houston, she set it off for me. I remember watching her and she just made it look so effortless.
TeenMusic: What prompted you to make "Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe" a digital-only release?
Kelly: That's where all my fans are. I think that it's important to be accommodating to them and they're not physically going to buy records as much as they would being in front of the computer and just purchasing it that way.
TeenMusic: Do you see that digital release is a way to combat piracy and leaking music?
Kelly: Well we'll see! [Laughs] We'll definitely see, but I'm hoping so. I'm definitely looking at this from a positive and I believe that true fans will go out and buy the record and be excited, just as much as I am, and appreciate it and be happy to buy records the same way I'm happy to buy records. I still buy records, whether it's on iTunes or if I'm about to take a long drive somewhere with some friends and we got to the CD store and we just buy up everything.
TeenMusic: What do you like to listen to on long drives like that?
Kelly: A lot of old-school. [Laughs] Like soulful; Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, the Isley Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder.
TeenMusic: Is there anything that you'd like to say to the fans?
Kelly: I just want to tell my fans thank you so much for being so supportive and following me for so many years. Let them know I love them and appreciate them; for all the support for myself, for Beyonce and Michelle, and to Destiny's Child. So thank you.