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Kelly Rowland

Kelendria "Kelly" Trene Rowland (born February 11, 1981) is an American R&B singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress, who rose to fame as one of the founding members of the successful R&B girl group Destiny's Child, the best-selling female group of all time, according to the IFPI and SonyBMG.

After a series of commercially successful releases with the group and a worldwide number-one success with rapper Nelly and "Dilemma," Rowland released her pop rock-influenced solo album Simply Deep in 2002. The album became a commercial success, eventually selling more than two million copies woldwide, and garnered three more or less successful singles, among "Stole." Following the formal disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, Rowland's often-delayed second album, Ms. Kelly was released in 2007. The album has since spawned the international number-one single "Work" and received both a digital and physical re-release in 2008. As a solo artist, Rowland has sold more than three million albums worldwide.

While maintaining a recording career Rowland has also gained fame for starring in several film and television productions, including a starring role in the 2004 romantic comedy The Seat Filler, a supporting role in the 2003 slasher film Freddy vs. Jason, and several guest appearances on TV series such as The Hughleys and Girlfriends.

Early life

Rowland was born Kelendria Trene Rowland in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Doris Rowland Garrison and Christopher Lovett, who were married after Kelly was born. When she was seven, her mother took her and left her father, who was an abusive alcoholic.

At the age of eight, Rowland relocated to Houston, Texas, where she was placed into a rapping and dancing group, along with her friends Beyoncé Knowles and LaTavia Roberson. Originally named Girl's Tyme, they were eventually cut down to six members. West coast R&B producer, Arne Frager, flew into Houston to see them. He eventually brought them to his studio—The Plant Recording Studios—in Northern California, with Knowles' vocals being featured because Frager thought she had the best personality and the ability to sing. As part of efforts to sign Gyrl's Time to a major label record deal, Frager's strategy was to debut them in Star Search, the biggest talent show on national TV at that time. They participated, but lost the competition because the song they performed was not good, as the group later admitted.

To manage the group, Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles resigned in 1995 from his job as a medical-equipment salesman. He dedicated his time and established a "boot camp" for their training. The move reduced Knowles family's income by half and her parents separated because of the pressure. Not long after the inclusion of Rowland, Mathew cut the original lineup to four, with LeToya Luckett joining in 1993. Rehearsing in Tina Knowles' hair styling salon and their backyards, the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups of the time; Tina contributed to the cause by designing their costumes, which she continued to do throughout Destiny's Child era. With the continued support of Mathew, they auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, only to be dropped months later before they could release an album.

Recording career

Breakthrough with Destiny's Child

Taken from a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah, the group changed their name to Destiny's Child in 1993. Together, they performed in local events and, after four years on the road, the group was signed to Columbia Records in late 1997. That same year, Destiny's Child recorded their major label debut song, "Killing Time", for the soundtrack to the 1997 film, Men in Black.

The following year, the group released their self-titled debut album, spawning hits such as "No, No, No". That album made it possible for Destiny’s Child to win three awards from the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. The group rose to stardom after releasing their multi-platinum second album, The Writing's on the Wall, in 1999. The record features some of the group’s most widely-known songs such as "Bills, Bills, Bills", Jumpin' Jumpin'", and "Say My Name". "Say My Name" was nominated for and won the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and the Best R&B Song at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The Writing's on the Wall sold more than seven million copies, essentially becoming their breakthrough album.

Along with their commercial successes, the group became entangled in much-publicized turmoil involving the filing of a lawsuit by Luckett and Roberson for breach of contract. The issue was heightened after Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin appeared on the video of "Say My Name", implying that Luckett and Roberson had already been replaced. Eventually, Luckett and Roberson left the group. Franklin would eventually fade from the group after five months, as evidenced by her absences during promotional appearances and concerts. She attributed her departure to negative vibes in the group resulting from the strife.

After settling on their final lineup, the trio recorded "Independent Women Part I", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Charlie's Angels. It became their best-charting single, topping the official U.S. singles chart for eleven consecutive weeks. The success cemented the new lineup and skyrocketed them to fame. Later that year, Luckett and Roberson withdrew their case against their now-former band mates, while maintaining the suit against Mathew, which ended in both sides agreeing to stop public disparaging.

Destiny's Child's third album, Survivor, channels the turmoil they underwent, spawning its lead single of the same name, which was a response to the experience. The themes of "Survivor", however, caused Luckett and Roberson to refile their lawsuit; the proceedings were eventually settled in June 2002. Meanwhile, the album was released in May 2001, debuting at number one on U.S. Billboard 200 with 663,000 units sold. To date, Survivor has sold over ten million copies worldwide, over forty percent of which were sold in the U.S. alone. The album spawned other number-one hits—"Bootylicious" and the title track, "Survivor", the latter of which earned the group a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. After releasing their holiday album, 8 Days of Christmas, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects.

Simply Deep (2002-2003)

Rowland's first solo album, Simply Deep was released in October 2002 domestically and February 2003 internationally. The album featured a range of "alternative R&B music", widely influenced by rock and pop music, and yielded the BAM & Ryan number-one hit "Dilemma", a Grammy-winning ("Best Rap/Sung Collaboration" in 2003) duet with rapper Nelly, which eventually spent ten weeks on top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Other production was among contributed by Brandy, Mark J. Feist, Robert "Big Bert" Smith, Rich Harrison, Solange Knowles, Alonzo Jackson, Damon Elliot Leli and Sean Okundaye. While the album entered the top 10 on the majority of the charts it appeared on, peaked at number 12 on the Billboard 200, and eventually receiving a gold certification for more than 602,000 copies sold; Simply Deep reached number-one in the UK, where it was certified as a platinum seller and was moreover certified gold in Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and other countries.

Although its lead single "Stole" reached the top ten in several countries and peaked within the top five in the Australia, New Zealand and the UK, it never reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Follow-up song "Can't Nobody" barely made it to the top 10 on most charts, but peaked at number 5 on the UK singles chart. The album's final single, "Train on a Track" received limited international release, and thus failed to chart or sell noticeably, apart from the UK, where it became Rowland's fourth top twenty solo hit.

In 2005, Rowland appeared on rapper Trina's song called "Here We Go", which impacted radio in September 2005 and became another top 20 success for both artists in New Zealand, Finland, the United States, and the UK.

Destiny Fulfilled (2004) and hiatus

After a three-year journey that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Rowland rejoined Knowles and Williams for Destiny Fulfilled, released in November 2004. The album hit number two on the Billboard 200, and spawned "Lose My Breath", "Soldier", "Girl", and "Cater 2 U" as notable mainstream records. In support of the album, Destiny's Child embarked on the 2005 Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It world tour, which started in April and ran through September. On the Barcelona, Spain visit, the group announced their disbandment after the end of their final North American leg. In October 2005, the group released a compilation album, entitled #1's, including all of Destiny's Child's number-one hits and most of their well-known songs. The greatest hits collection also includes three new tracks, including "Stand Up for Love". Destiny's Child was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006.

Ms. Kelly (2007-2008)

Rowland had been working on her second solo album on and off since 2004. Originally entitled My Story, the album's first version was actually scheduled for a release on June 6, 2006 and involving main production by Rich Harrison, Big Tank, Patrick "J. Que" Smith, Rodney Jerkins and guests Robin Thicke, Da Brat, Remy Ma and Shawnna. Although she world premiered a CKB-produced lead single, "Gotsta Go", on the 2006 MTV Asia Awards in Bangkok on May 6, 2006, Rowland, her management and Columbia Records eventually decided to shelve the album and re-work a version with a different vibe since the singer considered the final tracklist "too full of midtempos and ballads." Rowland eventually consulted a few other producers to collaborate on the album, renamed Ms. Kelly, including Sean Garrett, Billy Mann, Scott Storch, and Atlanta-based Polow da Don, who contributed the single "Like This", a duet with rapper Eve, to the album. The single reached the top 10 in Canada, Croatia, Ireland, Slovenia and the UK; the top 20 in Australia, Lithuania and New Zealand; and number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Ms. Kelly debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and at number 6 on the official Billboard 200, with moderately successful first week sales of 83,800 copies (almost 7,000 plus than her previous album Simply Deep); making it Rowland's first domestic top 10 album. Exclusively at Walmart, Ms. Kelly was packaged with a bonus DVD titled, BET Presents Kelly Rowland. The DVD features BET highlights, performance highlights, and music videos from throughout Rowland's career. Outside the United States, the album widely failed to enter the top forty on the majority of the charts it appeared on, except for the UK where it opened at number 37 and a peak position of number 10 on the Japanese Foreign Charts. In 2008, a reissued version of the album, branded with the name Ms. Kelly Deluxe, received a release, its lead single being the previously unreleased song "Daylight," a collaboration with Gym Class Heroes.

Current activities

As recently reported, Rowland has started recording her third full length album in early April 2008. In addition, she has recorded a new single with French singer Nâdiya, an uptempo urban pop track entitled "No Future in the Past," for which a video was shot in Miami, Florida during July 2008.

Other ventures

Acting career

Rowland branched into acting with her roles in the 2003 summer blockbuster Freddy vs. Jason and in the 2004 independent film The SeatFiller co-starring "All of Us actor Duane Martin, it released on DVD and VHS on February 21, 2006. She has also appeared on UPN sitcoms, The Hughleys, Eve, and Girlfriends and on an episode of the Nickelodeon children's comedy Taina. Rowland has also made television appearances on American Dreams as Martha Reeves of Martha & The Vandellas sing her version of "No Where To Run" and Born to Diva in 2003, Nick Cannon's MTV series Wild n Out in 2006 and has guest hosted on daytime talk show The View.

In October 2007, Rowland auditioned for the role of Louise, Carrie Bradshaw's assistant, in the 2008 film adaptation of HBO's comedy series Sex and the City. The part eventually went to Jennifer Hudson. Rowland appeared as a choirmaster on the reality show "Clash of the Choirs" in December 2007.

Philanthropy

Rowland is MTV's 2008 AIDS Awareness Ambassador for their Staying Alive programme. She has visited several countries in Africa including Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya spreading AIDS awareness.

Rowland, along with other recording artists such as P!nk, Avril Lavigne, Eve, Bow Wow, John Mayer, ex-Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, joined actresses Brittany Murphy, Charlize Theron, Rosario Dawson and Eva Mendes in ads for "empowerment tag" for the ALDO Fights AIDS campaign. The tags, worn as necklaces or bracelets, go on sale at ALDO stores March 1 and benefit the YouthAIDS initiative.

In 2007, Rowland, along with stars such as Jessica Simpson and the cast of the hit show Grey's Anatomy autographed pink Goody Ouchless brushes. The brushes were made available for auction on Ebay with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness. In addition Rowland teamed up with Kanye West, Nelly Furtado and Snoop Dogg and MTV, BET, and Nike to raise awareness about AIDS. Rowland was featured on a BET program, an MTV website, and designed a Nike sneaker for auction on Ebay with all proceeds going to AIDS Awareness.

Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, along with Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles and Solange Knowles announced the formation of the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up for the purpose of providing transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extends the philanthropic mission of the "Knowles-Rowland Center For Youth", a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.

Discography

Albums

DVDs

Tours

  • 2003: Simply Deeper European Tour
  • 2007-2008: Ms. Kelly Tour

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Beverly Hood Girl #2 appearances
2002 ''The Hughleys Carly 3 episodes
2003 Freddy vs. Jason Kia Waterson Supporting Role
American Dreams Martha Reeves 2 episodes
Eve Cleo 1 episode
2004 The Seat Filler Jhnelle Main Role
2006 Girlfriends Tammy Hamilton 3 episodes
2008 Asterix at the Olympic Games - Voice

Awards and nominations

These are the awards won by American R&B singer Kelly Rowland. (Note: this does not include Destiny's Child's award wins.)

Year Category Recording Result
Grammy Awards
2003 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration "Dilemma" Won
2003 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group "Dilemma" Nominated
Capital FM Awards
2003 London's Favorite International Single "Dilemma" Won
TMF Awards (Holland)
2003 Best R&B International (Kelly) N/A Won
2003 Best Video International "Dilemma" Won
Billboard Awards
2003 Hot Rap Track of The Year "Dilemma" Won
MTV Europe Music Awards 2008
2008 Act of 2008 Kelly Rowland Nominated
2008 Album of the Year Ms. Kelly Nominated
2008 Most Addictive Track Work Nominated

References

External links

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