Kelendria "Kelly" Rowland (born February 11, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, model and television host. Born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Houston, Texas, Rowland rose to fame in the late 1990s as one of the founding members of the girl group Destiny's Child. She has sold more than 50 million records worldwide with the group. and over five million records in her total career.
During the hiatus of the group, Rowland collaborated with rapper Nelly on the single "Dilemma", a worldwide number-one hit, and released her rock pop-influenced debut solo album Simply Deep in 2002. It became a commercial success, selling more than two million copies worldwide, and garnered three more or less successful singles, among "Stole" and "Can't Nobody". Following the formal disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, Rowland's often-delayed second album, Ms. Kelly, was released in 2007. Moderately successful on the charts, it spawned the hit singles "Like This" and "Work".
In 2002, Rowland branched into acting, which led to guest stints on sitcom series such as The Hughleys and Girlfriends, and leading roles in big-screen movies like Freddy vs. Jason (2003) and The Seat Filler (2004). In 2009, she became the host of the Bravo competition series The Fashion Show alongside Isaac Mizrahi.
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, she relocated to Houston, Texas, where she was practically raised by the Knowles family. Rowland was placed into a rapping and dancing group, along with her friends Beyonc? 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, Beyonc?'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.
Breakthrough with Destiny's Child
Main article: 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 eight million copies in the US and a massive 13 million worldwide, 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 remix album, This Is the Remix, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects.
Solo career establishment (2002?2003)
Main article: Simply Deep
Still with Destiny's Child, Rowland teamed up with rapper Nelly in 2002 to record the chorus vocals on the track "Dilemma" for his album Nellyville. Released as the album's second single, the song rose to one of the most successful singles of the year, topping many charts worldwide, and saw Rowland establishing herself as a solo artist, winning her a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and a Billboard Award the following year.
Originally expected in early 2003, the success of the collaboration caused the label to advance the release date of her debut solo album, Simply Deep, which Rowland rushed within three weeks to get done. Featuring production by Mark J. Feist, Robert "Big Bert" Smith, Rich Harrison, and singers Brandy and Solange Knowles, the album took Rowland's solo work further into an alternative music mixture, which Rowland described as a "weird fusion a little bit of Sade and a little bit of rock." Released stateside in October 2002 and internationally in 2003, Simply Deep peaked at number twelve on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., where it was eventually certified gold by the RIAA for more than 600,000 copies sold. Released to even bigger success in international territories, the album topped the UK Albums Chart and became a gold-seller in Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and other countries, resulting into a worldwide sales total of 2.5 million copies.
The album yielded three singles. "Stole," a rock pop-influenced mid-tempo track about loss, was released as the album's lead single and became an international top ten, peaking at number two in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the song failed to capitalize of the success of "Dilemma," reaching the top thirty only. The album's second single, an up-tempo track entitled "Can't Nobody," charted significantly lower in the U.S., but enjoyed top twenty success throughout Australia and parts of Europe, where it became another top five hit on the UK Singles Chart. Final single "Train on a Track" was featured on the soundtrack of the romantic comedy film Maid in Manhattan (2003) but failed to chart or sell noticeably, except for the UK again, where it became her fourth consecutive top twenty entry.
Destiny Fulfilled and hiatus (2004?2005)
Destiny's Child performing their 2000 hit "Say My Name" during their farewell concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It.
After a three-year journey that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Rowland rejoined Knowles and Williams for Destiny's Child's fourth studio album 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 their final single "Stand Up for Love." Destiny's Child was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2006. They were also recognized as the world's best-selling female group of all time.
That same year, Rowland was featured on rapper Trina's hit single "Here We Go," the lead single of the Glamorest Life album (2005). The song became another success for the artist, who scored another top twenty entry in Finland, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom with the collaboration.
Ms. Kelly (2007?2008)
Main article: Ms. Kelly
Rowland's second solo album, Ms. Kelly, was released in June 2007. Originally entitled My Story, the album's first version was actually scheduled for a June 2006 release, but the singer, her management and Columbia Records decided to shelve the album last minute to re-work a version with a different vibe as the singer considered the final tracklisting "too full of midtempos and ballads." Rowland eventually consulted additional producers to collaborate on the album, renamed Ms. Kelly, including Billy Mann, Scott Storch, and Atlanta-based Polow da Don, who contributed the single "Like This," a collaboration with rapper Eve, to the album. A moderate success around the globe, the song reached the top ten in Canada, Ireland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Upon its release, Ms. Kelly debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with moderately successful first week sales of 86,000 copies. Outside the United States, the album widely failed to reprise the success of Simply Deep, barely reaching the top forty on the majority of all charts it appeared on, except for the United Kingdom where it opened at number thirty-seven.
In continued support of the album, Rowland released the album cuts "Ghetto" and "Work" as singles, respectively. While the Snoop Dogg-featured "Ghetto" underperformed stateside, the latter became a top ten hit in most European markets including France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In 2008, a reissued version of the album, branded Ms. Kelly Deluxe, received a release, its lead single being the previously unreleased Bobby Womack cover "Daylight," a collaboration with Gym Class Heroes that reached the top twenty of the UK Singles Chart. By April 2008, Ms. Kelly had managed to sell just over 1.2 million copies worldwide. Also in 2008, Rowland recorded a single with French singer N?diya, an uptempo urban pop track entitled "No Future in the Past", for which a video was shot in Miami, Florida during July 2008,
Departure from Columbia Records and new manager (2009?present)
In February 2009 a duet with Italian singer Tiziano Ferro, "Breathe Gentle," which was released as a single in early 2009 and reached the top ten of the Dutch Singles Chart. Rowland ended her professional relationship with both manager Mathew Knowles and former label Columbia Records in order to explore other ventures. Although the singer is currently still between labels and doesn't have concrete plans for another solo album, she hinted that her next effort may be affected by her collaboration on "When Love Takes Over," the lead single of David Guetta's upcoming album One Love. The song was released in April 2009 and has seen international success, peaking at number-one in several countries. On June 8, Rowland announced that she has drafted Jeff Rabham as her new manager. Rabham has also worked for singers Kelis and Michelle Branch.
Film and television career
Rowland has been seen in commercials as a celebrity spokesperson for the "Dark & Lovely" hair product line from Soft Sheen-Carson (consumer products division of L'Oreal USA, Inc.). After which, Rowland branched out into acting with a guest stint on the sitcom The Hughleys in 2002, before appearing in other UPN shows such as Eve and Girlfriends in the years of 2003 and 2006 respectively. Having played the role of Tammy Hamilton, an ambitious 21-year-old apprentice to realtor Toni (Jill Marie Jones) in latter sitcom, Rowland initially hoped her three-episode stint would expand to a larger recurring role, but as the show was moved to The CW network the following year plans for a return eventually went nowhere. Also in 2003, she appeared in American Dreams as Martha Reeves of Martha & The Vandellas, singing a version of the group's single "Nowhere to Run."
In 2003, Rowland made her big screen debut in the slasher film Freddy vs. Jason, a crossover film directed by Ronny Yu. Cast as one of the female leads, she portrayed the frank best friend of lead character Lori Campbell, played by Monica Keena. Released to generally mixed reviews from critics, the movie topped the U.S. box office, gaining $36.4 million on its first weekend. Budgeted at $25 million, the film became a financial success, resulting in a worldwide box office total of $114.3 million.
The following year, Rowland starred opposite Duane Martin and Shemar Moore in the romantic comedy The Seat Filler (2004), executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. In the film, for which she recorded two songs, Rowland played a pop star who falls for an awards-show seat filler she mistakes for a high-profile record executive. Released to a limited number of festivals only, the film went straight-to-DVD in 2006. Rowland also shortly made an appearance on Motown's 45th Anniversary show in 2005 which featured Kelly filling in for Diana Ross who chose not to appear. Kelly performed along side Mary Wilson (singer) and Cindy Birdsong for The Supremes performance.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.
In fall 2007, Rowland appeared as a choirmaster on the NBC reality show Clash of the Choirs. Rowland was among superstars like Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, and Blake Shelton. Rowland's choir finished fifth in the competition. In 2009, she was cast to host Bravo's reality competition series The Fashion Show alongside Isaac Mizrahi. The series premiered on May 7, 2009.. In August 2009, Rowland will join Sean Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment with an upcoming guest appearance on Diddy's new MTV reality series StarMaker.
Rowland and the Knowles family founded the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up to provide transitional housing for 2005 Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extended the philanthropic mission of the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston. Also in 2005, Rowland and Knowles lent their voices to a collaboration with Kitten K. Sera, entitled "All That I'm Lookin for." The song appeared on The Katrina CD album, whose proceeds went to the Recording Artists for Hope organization.
In 2006, Rowland joined other artists such as Pink and Avril Lavigne in ads for so-called empowerment tags for the ALDO Fights AIDS campaign, which went on sale exclusively at ALDO stores and benefited the YouthAIDS initiative. In 2007, Rowland, along with stars such as Jessica Simpson and the cast of Grey's Anatomy autographed pink Goody Ouchless brushes that were made available for auction on Ebay, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness. In addition, the singer teamed up with Kanye West, Nelly Furtado and Snoop Dogg to designed a Nike sneaker for another Ebay auction. All proceeds went to AIDS Awareness.
In 2008, Rowland officially became ambassador for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, which aims to reduce discrimination against HIV and Aids victims. She has since visited projects in Tanzania and Kenya to promote the charity, and underwent a HIV and Aids test in Africa to raise awareness of the deadly diseases. In March 2009, she spearheaded a bone marrow drive. As reported, Rowland also is readying a new charity called I Heart My Girlfriend, which will serve as an interactive support system for teenage girls.
In 2009, Kelly Rowland is among those who have connected with Serve.MTV.com, MTV?s platform to connect young people with local volunteerism opportunities, for a series of on-air PSAs. From battling homelessness to beautifying impoverished neighborhoods to saving whales, Rowland is joined by Tyrese Gibson, Cameron Diaz, Will.I.Am, Hayden Panettiere, Pete Wentz, Flyleaf and Sean Kingston as they discuss causes they volunteer to support, and urge young people to join with their friends in making civil service a part of their lifestyle .