Kelly Rowland on Destiny's Child and Her Gospel Turn

Farai Chideya talks with Kelly Rowland of the R&B trio Destiny's Child. Rowland discusses the future of the singing group, and her new gospel single.

FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

As a member of the trio Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland joined Beyonce Knowles and Michelle Williams in lighting up stages around the world and selling more than 40 million records worldwide. Last year, the group ended its collaboration, but Kelly is back, this time with a gospel record.

Her single You Will Win is featured on the compilation CD Spirit Rising. And Kelly says her love for gospel began when she was very young.

Ms. KELLY ROWLAND (Singer): I actually started singing in church when I was about five years old. I remember looking at the choirs and just hearing all of those great big beautiful voices. And there was this one woman who could just wail. And I remember trying to sing like her when I was like going home.

And I was (singing) I want to walk and talk with Jesus (speaking) and I just tried to do my own little thing. So I remember having my first solo. It was in the church and it was one of the best feelings in the world.

CHIDEYA: Tell me about this song, written by one of the other members of Destiny's Child, Michelle. Yeah, how did this whole project or collaboration come about?

Ms. ROWLAND: Well, I remember recording this song for my album and just loving it as soon as I heard it. Michelle played it for me and I was like, are you kidding me?

(Soundbite of song "You Will Win")

Ms. ROWLAND: (Singing) You've given it your all but I know what you're going through cause I've been there myself too, so don't you give in 'cause you will win...

(Speaking) I always like to think about young people when I'm singing or writing songs.

CHIDEYA: Yeah. I mean it seems like this song is very directly inspirational. It speaks not of kind of the great beyond but it speaks about struggles in the here and now.

Ms. ROWLAND: Definitely. Definitely. We all have different things that we go through in our everyday life and it's really important to know just at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you face, you know, that you're going to win at the end of the day. You got to believe in yourself. You got to believe in God, know that He's going to get you through it.

CHIDEYA: You know, this album was released on Matthew Knowles's record label, Music World Entertainment. Of course Matthew is the father of Beyonce, one of your other mates in Destiny's Child. And he also released something called Touch, the Pastor Rudy Experience. Tell me about Pastor Rudy, who he is, why he inspires you.

Ms. ROWLAND: Pastor Rudy is my pastor at home in Houston, Texas. And he's just such an amazing man. I remember him being so inspirational with Destiny's Child when we were coming up, and you know, being faced with so many different adversities, you know, as far as people saying that we weren't going to make it and our faith being tested and him always being there, him always praying for us, having our church family pray for us, and just being extremely supportive.

CHIDEYA: I guess one thing that strikes me is that both you and Michelle have gone back and forth between the worlds of secular music and gospel. But do you internally ever feel, well, you know, oh, I'm serving two different audiences, I'm worry about how it'll translate between them?

Ms. ROWLAND: Michelle has done an album, I've just done this song. But I will say that I don't let the world judge me at all because I only serve one God. I can't serve man, I won't serve man. But I will say that if you want to do both, I think that it's important to have a balance. And I love gospel music. I'm not going to sit here and overthink anything. If I love gospel music and I want to sing a gospel song, then I'm going to sing a gospel song.

CHIDEYA: Speaking of singing what you want to sing, you're working on a new album.

Ms. ROWLAND: Yes.

CHIDEYA: Why don't you fill us in on the details of what you're doing.

Ms. ROWLAND: I am currently working on my sophomore solo album. It's entitled Ms. Kelly, and I've been working on it for about a year now. It's been one of the best experiences I've ever had. Creatively, I just took myself to the next level. I had great producers come in from Scott Storch to Rockwilder, Polo the Don. It's just so many - great talent. I'm so excited about this record. I can't wait for the rest of the world to hear it. It's still in the works right now. Putting my little finishing touches on it now, and it'll be out the top of next year.

CHIDEYA: You're about to go on the road and play some dates overseas.

Ms. ROWLAND: It'll be my first time going to Singapore and also Jakarta. I'm excited to be performing. Again, it's been a minute. So I miss being on the road. But to go somewhere I've never been is always so exciting to me, because you never know what it holds.

CHIDEYA: And Destiny's Child has - it's officially over. Is it over, first of all? Are you guys really done?

Ms. ROWLAND: No. I think above anything, everybody's taken time for their personal goals. And you know, we all have different things that we want to do in life. You know, B is doing movies and doing her record. Michelle is putting together a record right now. And the most important thing is that we all are still extremely close.

We talk about every other day, we love each other, support each other. That's the most beautiful thing about Destiny's Child, and that's why we've been able to be around so long. But anything could happen. You know, anything could happen.

CHIDEYA: That's intriguing. Well, on that note of intrigue, I will leave you. Thank you so much, Kelly.

Ms. ROWLAND: Thank you so much.

CHIDEYA: Kelly Rowland is a member of Destiny's Child and she's also contributed a song, You Will Win, to the new album Spirit Rising.

(Soundbite of song "You Will Win")

Ms. ROWLAND: (Singing) You've been going through a situation, your back's against the wall, you've been (unintelligible) you've given it your all, but I know...

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