Kelly Rowland Shouts-Out That Grape Juice
Kelly: Wow, that’s a really cool title; nice introduction. I feel so glamorous (laughs).
Sam: Kelly, it really is an honour to finally be able to speak with you.
Kelly: Thank You.
Sam: How are you enjoying your stay here in London so far?
Kelly: I absolutely love London. I want to look for a place over here to come and camp out here for a little while. I love it. I’m really comfortable over here, I have the best fans here.
Sam: That’s great. After putting the word out on the site that we’d be interviewing you, the feedback from our readers was phenomenal. So saying that, I’m gonna fire away the questions…
Sam: Your great new single ‘Work’ is doing fantastically well here in the UK – especially the Freemasons remix. With suggestive lyrics such as ‘put it in/do it baby/do it baby’ some are a little confused about what the song is really about. Could you, please, clarify?
Kelly: (hysterical laugher) Basically, the song ‘Work’ is about the dynamic between a man and a woman – whichever you prefer. You meet somebody, you have the energy, flirting with somebody and telling them ‘In order to get a girl like me you’ve got to work, you got to put in work’. You can’t just come to me and buy me a drink and dance, maybe take me home or something like that. It’s not gonna be like that, you have to work for my attention, period, because I’m a lady (in English accent).
Sam: Indeed, you’re a lady (laughs). Ok, so upon the initial release of ‘Ms. Kelly’, ‘Work’ was a huge instant favourite among fans and general listeners as well. Many of our US readers want to know if the song is scheduled for a Stateside release?
Kelly: If they make it one in the way the UK did. The UK made ‘Work’ a great single, I have to say. I put the song out, but it’s really the fans that do everything. You know, the fans made ‘Work’ a great hit and I appreciate them for that. So if the US does the same, hey we could have something great on our hands (laughs). There’s nothing like the UK fanbase, though, I must say.
Sam: Great. We have to talk about the ‘Ms. Kelly’ re-release. Following the release of your sophomore effort ‘Ms. Kelly’ back in July last year, it’s since been announced that a revamped version of the album will be released in March this year. What’s the reason for re-releasing the project?
Kelly: I felt like the album needed a new life; so I wanted to put some new tracks on there and give it another shot, you know what I mean. So that’s exactly what I did. I recorded an amazing track with Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes titled ‘Daylight’ and of course the ‘Work’ Freemasons remix. It’s giving something new and different on the re-release, which is something I really wanted to do.
Sam: Is there a particular reason why a re-release of ‘Ms. Kelly’ – which I must say is my best album from last year (Kelly: Thank you) – was chosen over doing a whole new album altogether?
Kelly: Say that one more time.
Sam: Basically, was there a reason…
Sam: Was there a reason why you decided to re-release the album, as opposed to making a new album?
Kelly: You know what; I wanted to give the album another chance to be heard. I mean, I felt the first time not a lot of people knew about the album and that’s not fair to the fans, it’s not fair to me. So I wanted to make sure I released a single that would, basically, have the fans really gravitate towards the album – those who have heard it, those who haven’t heard it, those that possibly want something new as well on the release. So that’s why I made the decision.
Sam: …which is very-well understandable. Many are keen to find out what the ‘Ms. Kelly’ re-release will be serving up. Who did you work with on the new tracks?
Kelly: On the new tracks, of course the Freemasons did the remix to ‘Work’ as well as Travis McCoy on ‘Daylight’. I’m actually trying to get one more in. I’m in the studio right now and playing around here and there. I don’t know if some songs will make it or not, but I’m still working with different producers; Mark Feist, who did Destiny’s Child’s ‘Emotions’. A lot of different people.
Sam: There was something floating around about you working with Nate ‘Danja’ Hills, who did Britney’s Gimme More’. Is this correct?
Kelly: I wanna work with Danja, but Danja is really busy, he’s really busy with other artists. When he sees this, he’s gonna kill me (laughs). But I really love Danja, I’d love to work with him, he’s so talented.
Sam: Are there any track titles and/or personal favourites you could share with us from the new tracks you’ve recorded?
Kelly: From the new tracks, gosh I must say that I love them all, to be quite honest with you. There’s a song I recently did with Mark Feist that I really love. I have to say, though, that I love ‘Daylight’ with Travis. We had fun giving ‘Daylight’ (a Bobby Womack cover) a new, younger life, which was really cool; to introduce young people to some more soul and put a twist on it.
Sam: Will the original track list be preserved or will some tracks be replaced?
Kelly: Some tracks will be replaced. We are actually in the process of doing that now, piecing it together still. You want to make sure that you are making the right decisions for yourself and your fans, so that everybody’s happy.
Sam: That’s good.
Kelly: Great questions.
Sam: A lot of fans sent questions in; they were really hyped to be able to present them to you.
Kelly: Yeah, these are great questions, a lot of journalism going on. I love it.
Sam: Thank you. People want to know if there’s going to be a bonus DVD packaged with the album, perhaps, as you’ve done quite a few videos. There was the ‘Like This’ video, the ‘Ghetto’ video, I’ve seen ‘Daylight’ and ‘Work as well. Will there be a bonus DVD of sorts?
Kelly: (in posh English accent): Possibly
Kelly: (still with English accent) Possibly
Sam: You filmed a video for the single ‘Comeback’, right?
Kelly: Uh huh.
Sam: People really wanna know where it’s at?
Kelly: It’s so fly! I LOVE ‘Comeback’. Yeah…
Sam: Will we be seeing the video anytime soon?
Kelly: You will see the ‘Comeback’ video, on the re-release.
Sam: Of the existing tracks, the confessional ‘Still in Love with My Ex’ is the song many are hoping to be a single. Are there such plans for this?
Kelly: Yo, ya’ll have to call Sony. Make sure that whatever you want, they make it happen. First they have to, honestly, hear the fans feedback. The same way they (the fans) made ‘Work’ a big record, the fans make it happen now. Like, the artist can put out music, but look at what the fans are doing with the music industry. It’s all in their hands, so it’s really up to them. I love ‘Still In Love With my Ex’. It’s a personal confession for me, so I think that’s why it’s so close and personal to a lot of fans as well as those that, possibly, don’t even know Kelly Rowland. It’s something that really triggers and is familiar to them. I’d love for it to be a single. Anything could happen.
Sam: On ‘Ms. Kelly’ you flaunted a sassy, assertive, yet emotionally vulnerable side. What’s different with ‘Ms. Kelly’ this go round?
Kelly: For the re-release, I feel there is even more sassiness. When you think of ‘Work’, I like the fact that it was given a new life, like I said earlier. With ‘Daylight’, it brings more soul to the record, as well as the song I did with Mark Feist. It’s about me evolving as an artist and, just, trying out different things every time I put something out.
Sam: Though critically praised, ‘Ms. Kelly’s’ sales unfortunately didn’t reflect this. You’ve gone on record to say that you felt you’re label weren’t as supportive as they could have been initially; how was this so and how has it been combated this time around?
Kelly: Like I said, it takes the fans to let them see it’s a great record. They can see my passion, I think my management sees my passion, but it’s ultimately takes the label (to understand this) because they have to promote the record, they have to stand by you and be behind you. Now they are on board and everyone’s playing ball together (chuckles). So we’re all making it happen and that’s the most important thing, it’s working.
Sam: What’s your response to the calls from fans, naysayers etc that you should change labels, management etc? Because, I have to be honest with you, it’s something that is passed about quite a bit.
Kelly: It is passed about quite a bit. You know what’s so sad to me is that when people don’t know what’s going on, then they are basically entitled to their own opinion; opinions are like buttholes, everybody’s got one. The thing is, people are going to continue to say something, and they are going to continue to compare myself with Destiny’s Child, Beyonce, with Michelle, with whatever. They’ll do that forever and, of course; it’ll always be seen as what they want it to be seen as. But, you know what? Misery loves company and I don’t let miserable people bother me because I still love music, I love my family and I love everybody that I’m working with. If it needs change, then I’ll change it, when I see fit.
Sam: Great. Having experienced the ups and downs of the ever-changing music industry, what are the 3 things you see as necessary to survive in it?
Kelly: Hmm. Good people around you. I don’t keep ‘yes’ people around me; if I had a bad performance, I had a bad performance. If I was rude to somebody, I was rude to somebody and you shouldn’t act like that, you know what I mean. So it takes honest people around you. Passion. I feel like this could be taken away from me tomorrow, I’m not going to treat it like ‘Oh my God I get a number one record everyday’. That doesn’t happen. So I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in. Like when I first released the record and it didn’t do what I wanted it to do, that was also humbling. There are so many different experiences you go though that, basically, keeps your feet on the ground and I think that’s a great thing. I also think it’s something from God; I feel like this is a gift, I can’t hinder my gift at all.
Sam: The U.K. is arguably home to your most loyal fanbase, why do you think the UK is more appreciative of your music than the US?
Kelly: That’s a good question. I say, everyone’s a lot more open minded to music here. Nothing’s separated, there no ‘urban here, no pop here, this here’ Everybody listens to different types of music since they were small. At least that’s the impression I get when I talk to fans and different people who love music here. They can be like ‘Oh my God I love U2’ and in the same sentence say they love Jay-Z, that they love Coldplay or a new artist such as Adele or maybe Amy Winehouse. It’s really cool that people are open to music. Here it’s a passion, rather than a trend. Is that mean?
Sam: Nope, it’s not mean at all. It’s good that you’re being honest.
Sam: Though the ‘Ms. Kelly’ is your priority at present, have you started thinking about the direction of your next record?
Kelly: Totally. I’m just boggled right now because the sky is the limit. There are so many things I’d love to try. Like doing an album and trying out different songs, but live. Not actually recording it in the studio, but doing the song live and recording that and putting that out as an album. That would be so much fun.
Sam: So live instrumentation etc?
Kelly: Oh definitely; live instrumentation, live vocals, backgrounds, everything. Doing it with the instruments, the artist and someone that puts together music, doing it live right on the spot. I saw Timbaland with Justin Timberlake at a show and he was putting together beats, like live, and I was crying (laughs) because it was just so amazing. I love creativity, like to that point, where it just moved me to emotion. I was like, ‘I want to do something like that’. I sat home and thought ‘what can I do that will be close?’ and that would be it. To put together a whole album live, doing it in front of an audience and just make it real hot and gritty.
Sam: Any producers you’d like to work with on the next go round?
Kelly: Pharrell. I’d love to work with will.i.am. I’d LOVE to work with will.i.am. I love him. I love him and Sweetback (Sade’s band)
Sam: Moving on, do you hit up sites such as ThatGrapeJuice.net to keep yourself posted on the latest goings on in music industry?
Kelly: Sometimes. I’ve just learned that in the past when I go on blog sites not everyone is happy with themselves so they have to tear you down. So I don’t go on them anymore. I just make my own little pictures books on my computer (laughs) and learn different things to do with iMovie and I make my own little world. That’s just me, that’s what I like to do.
Sam: Just to let you know, not everybody’s hating or coming at anyone from a derogatory angle…
Kelly: No, no, I know. I just like to keep myself free from all of that. It seems like every time I wanna even look, just to get some news or anything, if I’m out of the country or whatever it is, I’m like ‘God darn it! I’m sorry, my shoe was too big’ (laughs). I know not everyone is like that, but I just like to protect myself.
Sam: Which is understandable. So, tell me a little known fact about you?
Kelly: Do people know I like to eat? (All: laughs). I love food.
Aide: We found that Thai!
Kelly: My cousin would always say ‘you don’t look like you eat as much as you do’. I’m pretty much a homebody, I don’t know if people know that. I like to pick up my nephew from school. Ermm, go the grocery store and cook. Oh and I love my Nintendo DS.
Sam: You’re obviously enjoying a lot of success this year with ‘Work’, with the upcoming re-release and whatnot, but there are also a few releases from other female heavy-weights this year– including Janet and Mariah. Whose projects are you looking forward to this year?
Kelly: I love Mariah. I really can’t wait to see what Mariah does. I was really looking forward to Alicia Keys as well and I’m definitely satisfied with the album that she brought. Janet Jackson, I can’t wait to see what she’s gonna bring.
Sam: Have you heard the ‘Feedback’ song?
Kelly: I heard ‘Feedback’; only once, but it definitely made me dance – I was in the club.
Sam: A few random bits and pieces, here. The last time you cursed somebody out?
Kelly: (laughs) (looks to aide) Was it today? I didn’t cuss you out? I’m sorry. I guess today (All: laugh). I thought you were a soldier, no pun intended (laughs).
Sam: Not sure if you’ll answer this one, but: Obama or Clinton?
Kelly: Ohh too political.
Sam: Favourite Destiny’s Child song?
Kelly: It’s from our last album, the ‘Destiny’ Fulfilled’ album, ‘Love’. I love ‘Love’, it’s so beautiful. That one, and one that goes down in history ‘Say My Name’ – that has to be one of the best tracks of all-time, if I must say so myself (laughs).
Sam: I’m sure many would agree. Your favourite Beyonce song?
Kelly: Favourite Beyonce song? Oh, ‘Flaws and All’
Sam: Favourite Michelle song?
Kelly: ‘Heart To Yours’. It’s one of the most beautiful records; I love Michelle’s voice on it and I love the production and everything. It’s just so fly and cool.
Sam: Real quick, favourite LeToya song?
Kelly: Let’s see, I liked her ‘All Eyes On Me’ record
Sam: I liked that one too.
Kelly: It was a good record.
Sam: Are there any tour plans, a live DVD? A lot of your fans want to know if you’ll be doing anything along those lines.
Kelly: I sure hope so. I’m so ready to tour; I sleep with ideas in my head. I can’t wait, that’ll be so exciting for me.
Sam: Lastly, what is your ‘Comeback’ as an artist? What makes fans comeback to Kelly Rowland?
Kelly: I think they sense I’m real, you know what I mean. I’m a real person, a real human being, a real person that loves music and they see and hear that on my records and appreciate that. I guess that’s something we identify with each other with. What you put out, you get back.
Sam: Thank you very much Kelly for your time.
Kelly: No, thank you.
Kelly’s awesome new single ‘Work’ is in stores & iTunes now (UK). Do be sure to pick up a copy.
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