If anyone is allowed to be a diva it's Kelly Rowland, one third of what many consider the most successful all-female groups of all time, Destiny's Child. But Rowland, now a solo artist with an eponymous, dance-heavy forthcoming albumboasting production by David Guetta and Dr. Luke, is an unassuming,poised woman who isn't fazed by the "bullshit that comes with theterritory." The video for first single "Commander," which features Rowland rocking superhero-esque looks as she belts out soaring vocals, is further proof that she's nolonger the cute teenage girl sharing a chorus. But this isn't the new-and-improved Kelly Rowland. Over the phone in Paris, the 29-year-old told PAPERMAG that this is simply Kelly Rowland being Kelly Rowland-- a self-professed Intervention-watching nerd with dreams of frolicking on the beach naked, and who considers momentson the tour bus with "the girls" to be more special than winning aGrammy. Now that's our kind of superstar.
Alot of artists are moving toward a futuristic, dance-heavy sound. Whywere you influenced to go this direction?
I spent about a year of my life in Europe really listening to a whole bunch of Europeans DJsand hearing dance music a lot on the radio and really lovingit. But I didn't really think that I would do a dance record until lwent out in the South of France and David Guetta was spinning at a club. Listening to him was justcrazy. I heard the track "When Love Takes Over" and I asked if I could take it to London towrite lyrics to it. And so we wrote "When Love Takes Over" and it was my firstintroduction to dance music. Then I went to Europe to promote therecord with David and it was a whole other monster. It's really aculture and I love it.
You also worked with hit-making-machine Dr. Luke.
I love him. He's such a scientist.
Tellme about "Commander," your first single. The video is very superhero. You seem like you're free and taking control. Is this true?
That'sexactly what I'm doing -- that's the space that I am in. I feel likeI'm the commander! (laughs) I really wanted to try something new as an artist. "WhenLove Takes Over" worked and I loved the way I felt, I loved the way my voice sounded. In thisgeneration and this day and time, no one is putting soul in dancemusic... no pop artist. I thought maybe that was something I could try.And then it works? What are the chances to that?
The album is self-titled. Are you introducing Kelly Rowland the real solo artist and person to the world?
It's more so introducing myself as Kelly Rowland being Kelly Rowland and just being myself. I'm the most confident I've been on a record ever. And it's by myself. I love it.
What inspired your look for this album?
It'sdifferent being over here in Europe and just being able to look atdifferent magazines and fashion shows and things like that. And justthinking about the look and working with different stylists as well. Iwanted to make sure it was a look that was all me, you know?
Are you checking out any shows while in Paris?
Iwent to Jean Paul Gaultier. It was so fly. He had fabric that was in 3Dthat was amazing. He completely blows your mind every time.
You'rereally hitting notes on this one. Was it a vocal challenge for you tosing dance music versus working with a more r&b sound? Are we not going to hearany soulful runs anymore?
Youwill hear some R&B-ish music that is inspired by dance. But more sothan anything, hitting the notes wasn't hard. Itwas always there, but I never used it. Why not? I guess Ijust didn't feel confident enough to use it. And when I did "When LoveTakes Over" and "Commander" I was like, "Oh, this does work!"
Who are you listening to right now? Who's really killing it for you?
You know what I absolutely love right now? Old disco music. (laughs) I'm soserious! From like Diana Ross to Deniece Williams, Donna Summers,Dionne Warwick. Then I went to a club in Germany the other day and theyplayed the freshest music. Like early '90s. It was so cool.
You've been famous for the majority of your life. What's the best and worst part of fame for you?
Thebest part is the creative part -- being able to make the music. Theworst part? Probably the bullshit that comes with the territory.There are some fake people. What else? I'd say people wanting to know allof your business. But you understand it -- that's like the interestingpart of it. I remember wanting to know every specific of Whitney andMariah's life. I wanted to be there when they woke up in the morning.When the first time someone asked for my autograph I was like, "What? Ihave crazy-looking hair right now. You really want my autograph?"
Youcan't get caught up in fame. Fame comes and fame goes. People change.They change and you know, you can be up one day and down the next. Ithink about fame as just being a part of it. I think about my home aswhere I can just be me, my family as where I can just be me, my friends are where I can just be me.
Destiny's Child were such a phenomenon. What do you consider the most memorable and meaningful moments with Destiny's Child?
Themost memorable moment with the girls... Those are always moments thatno one can see. Where we're talking on the bus, pouring out our soulsas friends do -- moments like that. Those were always great moments,little moments that no one ever saw. Where we'd be in the elevatorwhere one of us will just start singing "Lets go out to the movies!" (Kelly proceeds to sing to me in three parts!). Like things like that. I love that. That's always fun.
What's your all-time favorite Destiny's Child song and why? It doesn't have to be a hit single either...
Okgood! It's this song that we did called "Love" from Destiny Fulfilled.I love that song because the harmonies were really pretty. I rememberthat was the first time I vocally sang a chorus and I was like, "Do youguys like it?" to the girls. We were all in there writing the songtogether. It was so beautiful.
Now for some fun questions... Do you have a favorite reality show?
Rightnow my favorite reality show is Intervention. I mean, I swear I justwanna slit my wrists by the time I'm done watching it, but I find it sointriguing how these people go on the road to recovery. I also wantedto be a therapist, so I find behaviors and relationships withfamily very interesting. (Laughs) I'm such a nerd!
What about the Nicki Minaj and Lil' Kim so-called beef over Minaj copying Lil' Kim's style and not giving her credit? Any thoughts?
Ohmy God, you know what... tobe completely honest with you, I think there's just a space for everybody. I've seen Nicki say in many interviewshow Kim has paved the way. But I know when Nicki raps, it's all aboutNicki. And I can't be mad at her about that. And same with Lil' Kim.
And is Christina Aguilera copying Lady Gaga?
Ihaven't really seen Christina. The only thing that I've seen so far isthe Bionic album cover to be honest. She looks really pretty. It doesn't look like Gaga to me. But I do love Christina's song"Woohoo" with Nicki.
What's one thing about you that would surprise people?
My biggest dreamthat I haven't built up the courage to do, is to go to the beachnaked. But when there's no people. I wanna go diving late, late, lateat night totally naked! I'm a bit of a nudist. (laughs) I like towalk around the house nude, chilling. That's the time where you canjust be you.
And it seems like you're just being you on this record!
I'm just being me on the record. Me and all my nudity.
So why aren't you nude on the album cover?
Honey! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Although I do have a picture of myself in the house like that. (laughs)
Kelly Rowland comes out September 14th.