Kelly Rowland (born February 11, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, and occasional actress, who rose to fame in the late 1990s as one of the founding members of the girl group Destiny's Child. Rowland has sold more than 50 million records worldwide with the group.
During the hiatus of the group, Rowland collaborated with rapper Nelly on the worldwide number-one hit "Dilemma" and released her rock pop-influenced debut solo album Simply Deep in 2002. It became a commercial success, eventually selling more than two million copies worldwide, and garnered three more or less successful singles, among "Stole." Following the formal disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, Rowland's second album, Ms. Kelly, was released in 2007. The album spawned the international number-one single "Work". As a solo artist, she has sold more than four 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 television series such as The Hughleys and Girlfriends
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 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
Main article: Kelly Rowland discography
2002: Simply Deep
2007: Ms. Kelly
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, 8 Days of Christmas, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects
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 "weired fusion [of] 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 terrotories, 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 noticebaly, except for the UK again, where it became her fourth conseuctive top twenty entry
2004—2005: Destiny Fulfilled and hiatus
After a three-year journey that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Rowland rejoined Knowles and Williams for Destiny's Child 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.
2007—2008: Ms. Kelly
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, and although she world premiered a CKB-produced lead single named "Gotsta Go" on the 2006 MTV Asia Awards, Rowland, her management and Columbia Records eventually decided to shelve the album and 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 Sean Garrett, 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.
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 86,000 copies (almost 7,000 plus than her previous album Simply Deep); making it Rowland's first domestic top 10 album. 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 top ten entry on the Japanese Foreign Charts. In continued support of the album, Rowland released the album cuts "Ghetto" and "Work" as singles, respectively. While Snoop Dogg-featuring "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 with the name 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.. Also in 2008, Rowland recorded a 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, as well as 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.
On January 28, 2009, Rowland officially announced in a joint statement with Mathew Knowles, her manager, that they were ending their professional relationship, while maintaining her deal with Columbia Records. Rowland was recording her third full length album for the label, but decided to ask for a release from her contract with Columbia Records (which was granted) in order to explore other ventures. Rowland declared that she is still recording and will continue work on her third album, even without the support of a label. She is featured on the lead single of David Guetta's upcoming album, "When Love Takes Over", which is to be released June 29th. 
In addition, Rowland along with Isaac Mizrahi has been tapped to host Bravo's current reality competish series The Fashion Show. In the show, she leads a panel of judges charged with assessing the work of professional fashion designers. Judges include Fern Mallis, who is widely credited with creating New York's Fashion Week. The series is produced by J.D. Roth's 3 Ball Prods and the show premiered on Bravo, on May 7, 2009
Rowland branched into acting with her supporting role in the 2003 summer blockbuster Freddy vs. Jason. In 2004, she starred in the lead role of the independent film The Seat Filler, which co-starred All of Us actor Duane Martin. The film was released directly to DVD and VHS on February 21, 2006. Rowland 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 two television appearances on American Dreams as Martha Reeves of Martha & The Vandellas singing a version of the group's pop single, "Nowhere to Run". In 2006, Rowland appeared on Nick Cannon's MTV series Wild n Out and was a guest host on the 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.
Since early May 2009, Rowland has been featured as a co-host on the Bravo reality TV series The Fashion Show with Isaac Mizrahi.
Rowland, along with other recording artists such as Pink, 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-Smith 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.
In 2008, Rowland became MTV's AIDS Awareness Ambassador for their Staying Alive program. She has visited several countries in Africa including Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya spreading AIDS awareness.
Rowland, as recently appointed Staying Alive Foundation Ambassador chronicles her first-hand experiences with young people affected by HIV/AIDS. This one-hour show features intimate discussions between Kelly and young adults from around the globe, who give insights and breadth to their lives and relationships in their respective countries. While in Kenya, Kelly gets tested for HIV, to encourage the young people she meets to know their status. Some of the people Kelly meets on her journey include a former sex worker in the heart of Tanzania's 'red light' district, a group of HIV+ people educating kids in schools in Kenya and in her native country, a young American woman whose mother died as a result of AIDS.
In March 2009, Kelly Rowland sang Happy Birthday and helped launch a Bone Marrow Drive for Jasmina Anema, a 6 year old Leukemia patient at the NYU Medical Center in New York