By Kelley L. Carter, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — Kelly Rowland is finally independent.
The singer, who spent nearly 10 years with Destiny’s Child, says she’s now living the life she used to sing about. Before breaking up in 2005, Destiny’s Child — which also featured Beyonce Knowles and Michelle Williams— topped charts with girl-power tunes such as Independent Women, the theme from Charlie’s Angels. But after a series of flat solo efforts, Rowland, 28, has figured out her formula. She sings three tracks on French DJ David Guetta’s One Love, which is being released today.
“I feel empowered. Finally,” Rowland says with a laugh and a snap of her fingers. “When you don’t believe in yourself, you feel like you’re living in fear. You don’t give yourself the opportunity to believe that you can. And as much as you tell yourself you can’t do it, you end up not doing it. Me? I was complacent and comfortable where I was.”
Not anymore. In May, Rowland released When Love Takes Over, the lead single of Guetta’s One Love. The international hit reached No. 76 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and No. 48 on USA TODAY’s rhythmic airplay chart. After Guetta and Rowland appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, the track entered the iTunes Top 100 Songs, where it’s now No. 93.
This success comes on the heels of Rowland ending a longtime managerial relationship with Knowles’ father, Matthew. She says there’s no bad blood — Knowles is still one of her closest pals — but she was looking for a new direction.
Instead of running away from the international market that has adopted her, she has decided to embrace it.
“Here, sometimes it’s like my music didn’t quite work, but overseas it’s on top of everybody’s chart. I’ve had more international success than domestic success, and I think that opens my eyes up to music. I mean, I just got back from performing in Lebanon. Lebanon!” she says.
Rowland, who is single, says she hopes to release a solo record at the end of 2009 or early 2010.
“I have a new boost of energy,” she says. “All the creative juices are flowing, and I’m having so much fun in the studio because I’m making dance records. And I’m working with producers who are just as curious about the sound internationally, too.”
Rowland says her next release will be dance-heavy, but she won’t forget her R&B roots. She still covets domestic success; she’s had it before with Destiny’s Child, which sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
But working toward that success won’t be her guiding light, she says.
“I don’t ever want to get in a box to where I’m thinking that this is the only place that can ever exist,” she says. “I love being overseas just as much as I love being home. Plus, I know all my eating spots over there now, so I’m good!”