Rowland in April 2012
|Born||Kelendria Trene Rowland
February 11, 1981
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Tim Witherspoon (m. 2014)|
Kelendria Trene "Kelly" Rowland (born February 11, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. Rowland rose to fame in the late 1990s as a member of Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. During their hiatus, Rowland released her debut solo album Simply Deep (2002), which sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and produced the number-one single "Dilemma" with Nelly, as well as the international top-ten hit "Stole". Rowland also transitioned into acting, with guest appearances in television sitcoms, and starring roles in Freddy vs. Jason (2003) and The Seat Filler (2005).
Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, she released her second album Ms. Kelly (2007), which included international hits "Like This" and "Work". In 2009, Rowland served as a host on the first season of The Fashion Show, and was featured on David Guetta's number-one dance hit "When Love Takes Over". The song's global success influenced Rowland to explore dance music on her third album Here I Am (2011), which spawned the international top-ten hit "Commander" and US R&B/Hip-Hop number-one "Motivation". In 2011, she returned to television as a judge on the eighth season of The X Factor UK, and in 2013, became a judge on the third and final season of The X Factor USA. Rowland's fourth album Talk a Good Game (2013), which saw a return to her "R&B roots", was released to positive reviews.
Throughout a career spanning 18 years, Rowland has sold over 27 million records as a solo artist and 60 million records with Destiny's Child. Her work has earned her several awards and nominations, including four Grammy Awards, two Billboard Music Awards and two Soul Train Music Awards. Rowland has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Destiny's Child, and as a solo artist she has been honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Essence for her contributions to music. In 2014, Fuse ranked Rowland in their "100 Most Award-Winning Artists" list at number 20.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Artistry
- 5 Discography
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Tours
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Kelendria Trene Rowland was born on February 11, 1981, in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the daughter of Doris Rowland (née Garrison; December 6, 1947 – December 2, 2014) and Christopher Lovett Rowland. Kelly has an older brother named Orlando. 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. Rowland was placed into a girl group, along with Beyoncé and friend LaTavia Roberson. Originally named Girl's Tyme in 1992, they were eventually cut down to six members. West coast R&B producer, Arne Frager, flew to Houston to see them and eventually brought them to his studio, The Plant Recording Studio, in Northern California. As part of efforts to sign Girl's Tyme 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.
To manage the group, Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé's father, resigned in 1995 from his job as a medical-equipment salesman. He dedicated his time and established a "boot camp" for their training. At this time Rowland moved in with the Knowles's. Not long after the inclusion of Rowland, Mathew cut the original lineup to four with LeToya Luckett joining in 1993. Rehearsing in Tina Knowles' hairstyling salon and their backyards, the group continued performing as an opening act for other established R&B girl groups of the time. They auditioned before record labels and were finally signed to Elektra Records, only to be dropped months later, before they could release an album.
1997–2001: 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". The album established the group as a viable act in the music industry, amassing moderate sales and winning the group three Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. The group rose to fame after releasing their multi-platinum second album The Writing's on the Wall in 1999. The album featured some of the group's most widely known songs such as "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Jumpin' Jumpin'" and "Say My Name", which became their most-successful song at the time, and would remain as one of their signature songs. "Say My Name" won Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards. The Writing's on the Wall sold more than 15 million copies 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 in 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 departure. 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 Billboard Hot 100 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.
Later that year, while Destiny's Child was completing their third album Survivor, Rowland appeared on the remix of Avant's single "Separated". Survivor, which channeled the turmoil the band underwent, spawned its lead single of the same name, which was a response to the experience. The song went on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. 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 the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 663,000 copies sold. To date, Survivor has sold over twelve million copies worldwide, over forty percent of which were sold in the US alone. The album also spawned the number-one hit "Bootylicious". After releasing their remix album This Is the Remix in 2002, the group announced their temporary break-up to pursue solo projects.
2002–06: Simply Deep and acting career debut
In 2002, Rowland was featured on Nelly's single "Dilemma", which won the pair a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. The song became one of the most successful singles of the year, topping many charts worldwide including the United States, where it became Rowland's first number-one single as a solo artist, selling worldwide over 7,6 million copies. Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian wrote that because of the song's success, "Rowland is no longer a mere backing vocalist for Beyoncé".
Rowland's debut solo album, Simply Deep, was released on October 22, 2002 in the US. Featuring production contributions by Mark J. Feist, Big Bert, Rich Harrison, and singers Brandy and Solange Knowles providing background vocals, the album took Rowland's solo work further into an alternative music mixture, which Rowland described as a "weird fusion [of] a little bit of Sade and a little bit of rock." Simply Deep debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 and at number three on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with first-week sales of 77,000 copies sold. It was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of 2013, Simply Deep remains as Rowland's best-selling album in the US, with 602,000 copies sold. Released to an even bigger success in international territories, the album topped the UK Albums Chart and became a gold-seller in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, resulting in worldwide sales total of 2.5 million copies. Simply Deep yielded the international top-ten single "Stole" and the UK top-five single "Can't Nobody".
Rowland transitioned into acting in 2002, playing the recurring role of Carly in the fourth season of UPN sitcom The Hughleys. She continued her acting career the following year, with guest roles in UPN sitcom Eve as Cleo, and in NBC drama series American Dreams as Martha Reeves. In August 2003, Rowland made her big screen debut playing the supporting role of Kia Waterson alongside Robert Englund and Monica Keena in the slasher film, Freddy vs. Jason, which grossed $114.5 million at the box office worldwide.
In July 2005, Rowland starred opposite Duane Martin and Shemar Moore in the romantic comedy The Seat Filler, which grossed $17.9 million worldwide. She played Jhnelle, a pop star who falls for an awards-show seat filler whom she mistakes for a high-profile entertainment attorney. After a three-year hiatus that involved concentration on individual solo projects, Rowland rejoined Beyoncé and Michelle Williams for Destiny's Child's final studio album Destiny Fulfilled, released on November 15, 2004. The album hit number two on the Billboard 200, and spawned the top-five singles "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier", which features T.I. and Lil Wayne. The following year, Destiny's Child embarked on a worldwide concert tour, Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It. During the last stop of the European tour in Barcelona, Spain on June 11, Rowland announced that they would disband following the North American leg of the tour. Destiny's Child released their first compilation album Number 1's on October 25 in the US, which peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. On March 28, 2006, Destiny's Child accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rowland and Beyoncé founded the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity set up to provide transitional housing for victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Survivor Foundation extended the philanthropic mission of the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston. Rowland and Beyoncé lent their voices to a collaboration with Kitten Sera, entitled "All That I'm Lookin for". The song appeared on The Katrina CD album, whose proceeds went to the Recording Artists for Hope organization. In 2006, Rowland joined other artists such as Pink and Avril Lavigne in ads for so-called empowerment tags for the ALDO Fights AIDS campaign, which went on sale exclusively at ALDO stores and benefited the YouthAIDS initiative. Rowland returned to television that same year, playing Tammy Hamilton, in the sixth season of UPN sitcom Girlfriends. Rowland initially hoped her three-episode stint would expand to a larger recurring role, but as the show was moved to The CW Television Network the following year plans for a return eventually went nowhere.
2007–09: Ms. Kelly, new management and label
In June 2007, Kelly Rowland embarked on the Ms. Kelly Tour to promote her second solo album Ms. Kelly. The five date tour visited Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. Ms. Kelly was released on July 3, 2007 in the United States. Originally entitled My Story, the album's first version was actually scheduled for a June 2006 release, but Rowland, her management and Columbia Records decided to shelve the album at the last minute to re-work a version with a different vibe as the singer considered the final track listing "too full of midtempos and ballads." Rowland eventually consulted additional producers to collaborate on the album, including Billy Mann, Mysto & Pizzi, Sean Garrett, Scott Storch, and Polow da Don. Upon its release, Ms. Kelly debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, and at number two on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with first-week sales of 86,000 copies. Outside the US, the album widely failed to reprise the success of Simply Deep, barely reaching the top-forty on the majority of all charts it appeared on, except for the UK, where it opened at number 37.
Ms. Kelly included the UK top-five hit "Like This", featuring Eve, and the international top-ten hit "Work". In July 2007, Rowland released her first DVD entitled BET Presents Kelly Rowland, which celebrates the release Ms. Kelly and features an interview with Rowland about the album's production, footage of her time with Destiny's Child, live performances and music videos. Following the album's lukewarm sales, it was re-released as an extended play entitled, Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe, on March 25, 2008. Previously unreleased Bobby Womack cover "Daylight", a collaboration with Travie McCoy, served as the EP's lead single and was a moderate success in the UK.
In 2007, Rowland, along with stars such as Jessica Simpson and the cast of Grey's Anatomy autographed pink Goody Ouchless brushes that were made available for auction on eBay, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness. In addition, the singer teamed up with Kanye West, Nelly Furtado and Snoop Dogg to design a Nike sneaker for another eBay auction. All proceeds went to AIDS Awareness. 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. Two months later, Rowland appeared as a choirmaster in the first season of the NBC talent show Clash of the Choirs among other musicians such as Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, and Blake Shelton. Rowland's choir finished fifth in the competition, and Clash of the Choirs did not return for a second season.
In 2008, Rowland officially became ambassador for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation, which aims to reduce stigma against people living with HIV and AIDS. She visited projects in Tanzania and Kenya to promote the charity, and underwent an HIV test in Africa to raise awareness of the disease. In 2009, Rowland connected with Serve.MTV.com, MTV's platform to connect young people with local volunteerism opportunities, for a series of on-air PSAs. From battling homelessness to beautifying impoverished neighborhoods to saving whales, Rowland was joined by the likes of Cameron Diaz, will.i.am, and Sean Kingston as they discuss causes they volunteer to support, and urge young people to join with their friends in making civic service a part of their lifestyle. That same year, she spearheaded a bone marrow drive, and joined fellow singers Alesha Dixon and Pixie Lott to create T-shirts for River Island in aid of the Prince's Trust, profits from which help change young lives.
In January 2009, Rowland ended her professional relationship with Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles, who had managed her career since she was a member of Destiny's Child. Knowles stressed that no animosity was involved in the decision and acknowledged that Rowland will always be a part of the Knowles family. Then two months later, Rowland announced that she left Columbia Records, adding that she "felt the need to explore new directions, new challenges, and new freedoms outside my comfort zone." In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rowland stated that the label ended her contract because Ms. Kelly was not commercially successful. She later signed with Universal Motown Records.
In April 2009, Rowland was featured on David Guetta's single "When Love Takes Over", which topped many charts in Europe, selling over 5,5 million copies worldwide, and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording. Billboard crowned the song as the number one dance-pop collaboration of all time. In May 2009, Rowland was cast to host the first season of Bravo's reality competition series The Fashion Show alongside Isaac Mizrahi, but was replaced by fashion model Iman in the second season.
2010–12: Here I Am and The X Factor UK
In 2010, Kelly Rowland launched I Heart My Girlfriends, a charity that focuses on self-esteem, date violence prevention, community service, abstinence, sports, drugs and alcohol and smoking avoidance, obesity, disabilities, and education. In April 2010, Rowland toured Australia alongside Akon, Pitbull, Sean Paul, Jay Sean, and Eve for the Australian urban festival, Supafest. Later that month, her song "Everywhere You Go", featuring an all-star supergroup of international artists called Rhythm of Africa United, was released as the MTN theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In October 2010, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored Rowland at the second annual ASCAP Presents Women Behind the Music, an event which recognizes women in all areas of the music industry. Rowland's first compilation album, Work: The Best of Kelly Rowland, was released on October 25, 2010 but failed to impact the charts.
In January 2011, Rowland reunited with Nelly on "Gone", a sequel to their successful 2002 collaboration "Dilemma". Upon its release, the song failed to reprise the success of "Dilemma". In April 2011, Rowland appeared on Italian DJ Alex Gaudino's single "What a Feeling", which became another UK top-ten hit. Originally scheduled for release in 2010, Rowland's third studio album Here I Am was released on July 26, 2011 in the United States. The album sold 77,000 copies in its first week and debuted atop the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Here I Am produced the successful lead single "Commander", which peaked in the top-ten of many charts in Europe, and the UK top-ten single "Down for Whatever". It also included another successful single "Motivation", with Lil Wayne, which topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven consecutive weeks and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Motivation" won Song of the Year at the 2011 Soul Train Music Awards and Top R&B Song at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
Rowland was the face of Diddy's women's fragrance Empress, the female counterpart to his men's fragrance I Am King. She was also the worldwide ambassador for watchmakers company TW Steel. Rowland's second compilation album, Playlist: the Very Best of Kelly Rowland, was released on October 18, 2011, but failed to impact the charts. She also released her first fitness DVD entitled, Sexy Abs with Kelly Rowland. Later that year, it was confirmed that Rowland would replace Dannii Minogue as a judge for the eighth series of The X Factor UK alongside Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos. Due to a conflicting schedule, Rowland did not return for the ninth series in 2012 and was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. During the Black Women in Music event held on February 8, 2012, Essence magazine honored Rowland and music executive Sylvia Rhone for their contributions to music. In April 2012, Rowland toured Australia alongside Ludacris, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, T-Pain, Ice Cube, Lupe Fiasco, and Big Sean for the urban festival, Supafest. That same month, she returned to the big screen playing the supporting role of Brenda in the romantic comedy Think Like a Man. The film, which also starred Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, and Kevin Hart, topped the US box office and grossed $91.5 million. Rowland recorded "Need a Reason" with Future and Bei Maejor for the Think Like a Man soundtrack.
In June 2012, Rowland became the face of popular rum brand Bacardi. Rowland and German production team Project B reworked the Bacardi song, "Bacardi Feeling (Summer Dreamin')", and released an accompanying music video to help promote the brand. In August 2012, Rowland became a dance master in the first season of the Australian talent show Everybody Dance Now alongside Jason Derulo. The show was cancelled after the fourth episode due to poor ratings.
2013–14: Talk a Good Game and The X Factor USA
In January 2013, Destiny's Child released a compilation album entitled Love Songs, a collection of romance-themed songs from their previous albums and newly recorded song "Nuclear". On February 3, 2013, during Beyoncé's performance at the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Rowland and Michelle Williams joined her on stage to perform "Bootylicious", "Independent Women" and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)". On February 24, 2013, Rowland co-hosted the Academy Awards pre-show for the 85th Academy Awards alongside Kristin Chenoweth, Lara Spencer, Robin Roberts and Jess Cagle. In May 2013, it was announced that Rowland would replace Britney Spears as a judge on The X Factor USA for its third and final season, joining Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and fellow new judge Paulina Rubio. Later that month, Rowland performed as a supporting headlining act at the RiverFest 2013 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Rowland embarked on the Lights Out Tour, a co-headlining tour with The-Dream, to promote her fourth studio album Talk a Good Game. Formerly titled Year of the Woman, the album was released on June 18, 2013 in the US. It is Rowland's first release with Republic Records following Universal Music Group's decision to close Universal Motown and Universal Republic, and reviving Motown Records and Republic Records. Talk a Good Game sold 68,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, becoming Rowland's third top-ten album in the US. The album's lead single "Kisses Down Low" was a moderate success on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and was certified gold by RIAA for exceeded 500,000 copies sold. The second and final single "Dirty Laundry" was acclaimed by critics for its lyrical and the emotional honesty. In December 2013, Rowland appeared in Beyoncé's "Grown Woman" music video and alongside Williams in Beyoncé's "Superpower" music video and provided backing vocals on the same track, taken from her self-titled fifth studio album.
In February 2014, Rowland was featured on Joe's single "Love & Sex Part 2". In March 2014, she was named a spokesperson for cosmetic company, Caress. During an interview with HuffPost Live on March 26, 2014, Rowland revealed that she has begun recording her fifth studio album and said the new music, which encompasses horns, drums, and flutes, was influenced by iconic female singers including Diana Ross. Rowland also announced in the interview that she left Republic Records, adding that she "just needed a fresh, new start." In June 2014, Rowland and Beyoncé were featured on Williams' single "Say Yes". The same month, her song "The Game" and its music video appeared on Pepsi's visual album for the 2014 FIFA World Cup titled, Beats of the Beautiful Game. On July 19, 2014, Rowland was featured on Adrian Marcel's song "Honey" from his mixtape Weak After Next and on Beau Vallis's song "Love Stand Still". Rowland also contributed background vocals to the song "You're My Star", the first single released from Tank's 2014 album Stronger.
2015–present: Empire, Chasing Destiny and fifth studio album
In August 2015, she was featured on Jacob Whitesides's single "I Know What You Did Last Summer". Rowland is part of the recurring cast of the second season of the American drama television series Empire. She played Leah Walker, Lucious Lyon's mother, in flashbacks and starred in five episodes. She recorded a song for the show called "Mona Lisa" which included on the EP Empire: Music from "Be True", released on October 21, 2015. On October 26, 2015, Rowland released a new song titled "Dumb" which will appear on her fifth album, set for a 2016 release. Rowland says that she's been hard at work in the studio and will release new music in 2016, is shooting a music video, and has recorded 45 songs for her new album. Rowland along with other female artists such as Missy Elliot, Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya, Janelle Monáe, Lea Michele and newcomers Chloe & Halle, all feature on a charity single put together by US First Lady Michelle Obama. This Is For My Girls was written by Diane Warren and was released on March 15. The song was created to raise funds and awareness towards Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative – aimed at boosting education rates amongst adolescent girls around the world who are denied the right to an education  The iTunes-exclusive record will be used to both coincide with Obama's Texan SXSW speech and to promote the First Lady's third-world educational initialtive "Let Girls Learn".
On April 5, 2016 Rowland stepped into her "music-mogul shoes" for the debut of Chasing Destiny. Partnering with BET, Rowland began the search to find the next superstars for an all female group. As stated by Rowland herself, she's not looking for reality stars, but she's looking for stars. The show also stars Frank Gatson Jr.. The group released its first single in June 2016 titled "All of Us".
Rowland began dating American football player Roy Williams in 2004 and they became engaged later that year, however, the couple called off their engagement in January 2005, two months prior to the planned wedding ceremony in March. Williams stated that they did not "know each other well enough to get married". Shortly after, Rowland appeared on the cover of Modern Bride wearing her wedding dress. The singer stated that she was so embarrassed about the cover because the public already knew about her separation from Williams. "I didn't even want to go out of the house and I really didn't want to put my family in the position of having to answer questions about the wedding".
Rowland and her manager Tim Witherspoon (not to be confused with the former heavyweight boxing champion) reportedly began dating in 2011. She announced her engagement to Witherspoon during an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show on December 16, 2013. They were married in Costa Rica on May 9, 2014, with guests including Beyoncé and her sister Solange Knowles. On June 10, 2014, Rowland announced via Instagram that she and Witherspoon were expecting their first child. On November 4, 2014, Rowland gave birth to her son Titan Jewell Witherspoon.
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Rowland's voice is classified as a three-octave lyric mezzo-soprano, and her music includes various styles of musical genres such as contemporary R&B, pop, hip hop, soul, rock and dance. Her debut solo album Simply Deep (2002) followed an adult-alternative rock sound, while her second album Ms. Kelly (2007) featured an urban sound. In an interview with The Independent, Rowland admitted that with her first two albums she struggled to find her sound. "I was in a stage with the first two records where I was searching and I was like, let me try a rock-dance approach, the label [and management] wanted me to try it and I did it ... And then after that came a more urban approach with Ms. Kelly in 2007." Her third album Here I Am (2011) consisted of a pop and R&B sound, with subtle influences of dance. Rowland stated that meeting David Guetta had influenced her to record dance music. During production of the album, Rowland stated that part of the reason for the new sound on Here I Am was wanting to do something different, saying "I knew I couldn't be afraid of this direction, and I wasn't going to let the thoughts and opinions of others make me afraid to go in this direction".
Most of the lyrical themes in Simply Deep (2002) speak of love and life experiences, particularly in the songs "Dilemma", in which Rowland expresses her endless love to her love interest, and "Stole", in which she sings about an emotional "tale of school shootings and suicides". In Ms. Kelly (2007), Rowland covers topics such as her "deeply personal relationship issues" in her songs, "Still in Love with My Ex", "Flashback", "Love", "Better Without You" and "Gotsta Go (Part I)". Alex Macpherson of The Guardian noted that the songs could be about Rowland's former relationship with American football player Roy Williams. Here I Am (2011) included common themes of womanhood, sexual intimacy and love. Some of Rowland's other songs such as "Work", "I'm Dat Chick" and "Work It Man" have been musically compared to the work of former Destiny's Child bandmate Beyoncé.
Rowland has cited Whitney Houston, her namesake Kevin Rowland and Janet Jackson as her biggest musical influences. She stated that Houston "was the woman that inspired me to sing". Rowland is also inspired by Sade Adu and says that "she has a style that's totally her own". Her other inspirations include Destiny's Child, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Naomi Campbell, and Oprah Winfrey, whom she describes as "the female version of God". Rowland has discussed how living in Miami has influenced her style, growth, and music. From a fashion perspective, Rowland credits her grandmother, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Oprah Winfrey as her style icons. Rowland cited Houston, Beyoncé, and Brandy Norwood as vocal inspirations for her second solo album Ms. Kelly, "I love how different they are. I love how they take themselves to the next level". Her third solo album Here I Am was inspired by Donna Summer and Diana Ross, as well as dance producers David Guetta and will.i.am. Rowland's fourth solo album Talk a Good Game was also inspired by Houston, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.
After Destiny's Child disbanded, Rowland has always been compared by the media to her former groupmate Beyoncé. After the international success of her singles "Dilemma" and "Stole" and of her debut album Simply Deep, music critics wrote of Rowland as an emancipated and different artist from Beyoncé, that has established herself as a solo singer and songwriter. Over the years, the media have speculated about a feud between the two and have often referred to Rowland as living in Beyoncé's shadow. In an interview with omg! Insider, Rowland commented on the feud rumors stating, "I think the people wanted those stories for years and that's just so sad on them because it's not like that". She also commented on her relationship with Beyoncé stating, "I love my sister and she is so incredibly supportive. One of the closest people to me. I love her to death". Rowland expressed her envy of Beyoncé's solo success in the lyrics to "Dirty Laundry": "When my sister was on stage, killing it like a motherfucker, I was in rage, feeling it like a motherfucker. Bird in a cage, you'd never know what I was dealing with. Went our separate ways but I was happy she was killin' it. Bittersweet, she was up, I was down. No lie, I feel good for her but what do I do now?". The song garnered widespread media attention upon its release.
Rowland stated that there was a time in her life when she struggled about being dark-skinned. Beyoncé's mother Tina Knowles would eventually help Rowland embrace her skin color. In October 2007, Rowland underwent plastic surgery to receive breast implants. She stated, "I simply went from an A-cup to a B-cup" and that "the decision was 10 years in the making". In 2012, Rowland ranked at number 61 on Complex magazine's list of "The 100 Hottest Female Singers of All Time" and was recognized as one of the best-dressed women by Glamour UK. In April 2013, Rowland ranked seventh on People's Most Beautiful in the World list.
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