|Single by Kelly Rowland|
|from the album Simply Deep|
|Released||September 21, 2002|
|Recorded||2002; Henson Recording Studios
|Kelly Rowland singles chronology|
"Stole" is a song by American recording artist Kelly Rowland. It was written and co-produced by Dane Deviller, Sean Hosein and Steve Kipner and recorded for Rowland's solo album Simply Deep (2002). Generally well received by music critics, the lyrics of the track chronicle three different scenarios with young people, whose lives are drastically changed by the aftermaths of a suicide and a school shooting.
The record was released as the album's lead single in Australia, United Kingdom and North America in September 2002 and elsewhere in January 2003, following the worldwide success of "Dilemma", Rowland's number-one collaboration with rapper Nelly. It entered the top twenty on the majority of the charts it appeared on, reaching the top five in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where it remains her second highest-charting solo single to date, becoming her third most international successful single, behind "Dilemma" and "When Love Takes Over". An accompanying music video was filmed by Moroccan director Sanaa Hamri.
Background and recording
During recording their third album, Survivor (2001), Destiny's Child announced that members of the group would disband for a short period to produce solo albums in the coming years, which they hoped would boost interest to Destiny's Child. With different types of music for each member to produce, Rowland and her bandmates Beyoncé Knowles and Michelle Williams were not intended to compete on the charts, and thus, Destiny's Child's management strategically planned to stagger every year each member's album. Whilst Williams was the first to release a debut solo album, Heart to Yours (released in April 2002), the unexpected success of Rowland's collaboration with American rapper Nelly on the song "Dilemma" caused the label to advance the release date of her debut solo album, Simply Deep, to late 2002, replacing it with Knowles' solo debut Dangerously in Love (2003). As a result, Rowland was requested to rush the recording of the album within three weeks to get done, and as no time was left to produce any new material, "Stole" — as with many songs on the album — was selected out of Sony Music's song pool of demo tapes.
Music and lyrics
"Stole" is a mid-tempo song performed with a slow groove, incorporating elements of pop, rock, R&B and soul music. It is composed in the key of C major, and is in common time at ninety-six beats per minute. The song is written in the common verse-chorus form and features four instruments: electric guitar, drums, guitar, and keyboards. Rowland's vocal range covers close to two octaves; she performs her highest pitch (D5) during the chorus, and her lowest pitch (E3) at the beginning of the verses.
A significant breakaway from Rowland's love-themed recordings with Destiny's Child, the narrative lyrics of "Stole" detail three different scenarios with young people. "It tells a story about each of their lives and what they go through and how their lives were taken away from them," Rowland remarked in an interview with CNN's The Music Room, "I loved the song when I heard the lyrics and I hoped it would hopefully touch young people and inspire. I don't mean to sound preachy 'cos it's still got a great melody and a great musical feel behind it but it was just such a great song [...]."
The music video for "Stole" was filmed by Moroccan director Sanaa Hamri and produced by Melissa Larsen for Anonymous Content. In the clip, Rowland is seen acting as an unseen character singing to the audience while explaining what is going on. The first scene is of a young man getting up to go to school, then he goes downstairs to see his sister and distraught mother with a black eye, who had obviously been beaten by his father. Thoroughly depressed, he goes to school, walks into one of the bathroom stalls and shoots himself. Mary, a girl who is an aspiring actress and is alluded to have known the boy, walks by and hears the shooting, goes into the bathroom, finds his body and calls the police. Rowland explains that after his death many of his classmates mentioned either never talking to the boy or treating him like an outsider.
Another sequence of the video shows Mary going to a doctor's appointment and finding out that she is pregnant. As the song explains, that unexpectedly ends her once promising dream of movie stardom. Next we see a group of young boys on a basketball court, one boy in particular, Greg, who, as Rowland explains, dreamed of becoming a star basketball player. Then the boys glance over at a group of their classmates, obviously not on good terms, then Greg is shot and dies. Mary is later seen with her newborn child, writing "Think before you act" on a class mural dedicated to the two deceased boys.
BET network's show Access Granted went behind the scenes of the video and Rowland reveals to the cameras that her shirt has a picture of The Notorious B.I.G. on the left side and another picture of Tupac Shakur on the right side. Rowland said she wore that shirt because she felt like their lives were truly stolen. The music video is featured on Destiny's Child's Destiny's Child World Tour DVD, on the 2007 Wal-Mart exclusive DVD BET Presents Kelly Rowland.
The song was initially released in the United States in September 2002 once the popularity of "Dilemma" began to fade. On September 28, 2002, the song debuted at number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100, with former still remaining on number-one. It took another nine weeks until the single reached its peak position at number twenty-seven on November 30, 2002. It would remain Rowland's highest-charting single as a leading solo artist on the U.S. Hot 100 until the release of her 2011 single "Motivation." More successful on Billboard's component charts, "Stole" reached the top twenty on the Top 40 Tracks and the Top 40 Mainstream charts, while its remixes peaked at number twenty-four on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
In Norway, it became Rowand's second top ten entry as a solo artist, debuting at the tenth position and reaching number six spot the next week, and staying in the chart for nine weeks. In Switzerland, the single debuted on February 9, 2003 at number twenty-four, the next week it jumped to the twelfth position, reaching a peak position of nine for a single week, and remaining on the chart for fifteen weeks. Scoring its highest peaking position in Ireland and the United Kingdom, where it debuted at number three and two respectively, the song would remain Rowland's biggest-charting solo success Europe-wide until the release of her equally successful 2008 single "Work", excluding "Dilemma" and "When Love Takes Over". The song became Rowland's fifth best selling solo single in the UK with 210,000 copies being sold as of November 2011.
Track listings and formats
These are the formats and track listings of major single-releases of "Stole".
Credits and personnel
Sales and certifications
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||Gold||7,500|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|Australia||September 21, 2002||Sony Music|
|New Zealand||Sony Music|
|Europe||January 20, 2003||Sony Music|
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