Kelly Rowland knows exactly what it takes to win in the music industry.
Apart from being a founding member of the best-selling female group Destiny’s Child, she’s sold an unprecedented 27 million records worldwide, won four Grammys and has starred in several hit television shows and movies.
Presently and fittingly so, the R&B songstress, along with award winning choreographer Frank Gatson (TLC, En Vouge, Usher), is looking to breed the next generation of singing talent with her new show airing on BET, “Chasing Destiny.” The 1 hour, 10 episode series will chronicle her journey in discovering the next big superstar girl group.
Now make no mistake, the former “X-Factor” judge says her show is nothing like some of the staged, skewed or biased talent shows out there.
“I wanted to create a show that felt organic like the way I came up in the music industry,” Rowland told NBCBLK. “The show is real - we cut through all the B.S. No disrespect to all the other shows but the process was authentic. My team and I went to find these girls ourselves. We scouted these girls from online to over social media and we even asked friends who worked in the business. We did random auditions and the cameras were able to capture every single aspect.”
The 35-year old is disappointed about the immense void of female groups in the industry and wants to use this platform to generate a resurgence of female empowerment.
“This has been missing for a quite a while,” said Rowland. “I think the best things about being in a girl group are the camaraderie, the friendship, the fact that young ladies around the world get to see women working hard together to achieve their goals in music. It’s important for females to see examples of light and unity.”
As the auditions were underway in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, contestants were asked to sing songs by Whitney Houston, Anita Baker and Alicia Keys. However, Ms. Rowland had one minor concern.
“There’s nothing wrong with this, but I was surprised at how a lot of the girls wanted to be solo artists and the whole idea of them being in a group was daunting,” she said. “It’s something that myself and Frank coached them through and explained to them that there’s power in numbers when us females work together. They understand it when it’s coming from us because I’ve lived it and Frank has choreographed every girl group under the sun.”
Often times in groups, there are individuals who thrive in one specific area and may need to work harder in others. Rowland was able to relate her experiences as a young budding singer in Destiny’s Child.
"Friendship is the greatest gift Destiny’s Child ever gave me.”
“I was 11 years when I first started out - that was way younger than the ages of these girls and I don’t know if anybody knew this but I couldn’t dance,” confessed Rowland. “I had nobody’s rhythm at all, like no rhythm. I put myself in their shoes. If there’s potential, you have to work with it. We have girls who blow a house down vocally, but can’t move. We have girls that can both sing and dance. We have girls that look like stars but need to work on their vocal tone and overall attitude. There are so many different dynamics.”
“Every girl has their lane, but there’s always something on the inside that is waiting and ready to come out and I want the viewers to tap into whatever their gift is. It might not be music or vocals, it may be teaching, it can be journalism, engineering, cooking. I want them to be like, ‘if she can do it, then so can I,’” she added.
The megastar reveals that filming the show has made her reflect back to the fun times she experienced on the road with Beyoncé and Michelle. She loves being a solo artist, but there’s nothing like being on stage with her girls.
“When we toured, that was everything,” she says. “Touring was my favorite thing to do in Destiny’s Child, we loved it. We were so creative and had fun every night together performing on stage in different countries for our fans.”
"It’s important for females to see examples of light and unity.”
She continued, “I’m still so blessed to have my sisters around me today. I’m supposed to see Michelle this week and just spoke to Bey the day before yesterday. Michelle isn’t Michelle Williams to me, she’s my son, Titan’s Mimi and Beyonce isn’t Beyonce Knowles to me, she’s just Auntie Bey Bey. Friendship is the greatest gift Destiny’s Child ever gave me.”
Rowland’s manager and husband of two years is Tim Witherspoon. Marriage and motherhood remain first and foremost for the artist, but she admits it takes a lot to balance with her busy career.
“One minute I want to be in the studio, the next minute I want to be there to wake Titan up, then I want to put him to bed. It’s all about balancing. I’m still learning what that it is,” she said.
If motherhood, music and television couldn’t make Rowland any busier, then her newest beauty endeavor sure will. The multi-dimensional starlet is creating a new cosmetic line with her own make-up artist Sheika Daley.
“I’m obsessed with make-up and have always loved doing other people’s make up,” she admitted. “It’s so funny because many of the reports from different media outlets said that it’s just for chocolate girls, but it will be for every girl. But of course, I’m a chocolate girl and a lot of the time it’s hard for me to find something that stays on the shelf and stays fresh in the market. I want to make sure that I’m able to create a product that will stand the test of time- the same way Bobbi Brown’s make up line does, the same way Iman’s incredible make up line does. I want to do that and I will conquer it.”
Chasing Destiny premieres Tuesday, April 5th at 10 P.M. on BET.