Since her days in Destiny's Child ended, Kelly Rowland has kept herself motivated. Though there were glimpses of her solo potential (i.e. Nelly's "Dilemma"), Kelly's status as one of the other girls in one of R&B's most successful groups seemed to overshadow her hard work. Now with her first number one single burning up the charts, Kelly is poised to do some damage.
“Number one feels like number one. It feels wonderful. Especially for it to be on the charts so long,” Kelly tells BET.com in an exclusive interview. “I think ‘Motivation’ opened up a different chapter for me. It really did.”
"Motivation," a song that Rowland describes as “grown and sexy,” is the first single from her forthcoming Here I Am album, dropping on Tuesday (7/26). And she says there’s more where that came from. “[The album] is along the same lines when it comes to an urban sound. When I listen to everything back to back, when I was sequencing it, that’s when it felt really good in my spirit.”
The success of Kelly's first single landed her a performance spot on the 2011 BET Awards stage, where she pulled off one of the most memorable performances of her own career.
"I was dreaming about performing on the BET Awards stage," an excited Kelly exclaims. "I would dream and pray about it. When you ask God for it ,he’ll deliiver. Then he wants to throw Trey Songz in it. Trey and I had really great chemistry. We rehearsed. We were prepared and excited."
Chemistry is an understatement, as Kelly and Trey gave each other the most. At the end of the performance, Trey landed a sensual kiss on Kelly's neck, one she says she doesn't even remember.
Kelly laughs. "I wasn't expecting that kiss, trust me. I didn't even know he did that until after. When you're on stage and you're moving...it was really weird," she admits. For the first time in her career, Kelly is the "it" girl. Even 50 Cent spoke about his admiration for her in a recent interview. Kelly was unaware of 50's recent admiration.
But for every admirer, there's always a non-believer, and Kelly's recent rise to success doesn't come without some criticism. Producer Jeff Bhasker, a hitmaker who has worked with Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, took to his Twitter to discredit Kelly's record.
"How can this KR song with the weakest beat and melody of all time be the #1 song on urban!? Oh yeah. [Lil] Wayne,” he tweeted. Later, he wrote "I just listened to 'Motivation' again to see if I was to harsh in my critique. I wasn't. The lyrics are horrid as well."
When asked about it, Kelly shakes it off. "You know what, the record speaks for itself," she responds. "Opinions are like **sholes, everybody’s got one. He’s made wonderful music with my sister and other artists. There’s no reason for me to say anything negative."
A stark contrast to the followup tweet from Bhasker who claimed that Twitter followers live for the negative tweets. Not Kelly though.
She adds, "'Cause I won’t tell you the thought that is really in my head. I'll just kill ‘em with kindness." Spoken like a true lady.
(Photo: Adrian Sidney/PictureGroup)