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Interview: Kelly Rowland

When an opportunity arises to spend some time in a hotel room with a worldwide superstar, it’s no slap in the face that we at Planet Notion deeply dive into and firmly clench onto it with giddy excitement.  Remarkably able to restrain himself from stroking her silky mane and plump cheeks, our editor Seb Law nattered away on a sofa with the infallible Kelly Rowland. Here the pop monarch discusses mentoring on the X-factor, David Guetta, flirting with strangers and her thoughts on a Destiny’s Child reunion.

PlanetNotion: How did you enjoy being on X-factor in the UK?

Kelly Rowland: It was a lot of fun, I can’t complain.

PN: What have the highlights been?

KR: The highlights have been watching the contestants grow and watching them come into themselves and evolve as aspiring artists.

PN: X-Factor is all about finding an ‘artist’. What does that word signify to you?

KR: For me it signifies someone who knows exactly where their place is, what their style is, what their style of music is, what they want to bring to the table, how long they see themselves in the music industry, passion and a hard work ethic.

PN: Do you find it strange being a mentor at the same time as growing as an artist yourself?

KR: I find it actually inspiring because everything that you say, you practice even harder. And it’s just a really good place to be in.

PN: What would you say you have taken away from the mentoring process?

KR: When you see someone who is maybe nervous to hit a note or whatever, it’s almost like sometimes you’re talking to yourself. And I used to feel like I’d be a little bit uncomfortable to hit a note and now it’s like ‘what have you got to lose? Just go for it’.

PN: How would you say that manifests in the music? Do you have an ‘I’m just going to do this’ attitude?

KR: Just do it, see what happens. If it don’t work, it don’t work. And if it does? Great.

PN: Are you pleased with the way that has kind of worked out with your career as a pioneer with the David Guetta thing?

Kelly: Absolutely

PN: Did you feel you were a pioneer at the time?

KR: At the time I didn’t know what was happening. I just tried something and it worked. It just feels really good right now to hear all the success David is having and how he is collaborating with all these other artists who see what I saw in him.

PN: How have you evolved the stuff you did with those two singles into what you’re doing right now?

KR: I actually married my urban, R&B roots to my dance roots, which is what David and I did. The soul you hear in ‘When Love Takes Over’ still exists and has the same soul as ‘Motivation’ and ‘Feelin’ Me Right Now’. There’s no escaping it. I didn’t feel the need to put myself in a box on this record. People were like ‘you don’t put dance music and R&B music on the same record’ and I said ‘hell! Why not?’ Janet Jackson did it with her ‘Janet’ album and I lurrrrrrrv the great expression of that album. She’s one of my favourite artists.

PN: Your new material is quite raunchy.

Kelly: Raunchy!?

PN: In ‘Down For Whatever’ don’t you say something about having sex wherever you want? Am I reading too much into it?

KR: You’re being way too literal my darling. When you say I’m ‘Down For Whatever’ it means I’m down to be here all night, I’m down to dance the night away, I’m down to flirt with somebody I’ve never met. You know what I mean? It’s whatever you’re down to do. And for me, I’m a girl and I don’t like to tell all of my secrets, but yeah, I’m down. *laughs*

PN: You’ve said before that you think people are more receptive to different musical genres outside the U.S. Can you elaborate on how that has affected your music career?

KR: The funny thing is what started over here with ‘When Love Takes Over’ just moved itself over to the States. And even with Flo Rida, who’s a rapper doing songs like *sings* ‘you spin my head right round baby right round’ shows everyone’s just able to do everything right now.  Usher comes from R&B, urban roots and he’s sold the most R&B records and now he is selling a load of records doing dance music. So it’s just a different time in music where people can try and do whatever they want and it’s beautiful.

PN: Where do you think that freedom to do whatever you want comes from? Does is it come from the artists, the audience? What is the root of it?

KR: I think the root of it is wanting something new in that moment as that’s what it was like for me. Me and David just happened to meet around the same time and were both like ‘we need some inspiration’. And we met each other and went in the studio and then I met the Nervo Twins and wrote ‘When Love Takes Over’ in a hotel here in London and it was awesome.

PN: How did you find writing in a hotel room as an experience?

KR: Nervo Twins have wonderful energy and take that energy everywhere with them. If I could sell their energy then I would because it’s just the greatest high that you are on. They have great love and excitement for music and you just love them.

PN: What’s the overall theme to the album? What hangs it all together?

KR: Sensuality. Definitely sensuality appears on the record and definitely feeling comfortable in my own skin.

PN: Nice. I read that you wanted to record a song with Gary Barlow, is that still on the cards?

KR: Yeah I do, I’d love to record a song with Gary Barlow. I love Gary’s writing and I love his point of view. And I would love to see what we would conjure up in the studio.

PN: Is he up for it?

KR: YEAH HE IS!

PN: So what have you got planned for next year?

KR: I’m already in the studio recording the next record and I’d love to tour with this album.

PN: Where is your favourite place to play live?

KR: Brazil, because I was just there over the summer. Also because when you go there you have all these fans that have followed you for years and follow this chance to see you – I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. I was like ‘woah, woah, calm down’.  The love was so overwhelming and it was awesome. Brazil’s energy and how much they want you to come to where they are and just their loyalty – I love it. Here it’s the same with loyalty and when you play in front of a crowd that appreciates you as an artist and appreciates your point of view when it comes to music, it’s like ‘can we do that again?’

PN: Do you really feed off that energy from the crowd?

KR: Yes, absolutely.

PN: And finally I promised my friend I’d ask this, but any news on a Destiny’s Child reunion?

KR: We haven’t talked about it.

- Seb Law



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