Kelly Rowland

In the hyperventilating run-up to the release of Beyoncé's 4 last month, some nervous Sony insiders told the New York Post that the label was considering reuniting Destiny's Child if sales tanked hard enough. None of the three DC principals ever commented, but a few astute observers pointed out that it wasn't all about Beyoncé, either — that Kelly Rowland was doing just fine on her own, thank you very much. Rowland has a bona fide hit on her hands with "Motivation," her sultry synth duet with Lil Wayne that cracked Billboard's Top 20 last week and also reached No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop singles chart. Some enthusiastic (and grateful) radio programmers have already pronounced it "the sexiest song of the summer." Whereas Beyoncé moves closer to adult-contemporary soul on 4, Rowland's new album Here I Am (Universal Motown) ventures further into dance music with ten songs of postmodern R&B with a heavy techno glaze — house overlord David Guetta produced "Commander" — and racy lyrics that prove B's onetime DC "little sister" is all grown up.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray