Destiny's Child have channeled the very public turmoil they faced last year into a "diverse and inspiring" new album, the aptly titled Survivor, due in April.
The multiplatinum pop/R&B group has completed 11 out of 13 songs planned for the album, with an all-star slate of producers that included Rodney Jerkins (Britney Spears, Brandy) and former Tony! Toni! Toné! member Dwayne Wiggins, according to Mathew Knowles, the group's manager and father of lead singer Beyoncé.
"I know everybody can relate to this album it's very diverse and inspiring," singer Kelly Rowland said Wednesday. "The year 2000 was very challenging, and I know that gave Beyoncé a lot of inspiration to write songs for the album. We cannot wait for everybody to hear it. It's so empowering for a lot of people who have already heard a little bit of it."
Beyoncé and Rowland recently reached an amicable settlement with former Destiny's Child members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, who sued them in March after leaving the group. (See "Destiny's Child Members Dropped From Ex-Members' Lawsuit.")
The new album's title-track first single, which is scheduled for a late February release, can be heard as a response to such strife. The track features an uptempo hip-hop beat, looped strings and the insistent, chanted chorus "I'm a survivor/ I'm gonna make it."
Another new track, the ballad "Brown Eyes" one of only two slow songs on the album is a gently harmonized love song, with production reminiscent of the Janet Jackson hit "Again." The song was produced by Walter Afanasieff, known for creating lush soundscapes on slow jams for such artists as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.
Other Survivor tracks include "Nasty Girl," "Dance With Me" and "The Story of Beauty," which, according to Knowles, is "a pretty controversial yet realistic song that deals with something that happens in most families that no one wants to talk about."
Jerkins, who worked on two songs for the album, including the tentatively titled "Girl Like Me," said he aimed for "a more street-edgy" sound for the group. "Everything is uptempo that fast Destiny's Child sound," he said.
Jerkins shares several Grammy nominations with the group and Beyoncé for his work on Destiny's Child's previous album, 1999's The Writing's on the Wall. (See "Dr. Dre, Beyoncé Lead Grammy Nominees.")
The group, whose current lineup also includes Michelle Williams, will follow the release of Survivor with a tour, although details are still taking form, Knowles said.