Kelly Rowland first got a taste of solo success with her 2002 debut, Simply Deep, but for her self-titled sophomore effort, the Destiny's Child songstress is diving into even deeper waters, revealing just how's she's matured as an artist and into a real independent woman.
"[Recording this new album] has really been a growth experience," the 25-year-old said recently. "[The last two years] have been a change, and I haven't even been able to actually take in everything that's going on with me as a woman. It's just been beautiful.
"I wrote a lot on this record ... and it's especially from me [to my fans]," she said of the album, due June 13. "It's more R&B ... and it definitely has a feel-good vibe to it as well."
Rowland will be reteaming with several players who helped helm her first disc, including Grammy-winning producer Rich Harrison (Beyoncé, Amerie) and Beyoncé's singer/songwriter sister, Solange Knowles, who penned two tracks on Simply Deep, including the title track.
New on board is R&B/hip-hop beatmaker Rockwilder, who's pushed flows for Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z, and Patrick "j.Que" Smith (also known as "The Clutch"), an Atlanta songwriter who scored Usher's hit "Yeah!" and Fantasia's "Truth Is."
"I think having a refreshing sound is so important, and all of these people are so talented," gushed Rowland, who snagged her own Grammy for her 2002 duet "Dilemma" with Nelly.
No word yet on what the first single will be or who may guest star on the LP — Rowland wants to keep all of those tidbits under wraps for now. However, she did collaborate with Trina on "Here We Go," the first single off the rapper's Glamorest Life.
While Rowland is polishing up her sophomore disc, she's also been brushing up on her acting chops, much like her former DC mates Beyoncé (see "Beyonce Slimming Down And 'Completely Becoming Deena' ") and Michelle Williams (see "Michelle Williams Takes HIV-Positive Role For TV Acting Debut"). Rowland will appear on UPN's "Girlfriends" as Tammy Hamilton, an ambitious 21-year-old apprentice to realtor Toni (Jill Marie Jones), and she hopes her three-episode stint will expand to an even larger recurring role in the future.
"I love, love those ladies," she said of the "Girlfriends" stars Jones, Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks and Persia White. "They've been a pleasure to work with and have given me so many different tips on acting, so they're awesome."
The singer-turned-actor also starred in last summer's "The Seat Filler" opposite Duane Martin and Shemar Moore. The film, which stars Rowland as a pop star who falls for an awards-show seat filler (Martin) she mistakes for a high-profile record executive, was released Tuesday on DVD.