While Kelly Rowland was originally planning to follow 2002's Simply Deep by digging deeper into her own experiences, the former Destiny's Child singer has since decided to, well, come up for breath.
My Story, which was slated for a summer release (see "Kelly Rowland Hooks Up With Beyonce's Sister Again For Solo LP"), was shelved in favor of a yet-untitled album with a different vibe due in the spring.
"It was basically a list of songs that I put together about the past three years of my life, with love and relationships," Rowland said of the album. "And I remember listening to the record, and I was just like, 'I don't want this to be too deep to where, you know, [I] lose people.' I still wanna have my party records, and I still wanna make people get up and bob their heads and vibe a little bit. And the record was too full of midtempos and ballads, so I wanted to bring it up a little bit. I mean, I'm 25. I'm young!"
Since then, Rowland has collaborated with Snoop Dogg on the Tank-produced track "Ghetto" and spent last week with producer/songwriter Sean Garrett, currently on the charts with Fergie's "London Bridge" and the Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons" (see "Sean 'The Pen' Garrett Might Keep Beyonce, Usher Hits For Himself").
"In general, I'm going in the urban, more R&B route," Rowland said during a break from the Garrett sessions. "Of course, that's what I started with with Destiny's Child, [but on] my first solo album I did more of a pop-sounding record. So I wanted to go back to my roots and dibble and dabble with some beats."
Although Rowland is still recording — she has sessions booked with Rich Harrison, Rockwilder and Solange — she's trusting her gut that one of the Garrett tracks, tentatively titled "Wooo!" or "Bump Like This," will be the first single.
"I'm so happy because you spend so many months recording and then you finally run into that song that definitely sticks out," Rowland said. "The song is very sassy. One thing I love about Sean is that he takes the time to know the artist and to know their personalities, and you know we'll sit and have conversations forever and he'll just start to write and you're like, 'How did you know that about me?' "
"It's a great combination of her thoughts and her feel on the type of music that she likes to do," Garrett added. "It's a cross between something in a club and on mainstream radio. We're just trying to stay a step ahead of what's going on."
And Garrett is certainly an authority on what's going on, especially in R&B. He's scored smash hits with Usher, Chris Brown, Ciara, Jamie Foxx and Mary J. Blige. Garrett's also had hits with Destiny's Child and Beyoncé (including her current single, "Ring the Alarm") — not that Rowland's trying to emulate her former bandmate.
"If you work with the same producer, you're like, 'Look, I want my own sound,' " Rowland said. "You definitely want it to be different from Beyoncé and Michelle, and you definitely have to express that."
Rowland has been inspired by Beyoncé and other singers while recording her new album.
"I listened to a lot of Whitney Houston for her vocals," Rowland said. "I love her. I love Beyoncé's voice, and I love Brandy. Those are three vocalists who inspire me. I love how different they are. I love how they take themselves to the next level."
Aside from Snoop ("I've been wanting to work with him forever," Rowland exclaimed) and Tank, who also sings on a song called "The Show," Rowland plans to load up with a few more guest appearances. She's also planning to revive a few of the My Story songs.
"There's one record called 'I'm Still in Love With My Ex,' and that's one of the deepest songs on the record to me," Rowland said.
So can we assume it's about former fiance Roy Williams, who called off their wedding? "People are gonna ask all those kinda questions, but it's just a song," Rowland said. "Sometimes you enhance!"