Q&A: Kelly Rowland on Getting 'Stripped Away and Naked,' Bringing Back Destiny's Child

'I'm a grown woman now, and it's time to do grown-woman things'

Kelly Rowland
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic
Kelly Rowland
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Kelly Rowland kicked off the year with a bang, from Destiny's Child's surprise Super Bowl reunion to her jaw-dropping Grammy dress, which upstaged even Jennifer Lopez's leg. Now the 32-year-old singer is putting the finishing touches on her fourth solo album, Talk a Good Game, led by the sexy single "Kisses Down Low." While waiting to board a flight at JFK Airport last week, Rowland spoke with Rolling Stone about stripping down (artistically) and her reaction to those pesky Twitter comments from Keyshia Cole.

"Kisses Down Low" is a flirty, fun song. Is this indicative of the direction of Talk a Good Game?
"Kisses Down Low" is just a piece of the story of Talk a Good Game. I'm really honest on this album. There's another song that I have, "Dirty Laundry." Even the title track is about relationships – the ins, the outs – all the interesting moments of relationships. I'm really ready for people to hear this album. It's kind of hard to keep it to myself.

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"Dirty Laundry" is an intriguing title. Are you naming names?
It's the first time I've been so stripped away and naked. I had help with that, and that help was the-Dream. I was in the studio with Dream and he said, "I just want you to get deeper. The people want more. They want to be led into your life and know more about you." And I said, "Oh, God!" It's really nervous, because you don't know what people are going to say. In this moment, I really don't care. [Laughs]

Did you give your exes or whomever a heads-up that they would be aired out?
You know what? No, I really don't give a shit. [Laughs] It's nothing like that. My mom would say, "The truth shall set you free," so no matter what truth that is, I think it's important to be honest about it.

Who are you collaborating with on the new album?
I'm still putting everything together, but I called on some new talent from Canada, like T-Minus and Boi-1da, who I love being in the studio with. Kevin Cossum, who just pulls melody out of his ears, Rock City, who completely know how to ride a beat and a cadence that's crazy, and Mike WiLL's genius-osity – I'm gonna make up a word – where he just knows what the streets are talking about.

A few weeks ago, you wowed everyone at the Grammys in that Georges Chakra Couture dress. Trey Songz was drooling over you on the red carpet. I think he has a crush.
He's like a brother to me. I just hung out with him last night. We were all at the same place and hooked up and had a ball.

Did he awkwardly punch you in the arm and run away?
[Laughs] No, he didn't punch me and run away, but he did get me an extra drink – a "Trey Noir," as he calls it. I had a whole bunch of girlfriends with me that were completely staring at him and completely in love with him.

You reunited with Destiny's Child at the Super Bowl. Keyshia Cole received some blowback for criticizing Michelle Williams' performance on Twitter. Do you have any thoughts on her comments?
It didn't even make it on my radar until other people brought it up. It didn't even matter. We had a wonderful performance, and that's all I cared about. I was with my sisters and the three of us matter to each other, and that's all that counts. We matter to a lot more people, with all due respect, than her. So, I really don't care what she said.

Beyonce gave fans a glimpse into her personal life in Life Is But a Dream, and you've mentioned that you might start a video journal like she did. Have you?
I have, and I really like it. I think it's really important. That way, you look back and see how far you've really come. For now, I'm gonna keep it private just for me.

Is there anything left you want to accomplish?
I want to do a line of accessories and shoes. I'm working on that right now. I always draw something in my tablet that I carry and I always have ideas on accessories, on what I would change or [how I would] hook certain things up. I want it to be affordable but luxurious, that every woman can have and feel sexy and fly in. I'm working on it. I'm headed to L.A. now to make sure of that. Early, early talks and early stages, but yeah, I'm a grown woman now, and it's time to do grown-woman things.

Listen to Kelly Rowland's "Kisses Down Low":