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Kelly Rowland
Photo: Isaac Brekken/WireImage

Kelly Rowland

Biography
(1981–)
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Kelly Rowland is an American singer and actress who rose to fame as a member of the top-selling R&B girl group Destiny's Child.

Who Is Kelly Rowland?

In the 1990s, Kelly Rowland became a founding member of the R&B girl group Destiny's Child, which won multiple Grammy Awards and sold tens of millions of records. Rowland has since recorded several solo albums and served as a judge on competition series like The X Factor and The Voice.

Early Life

Kelly Rowland was born Kelendria Trene Rowland on February 11, 1981, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Doris Rowland Garrison and Christopher Lovett. 

Rowland grew up inspired by Whitney Houston and — like her idol — sang in the church choir. At 7, Rowland's mother left her father due to domestic abuse and moved the family to Houston, Texas. 

In Texas, Kelly met another budding songstress, Beyoncé Knowles. According to reports, Doris felt it was better for her daughter to live with her friend's family, and Beyoncé's parents, Matthew and Tina, agreed to provide legal guardianship over Kelly.

Girl's Tyme to Destiny's Child

In the early '90s, Rowland and Beyoncé performed as part of the band Girl's Tyme. The group even competed on the nationally televised talent show Star Search. Although they lost, they continued to perform at local schools, daycare centers and other events around Houston, slowly gaining recognition for their singing and dancing talent. By 1997, the group had signed a record deal with Columbia under the name Destiny's Child, managed by Matthew Knowles.

Commercial Success

Over the next few years, Rowland would provide lead and background vocals on a string of successful albums for Destiny's Child: After the group's self-titled, full-length debut in 1997, they released The Writing's on the Wall in 1999 and, following a lineup shuffle that brought in Michelle Williams, unveiled Survivor in 2001. By the time she was 18, Rowland was a millionaire — a milestone for which she has credited Matthew Knowles.

After a hiatus to work on solo projects, the group reunited to record their fourth album, Destiny Fulfilled (2004). But, in a surprise announcement during a show in Barcelona, Spain, Rowland announced to 16,000 fans that the band was calling it quits. 

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"We have been working together as Destiny's Child since we were 9, and touring together since we were 14," the band said in a statement. "After a lot of discussion and some deep soul searching, we realized that our current tour has given us the opportunity to leave Destiny's Child on a high note, united in our friendship and filled with an overwhelming gratitude for our music, our fans and each other."

Although the group formally disbanded, its members continued to occasionally perform together, with Rowland and Williams joining Beyoncé at Coachella in 2018.

Solo Work

In 2002, Rowland debuted a solo album, Simply Deep, featuring a duet with rapper Nelly, called "Dilemma," which spent two months at the top of the charts.

Rowland released a second solo album in 2007, Ms. Kelly. The album received only moderate success and, two years later, she fired manager Matthew Knowles. Her subsequent studio effort, Here I Am (2011), was released through the label Universal Motown, and garnered warm reviews by critics.

Rowland co-wrote most of the tracks for fourth studio album, Talk a Good Game (2013), which featured contributions from Wiz Khalifa and her former Destiny's Child bandmates.

In November 2018, Rowland released her first single in years, simply titled "Kelly." She followed in early 2019 with "Crown," with both tracks to be included in an upcoming album.

TV Judge and Actress

Along with her musical work, Rowland has found her way into TV and film projects. She appeared as a judge on the U.K. and American versions of the music competition series The X Factor and nabbed a role in the 2012 ensemble feature Think Like a Man.

Following a short-lived attempt to launch new musical careers in the series Chasing Destiny, Rowland returned to judging duties on the Australian version of The Voice. In early 2019, she appeared as R&B great Gladys Knight in the BET series American Soul.

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