Kelly Rowland‘s upcoming album Here I Am (released on July 26) is without question her crowning get-it-girl moment. Sure, the singer found fame with Destiny’s Child and kept her name out there via hits with Nelly but she’s finally hitting her stride as a solo artist now—and stepping out from the shadows of you-know-who at the same time.
While she’s been buzzing in Europe for the past couple years thanks to songs with international stars like David Guetta (“When Love Takes Over”; “Commander”) and Tiziano Ferro (“Breathe Gentle”), Kelly’s solo career was birthed here in America with her biggest single to date, “Motivation” and its remix featuring Lil Wayne.
As she writhes around in the video (which has over 26 million YouTube views) in a bodysuit and knee-high boots, it’s clear Kelly, 30, is not only embracing her sexuality more than ever, she’s reveling in it. For her first solo attempt Simply Deep in 2002, the music’s alternative/rock slant (not to mention her hippie-like outfits) was an obviously imposed direction to separate her sound from Beyoncé‘s as much as possible. Ms. Kelly followed in 2007, with lackluster cuts like “Ghetto” featuring Snoop Dogg. Now with songs like “Motivation” and the excitement surrounding Here I Am, Kelly’s presenting herself as a viable star; a seasoned artist with a presence not only in the somewhat easier overseas market but her own home, too.
With Here I Am‘s promo machine now in high gear, Rowland is busying herself as a judge on the UK’s high-rating X-Factor and doing fun (and revealing) interviews on shows like Cee-Lo Green‘s Talking To Strangers talk show and Big Boi‘s Neighborhood radio program.