Kelly Rowland Explains Taking Back The Word "Conceited" & That Solange Collaboration

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Former Destiny's Child songstress Kelly Rowland has spent the past few years dabbling in a little bit of everything. She joined the cast of Empire in the much-beloved role of Lucious Lyon's mother, gave birth to her first son, Titan Jewell Witherspoon, and surprise-dropped new music.
In 2016 alone, the singer made an appearance on Solange Knowles' new A Seat At The Table track I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It," worked with newly-minted girl group June's Diary on the BET series Chasing Destiny, and hit the recording booth to crank out dozens of new songs she can use on her upcoming fifth studio album. One of these songs is "Conceited," which Rowland teased a sneak peek of earlier this month.

Clearly, slowing down after 18 years in the industry is not Rowland's style. If it's possible to get her work ethic bottled, I'm buying.

In between her music career, motherhood, and girl group-advising, Rowland makes time to give back. Refinery29 spoke to the singer during a Breast Cancer Research Foundation awareness event, where the singer joined eight breast cancer survivors as they got pampered courtesy of Ulta Beauty. Rowland dished about her latest endeavors, the meaning behind her new song, and what she hopes for the group following in Destiny's Child's footsteps:

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You recorded over 45 new songs for your album. What caused this burst of creative inspiration?
"After I had my son, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to say. I think if you start trying all of these different directions, different concepts and subject matters, you see what fits, you see what sticks."

You released a sneak peek of your song “Conceited.” Was it important for you to take that word back?
"When you hear the word 'conceited,' you think 'self-absorbed,' but in this sense, it means 'I need a compliment' from [my] significant other. You need to remember to love on me, to romance me. I don’t care if you are married, I don’t care if you are in a bunch of relationships. My best friend said it best: 'I freaking love that song, because, bottom line, women need compliments!'"

You were recently featured on Solange’s A Seat At The Table. How did that come to be?
"It was literally a spur-of-the-moment call. [Solange] is so creative, so genius. When I got to the studio, she told me exactly what I was singing, and I had a blast. It happened so fast! She told me “I don’t want it to be this, I don’t want it to be that, but I want it to feel like this.” We just sat there and had fun. Solange actually wrote on my first [solo album] Simply Deep, so I was the first person to get a Solange special. I believed in her then, and I believe in her now. I am so glad that the world is getting an introduction to the authentic Solange."

You helped create June’s Diary on the show Chasing Destiny. Any hope for the group’s future?
"I had the best time being a part of Destiny’s Child, and I’m so grateful to still have our friendship. So for [June’s Diary,] my hope is them experiencing international success, domestic success, and have fun while they’re doing it. And making great music! I want them to make an impact on women and the culture."

Any advice for a woman looking to break into music?
"Do it for the right reasons. If you do it for the wrong reasons, it won’t happen. Fame is one thing, but actually doing hard work and having something to say is another."

You played Leah Walker, Lucious Lyons' mother, on Empire. Can you tell me about that experience?
"It was awesome. I’m just really grateful to [Lee Daniels, the creator of Empire]. I don’t know what he has… but he just brought out the mother. I told him I wanted to be on the show, and he was like “Yeah, let’s do it… Do you want to be an artist on the show?” And I said no. I wanted to do something different."

What does 2017 hold for you?
"Possibilities… and a great outcome. "
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