It’s been three years since Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams released a new project. For me at least, it doesn’t seem like that much time has passed given that the lyrics to “Say Yes” — the infectiously catchy gospel/pop single that featured her former group mates Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland — still pops in my head at unsuspecting moments. For any other artist, this could be an ominous sign of troubled waters, but for Williams, it was simply time to live her life.
On a panel at the Fearless Reloaded conference in Atlanta last month, she talked about some of her non-musical accomplishments during that time, which include debuting her line of bedding called Believe at Home with Evine. This year, she also opened up about her past struggles with depression during a segment on CBS’s The Talk. Williams also opened up her heart to a new man. She is currently dating Chad Johnson, the official chaplain for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That latter point is important. Because during a cherished one-on-one conversation with Williams before her panel, she told me about her self-care, why she ordered her Thanksgiving dish online, and when we can expect new music from her. But she also dropped some gems about dating that I think we could all use. Check out our conversation below.
Refinery29: You recently opened up about your experiences with depression. What compelled you to open up about that struggle now?
Michelle Williams: “I've talked about it since 2013 actually. But on The Talk, that was the topic. It was natural to talk about.”
Do you have a self-care regimen that you do now for your mental health or just to relax?
“Yes. I know myself and I know I like my alone time. I light my candles, music, just really basic things. And then I also treat myself once a week to something that says I love myself. Whether it’s getting an ice cream sandwich or 'girl you know you ain't shaved your legs. Shave your legs!' Stuff like that so you don't neglect you. We are in an industry where we care for people. We have to have energy to give to people. So what can I do that just gives something to myself for a little bit?”
I also think you're in an industry that always wants you to be on. If it was up to them you would never sleep.
“You're so right.”
So you have a new boo. What is it like trying to date as a person who has been a celebrity for over a decade?
“I never thought about that with him because I remember noticing that I'm totally able to be myself. I can be goofy and I don't have to have on makeup — although I kind of have to keep it cute — but I can be myself. I think that's the main thing for those of us who are always ‘on.’ Can you come home and just be yourself? Do you have to be on 100 or can you just curl up and watch This Is Us or Judge Judy? Can you just go out to dinner without feeling like you have to be on, and they respect that?”
Do you feel like there's a lot of pressure to date someone who is as equally successful or known as you? Or even in the same field?
“I think it's dating someone who is doing their thing in their field. It doesn't have to be another artist. It doesn't have to be same tax bracket. Same tax bracket is great. But it's so much more than that. Do they bring stability to your life? Do they bring security to your life? How are they pushing you [to be] a better person? Are they helping you deepen your faith or are they distracting you from it? Anything that's distracting you away from whatever was making you successful might not be cool. You might not be equally yoked. Fatih is important to me. Can we pray together?”
I want to know more about your music? I think you are one of the most slept on vocalists for sure.
What music can we expect from you and from what genre? You obviously nail gospel but can also kill it with R&B.
“That's a really good question. I'm in a great place in life so in 2018 I will put music out. Life music. It's going to have faith and it's going to have love with it. I will leave it up to people to categorize what they want to call it. I don't know what that's going to be. I know what I want to talk about but I don't know what that sound is going to be yet.”
Let’s talk about some fun stuff. What was the last thing you ordered online?
“I was looking at it right now. This turkey that's coming [later this week].”
You ordered a turkey online?
“I ordered a turkey because I've never done a turkey [for Thanksgiving] before. So there's this place in Texas called Jive Turkey and it's a fried turkey and they have various flavors. So we got a bourbon peach fried turkey.” [Note: Audile “mmmmms” are heard from her hair and makeup stylists, and me.]
What was the last thing you binge watched?
“Stranger Things and This Is Us.”
Do you cry watching This Is Us?
“No. But I get really reflective watching that show because it touches on so many aspects of family and of who you are as far as your humanity is concerned."
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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