Kelly Rowland has been sharing her spotlight lately. Since releasing her fourth solo studio album Talk A Good Game in 2013 — which featured the deeply emotional track “Dirty Laundry” — the singer-songwriter has been spending more time showcasing her talents outside the booth. Just this year, Rowland executive produced BET’s Chasing Destiny, a docu-series which helped the “Dumb” singer create newly-formed girl group June’s Diary. Still doubling as an A&R and mentor to the quintet, Rowland continues to groom the ladies into stardom while juggling a recurring role on Empire, recording for Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn anthem “This Is For My Girls” and, most importantly, being a mother to her two-year-old son, Titan.
During Budweiser’s Made In America festival this past weekend, the music mogul and burgeoning businesswoman gave Billboard an exclusive on her forthcoming album, the Lifetime movie she’s starring in and why 2017 is her year.
So you know we gotta talk about the music, right?
No pressure! [Laughs]
We’ll start with June’s Diary. Now that they’re stepping out on their own a little more, are you still a very hands-on mentor?
I’m still hands-on but I’m falling back a little bit because I want them to find their way. I don’t want to hold their hand. Me and Frank [Gatson] noticed that we can’t do that. They’re grown women. The same way that me, Michelle and Bey had to fight our way through, they need to fight. And you appreciate it more when you pull your own outfits together, when you handle a situation where you only have one mic or when you get through a 20-city radio tour and didn’t kill each other. It’s those things that really shape and mold you into greatness. It builds character and the ladies have such amazing characters already. They’re such great ladies, and I really want the best for them. I want people to go out and support them and to support girl groups.
And support R&B.
And R&B! It’s so crazy that artists like Chance The Rapper are bringing back these R&B beats but he’s like doing this crazy flow. I’m just so crazy about him.
Ok, so no pressure, but what new music can we expect from you?
I’m trying to close out the record by the end of this year. I told myself to stop [doing other things] and just finish it.
What’s so tough about completing this LP?
Just because I’ve been gone for so long. I wanted to take that first year to just be a mother, but I wanted to put out music at the same time. I was fighting myself. So then here’s the second year, and I’ve been recording but I’ve always had some hiccups in between it with other projects that I’m doing. I’m shooting a movie right now, but at the end of this year, I definitely am finishing up this record and I’m releasing it next year. I’m even tired of waiting on it myself, I want to get back on stage, and I want my son to see me on stage. I want him to witness that whole feeling. He saw me at rehearsal a couple months back when I did a video and he was so excited. So the fact that he likes it, I need him to see that again.
So about this movie?
It’s called The 10th Date. It’s a movie for Lifetime, and it’s with myself, Meagan Good, and I don’t know if anyone knows about it yet. Nzingha Stewart is directing it and we’re really excited about it. We start filming next week. It’s been really exciting.
Congrats! Can you say what it’s about?
I can’t say too much, but The 10th Date is necessary for all ladies to experience.
On top of all that, you’re also creating your new F.A.C.E. (For All Created Equal) makeup line. Tell me about that.
We’re very excited about it. Myself and Sheika [Daley] are starting with lashes then from there we’ll build into foundations, powders and all the above. We definitely want to make this makeup line our own and we’re trying to do what’s never been done before. Some of the things we’re thinking about are very innovative in the way we’re packaging and trying to execute our line is really cool. It does take time but it’s quite the process. We’ve been spending a lot of our own money developing it, which is not cheap.
Yeah, we’re actually in the process of getting a backer now.
Why was it so important to have a line like this?
When I pick a beauty product that I’m in love with, it’s discontinued the next year or when I go somewhere and somebody’s like, “I have my own color,” granted I have my own specific makeup artists now, but I remember times when I was pink or I was green or I was too pale. And I think the nature of our skin is very regal and beautiful and it should be displayed on its best. Melanin poppin’ at all times. So I wanted that to be executed better. You know, you have lines who are also doing great jobs at it now and I wanted my own. It’s important that if you don’t see it then be the change and make it happen that’s how business starts.
When can we expect it?
We’re trying to get it done as soon as possible. I want all of women of color to have it.
Lastly, you’re working on a book, yes?
I am. Wow, how did you know that? I can’t say too much about the book but what I can say is I’m writing a book that has not been done before. And that’s what I’m most proud of. It was just necessary. I saw one part of something and I didn’t see the next part, and I wanted to be the one to provide the information. So, my goal in my life is whenever I do these business ventures, I like to collaborate with women, so for my book, I’m actually working with my doctor. I’m very, very excited. So, music, book, movie, makeup –– 2017 is my year.