Also Credited As:Kelandria Terene Rowland, Kelendria Rowland
|February 11, 1981|
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Born Feb. 11, 1981 in Atlanta, GA, Kelendria Trene Rowland moved with her mother to Houston, TX as a child, where she met the Knowles family and became something of a surrogate daughter to parents Tina and Mathew and sister to Beyoncé and Solange. Not only did she join the girl group founded by the Knowles family, Girl's Tyme, but she eventually moved in with the Knowles family. The girls had their first big break by appearing on the nationally televised show "Star Search" (CBS, 1983-2004). Girl's Tyme did not win the competition, so Mathew Knowles quit his salesman job and manage his daughter's group full-time. They were signed to Columbia Records in 1996 and with the new name of Destiny's Child, made their recording debut with the single, "Killing Time," which appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 film "Men in Black." They enjoyed their first taste of Billboard success with the song "No, No, No Part 2" off their self-titled first album. However, follow-up singles "With Me Part 1" and "Get on the Bus" failed to reproduce the success of "No, No, No."
Despite that fact, the LP eventually sold more than two million copies worldwide and the group garnered three Soul Train Awards in 1998. Though thought of as yet another one-hit-wonder girl band, when Destiny's Child's second album The Writing's on the Wall was released in 1999, it spawned multiple hits including two No. 1's: "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name." The group won several awards for their sophomore effort, including Grammys for Best R&B Performance by Duo or Group and Best R&B Song. Touring also became a big part of the group's schedule, with the ladies serving as opening acts to superstars like TLC and Christina Aguilera. Unfortunately, just as they were about to truly break through, original members Roberson and Luckett decided to leave the group, citing unhappiness with Matthew Knowles' management. Two new members were brought in - Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin - and Destiny's Child was a foursome yet again.
While the second record was still enjoying chart success, the former members took Knowles and the management team to court, citing financial issues and unfairness in how they were treated in the group. After just five months in Destiny's Child, Franklin quit due to personal reasons. The group became a trio and it would stay that way into its third album and beyond. In October 2001, Knowles, Rowland and Williams recorded the theme song to the film version of the popular television series, "Charlie's Angels" (2000), starring Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz. The song "Independent Women, Part 1" spent 11 weeks at the top of the charts. Their third album, Survivor, followed on its heels, solidifying Destiny's Child's place as one of the most successful girl groups at that time. Other hits spawned by Survivor included the infectious (and quietly mocked) "Bootylicious," a cover of the Bee Gees-penned 1970s hit "Emotion" (originally recorded by Samantha Sang), and the catchy title song.
Although the spotlight was consistently on Knowles as the Diana Ross-esque leader of the trio, Rowland earned her own devoted fanbase and carved out a Mary Wilson-type stardom all her own. Her 2002 collaboration with rapper Nelly, "Dilemma," topped not just the U.S. charts, but charts around the world, becoming one of the biggest global smashes of the decade and winning both performers Grammy Awards. It proved an excellent calling card for Rowland as a solo artist, and she successfully launched her solo debut, 2002's Simply Deep, which became a modest U.S. success but a major European success, topping the U.K. album chart and spawning hits like "Stole," "Can't Nobody" and "Train on a Track." Rowland also branched out into acting, recurring on "The Hughleys" (ABC, 1998-2000; UPN, 2000-02), scoring a juicy supporting role in the horror blockbuster "Freddy vs. Jason" (2003), and playing the famed singer Martha Reeves on the nostalgia-tinged series "American Dreams" (NBC, 2002-05).
In 2004, the reunited Destiny's Child released their fourth album, Destiny Fulfilled. It was a bittersweet goodbye for both the ladies and their fans. Like its predecessors, it spawned a string of hits, including "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier," followed by a massive world tour. Their final album # 1s was released in October 2005 as a thank you to their fans and became the biggest-selling "greatest hits" album by any female group in the history of recorded music. Firmly entrenched as one of the most successful girl groups of all time, Destiny's Child went their separate ways, with Rowland dropping her second solo set, 2007's Ms. Kelly, which made little impression in the U.S. but earned her a pair of top five hits in the U.K.: "Like This" featuring Eve and "Work." The lukewarm reception to the album inspired Rowland to cut ties to Mathew Knowles and her record label and to search for a new professional direction, which she found when she collaborated with DJ David Guetta to co-write and sing the soaring dance anthem "When Love Takes Over," which topped charts around the world and became her signature song.
Guetta and Rowland joined forces again for the U.K. Top Ten hit "Commander" off her 2011 album, Here I Am, which spawned an American hit, the U.S. R&B chart-topping "Motivation" featuring Lil Wayne. In addition to her music, Rowland also continued her inroads into screen work, competing on the reality show "Clash of the Choirs" (NBC, 2007), co-hosting "The Fashion Show" (Bravo, 2009-2011), and serving as a judge on the U.K. version of "The X Factor" (ITV, 2004- ) as well as the Australian series "Everybody Dance Now" (Network Ten, 2012). She scored a role in the ensemble hit "Think Like a Man" (2012) and readied her 2013 album, Talk a Good Game, which included singles like "Kisses Down Low." Longtime fans received a special treat, however, when Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Beyoncé Knowles for an electrifying mini-Destiny's Child reunion during the latter's massively publicized Super Bowl halftime show performance in early 2103.
By Jonathan Riggs