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Kelly Rowland Plays to the Gay Girls at Gir Bar's Dinah Shore Week: Exclusive

Kelly Rowland Plays to the Gay Girls at Gir Bar's Dinah Shore Week: Exclusive

Kelly Rowland is a five time Grammy award winner, who has also made her mark as a songwriter, dancer, actress and most recently, television host. She has signed on to headline the 2010 Saturday night Girl Bar main event, “Circus a Go-Go,” during the big lesbian event, the Dinah Shore Week in Palm Springs.

Kelly Rowland is a five time Grammy award winner, who has also made her mark as a songwriter, dancer, actress and most recently, television host. She has signed on to headline the 2010 Saturday night Girl Bar main event, “Circus a Go-Go,” during Dinah Shore Week in Palm Springs. 

I recently caught up with Rowland to chat about her career, her girl crush and playing for the girlzz at Dinah Shore. She is looking forward to performing next month in the desert for thousands of screaming female fans. Rowland says, “It was easy to say yes when that call came. I’ll have a lovely audience who appreciate my music, so of course I wanted to play! It will be one big party.” While it’s the first time she will be playing for an all female or all lesbian crowd, she’s not particularly nervous. Instead, she’s expecting it to be both empowering and incredibly energetic.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Houston, Rowland still considers Texas home. I notice she substitutes pretense for a contagious friendliness, as she answers my questions a soft southern accent. Rowland says of Texas, “It’s just a really nice southern place that I still consider home.

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Kelendria “Kelly” Rowland felt the pull to perform early. She was singing and dancing from as early as four years old. She recalls, “I remember watching Whitney Houston and shows like A Different World and wanting to perform for an audience.” Her first opportunity to really shine came at five years old when she was invited to do a solo in her church choir. Afterward, the choir leader pulled her mother aside and told her Rowland really had talent. She never looked back.

After joining, Beyonce Knowles, as a member of Destiny’s Child in 1992, Rowland and the others worked their way through the Houston club scene and eventually opened for bands such as SWV, Dru Hill and Immature. Finally, in 1997, the band landed a recording contract with Columbia Records. Numerous number one hits followed over the next decade as the teenage trio rose to become one of the most popular R&B groups of the 1990s. 

I asked her if she still gets stage fright and she laughs and say, “Of course! Any time I get up to perform I have a little bit of nerves, but that’s healthy and part of the fun.” She names her bible as her good luck charm that travels with her and keeps her grounded to her Texas roots.

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Rowland readily admits to having several gay friends and doesn’t shy away from saying she takes a cue on the topic from her wise grandmother, “She always said, ‘People are people and love is love. It’s hard enough to out there, so just have love.’”

Rowland loves collaboration and has done  so with huge success with both Nelly on “Dilemma” and more recently with French DJ David Guetta on “Love Takes Over.” When asked with whom she would dream to collaborate in future, she names Sade. Rowland says, “Her voice and her songwriting are incredible. She has a dedicated audience that love her, and I am one of them.”

As for her ongoing collaboration with Guetta, who is producing her current solo album, Rowland says, “David gets it done. He calls it like it is, good or bad, which I really appreciate.” She explains that the European dance and electronic music scene are more experimental, edgy and gritty. They tend to lead the sounds that eventually trickle down to the United States music, so she loves spending time in those markets to guide her sound.

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Rowland, who was prepping to depart for a trip to Australia, says she depends on meditation to keep her steady during stressful times. She also says she tries to eat clean, including plenty of sushi and salads in her diet. Rowland names Miami’s Prime 112 as her favorite dining spot, and hits it anytime she’s in town. As for what’s on her iPod, she scrolls through it and gives a nervous laugh. She says, “Well, actually, I’m mostly listening to Chris Brown and Rihanna lately.” Then she adds a quick disclaimer, “Their business is their own, and I respect them as artists. They make beautiful music.”

Speaking of beautiful, I inquired about her female celebrity crush. She didn’t skip a beat before naming the often chosen Angelina Jolie. She said, “I mean look at her –she’s stunning!”

In addition to her music, Rowland also has her hands in several other projects. She recently hosted Bravo’s The Fashion Show alongside Isaac Mizrahi, which she thoroughly enjoyed. That said, she has no plans to launch a clothing line like many of her contemporaries.

Rowland would rather put her focus toward her new charity: I Heart My Girlfriends, a non-profit with a mission to with empower women and young girls, with a focus on inner city residents. She hopes to build relationships between women and girls and strengthen their emotional, mental and spiritual heath – no small feat. She plans to release more details on the charity and begin the rollout in March.

Rowland will perform on Saturday, April 3 at the Renaissance Hotel (formerly Wyndham) Grand Ballroom. Tickets and info available at:  www.dinahshoreweekend.com

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Jenn Kennedy