Kelly Rowland first rose to stardom as a member of Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling groups of all time. Although she found herself in the shadow of Beyoncé, Rowland was the first in the group to release a solo album. Her 2002 debut, the r&b and rock-influenced Simply Deep, sold well, while “Dilemma,” her duet with rapper Nelly, topped the charts and made her a household name. She also won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It seemed for a brief moment that Kelly’s fame might even eclipse Beyoncé’s.
But then two things happened: Beyoncé’s star went supernova with her debut, Dangerously in Love, and sales of Rowland’s next album, Ms. Kelly, tanked. Her fortunes improved when she scored another smash hit, “When Love Takes Over,” this time with French DJ David Guetta. Now Rowland is looking to build on that success with her third album, which finds her in the twin roles of r&b diva and dancing queen. “[I] mean business,” she insists, “whether that’s making people dance or making people feel in an emotional way when it comes to r&b.”
On Here I Am, she gets right down to business, from the assertive opener “I’m Dat Chick” to the confident “Commander,” a thumping, club-centric number. Rowland channels her softer side on bedroom-themed tracks like “All of the Night” and “Work It Man.” The album’s highlight is her sexy duet with Lil Wayne, “Motivation.” With Here I Am, Rowland proudly declares that she’s here to stay.