Interview: Kelly Rowland's All About Action

If you want to make a change and give back to society, do it like you really mean it.

That was the sentiment projected by former member of best-selling female band, Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland when met us at the ecoStyle's Fundraising Gala held at the Mandarin Oriental recently.

She sure has a point there.

It's a common thing nowadays to have A-list celebrities involved in charities and awareness campaigns.

As a matter of fact, it has become a must for every artiste to be associated with at least one charity and awareness campaign.

But now, how truly effective are these causes and how far would one go?

Living up to her words, the dedicated Rowland took some time off her hectic schedule to support the cause championed by ecoStyle.

Born out of a global movement by the fashion and design communities working towards environmental friendliness, ethical shopping and renewable resources, ecoStyle encourages the first steps towards educating the style and design industries on alternatives and educating consumers on achievable ways of adjusting their lifestyle for the benefit of the planet.

The 26-year-old singer accepted the invitation simply because she's tired with numerous global warming conferences that, more often than not, offered no positive outcome. And this, according to Rowland, was simply because participating countries can't let go of their political interests, America especially.

"Everything is so political everywhere. To make decision in feeding the starving can even take days even months before any action is taken," she said.

"The same goes with global warming. We should have done something concretely way back when our ozone began to thin. As a matter of fact, up till today, when we finally realised how it could cause major devastation, no appropriate action has been taken. Lessen the talking and speed up the action before its too late, please," Rowland told FLIP.

Rowland said she's aware that the 'go green' campaign might face some difficulty in being accepted by many, especially in convincing the designers, to sell clothes made from recycled fabrics.

But it has to start somewhere and among the first to do so was Valen McCartney.

"I really admire McCartney's environment-friendly designs. She is one of the pioneering designers who really thinks about 'going green' in her creations. Hopefully her success will drive others to follow in her footsteps," Rowland said.

Rowland said she can't agree more with scientists' claiming that among the main things that contributed to the greenhouse-effect was us humans.

"We can't cut down on airconditioning or choose to walk instead of drive to the shop nearby. Despite being told how individual efforts can stop the excessive warming, people still couldn't care less about the consequences, maybe until they see how bad things are going to be with their own eyes," she said in a serious tone.

Rowland seemed to take the matter very seriously and listening to her talk in person will convince anyone of her commitment.

Walking the talk, while many still feel reluctant to use recycling bins placed by the government in their neighbourhoods Rowland took it one step further by putting those colourful bins inside her house to teach her family and friends, especially Beyonce and Michelle, on how to start recycling.

Speaking of Beyonce, Rowland said, since her childhood friend already has a clothing line, she's going to do her bit in 'going green'.

"Almost everyone in Hollywood has their own clothing line, Beyonce included. So if you ask me whether I'm going to apply the 'go green' message into my fashion line, I'll let Beyonce do it on my behalf with her line.

"It is not that I do not want to do it myself, it's simply because I'm more into make-up. I want people to look good without having to use products that require killing any endangered animal or cutting down trees, you know what I mean," she said.

Fair enough. But what spreading the awareness through about her music, especially when it's known to be a powerful tool of change, we asked her.

"You know what, that is something that never crossed my mind before. I would love to do it, provided there are creative producers who can help me arrange pieces of music that can truly capture people's hearts all over the world.

"With music being a universal language that can reach people anytime and anywhere, who knows, my songs could drive people to start recycling," she said.

Since our topic of conversation has shifted to music, it's pertinent to mention that Rowland will be re-releasing her second album, Ms. Kelly in March 2008. The first single to mark the album release is Daylight, a collaboration with Gym Class Heroes and she was all excited about it.

"I had a great time recording it with those creative hunks," Rowland said of the collaboration.

"Shooting the music video for the song was hilarious, with Travis especially. He looked so funny and cute when he was riding a weird modified-bicycle in the middle of the bustling city.

"I'm looking forward to working with them again and if I'm lucky, I would love to collaborate with other great producers like Timbaland just to freshen up my sound a little more," she added.

When asked why she decided to re-release the album and not record a new one instead, Rowland said it was simply because she felt the final tracklist were made of too many midtempos and ballads.

"I didn't realise it while I was recording it. After it was released [back in June] many fans said the songs would rock if they were more upbeat."

"I guess that might have been the cause of the poor acceptance to Ms. Kelly the first time around. Hopefully, the fans are going to be much happier with the rereleased version."

When asked about the best way to describe her music, Rowland said all her solo albums serve as her secret diaries where she can be Kelly Rowland the person and not the star.

"My music is basically about the person in me, my feelings and how I dealt with things in life. I feel the sincerity is really important, especially in establishing the connection with my fans."

Speaking of fans, they are really precious to Rowland.

While most international artistes would skip Malaysia whenever they're around this region, Rowland said local regulations or rules are not an issue for her, if she's wanted, she'll definitely make the effort to be there.

"I don't care what kind of rules there are that I need to obey, because the most important thing for me is to be able to show all my love to fans, they are priceless."

"However, the way I see it, for those who refuse to compromise, Beyonce for example, [Rowland was made aware of the matter of how her former group member skipped Malaysia because she refused to comply to the dress code imposed], it's not because they're being disrespectful. Some people just perceive issues like that differently and for Beyonce, I believe she has her own reason," she said.

Well, jokingly we told Rowland that maybe Beyonce would come to Malaysia some time in the future, not alone, but as a part of Destiny's Child. Rowland's reaction hinted at a possibility.

"That, I don't know for sure. All I can say is anything can happen. Just wait and see. And if we do come, one thing is for sure, we are definitely going to rock you guys," she said.

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