In the world of entertainment, I get why certain stars take on a risqué and über sexy persona. As entertainers, they’re expected to wow us and unfortunately for some, their vocal and acting skills just don’t cut it. We aren’t fans because they sing chills up our spine or deliver a raving performance on the silver screen.Instead, our obsession is because they’re hot in every physical sense of the word and sex sells.
For other celebrities, however, they’re just as talented as they are sexy, therefore we expect a balance when it comes to the artistic content they deliver. We love when they drop the steamy singles, but we also look for club bangers, love ballads, self-gloating anthems and inspirational tunes advocating on behalf of humanity. Kelly Rowland is among this relatively small group of talents, so when she released her latest single “Ice,” I wasn’t sure how to take it.
I’ve been a fan of Ms. Rowland since her Destiny’s Child days and a supporter of her solo career through the years. She’s beautiful and one of the few blessed with equally beautiful chops. After I finally got around to hearing “Ice” and then watching the video, I had a mixed bag of feelings: happy that she would probably have another hit on her hands, but also a little worried that she was headed down a road of sensual tunes with very little depth.
After her Billboard success with “Motivation” last year, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was trying to recreate that magic. After the split of Destiny’s Child, Rowland’s career wasn’t the most exciting thing in pop culture; and as much as I and other devoted fans constantly rooted for her, it wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, though very talented and an individual in her own right, critics couldn’t seem to separate her from the massive shadow of international icon and former band mate Beyoncé. That is until she released “Motivation,” followed by the sexy and sweaty video to accompany the steamy song, and we can’t forget that topless VIBE cover. When her album released, I’m not sure how it did on the charts, but I don’t recall very much hoopla about it. It seemed as though her popularity lasted as long as the momentum from “Motivation” and that was about it. “Lay it on Me’ was another sexy jam–nowhere near its predecessor–but it revived Rowland’s musical relevance a short while longer on the American scene (Europe and other countries abroad have always loved her!).
I’m not a music analyst, nor have I discussed with Ms. Rowland the logic and motive behind yet another lustful single, so I could be all wrong—and hopefully so. But whether I stand correct or not, that’s what it looks like and as people say, “perception is reality.”
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It doesn’t matter if she has an album full of more balanced tracks (as proven with Here I Am). What she chooses to put out and promote will be the reality that people choose to gravitate toward and identify her with. I’m a genuine fan of Kelly’s. While I understand that the industry and its audience is very different than it was when she first debuted in the 90s, I still don’t want her to sell herself—or her fans—short.
We know she’s capable of sexy songs like “Ice,” but she can also deliver a dynamic ballad. While it may seem impossible to compete in a
near nude Rihanna (who I also happen to love) world, the good thing is you don’t have to. You just have to discover new ways to articulate your core message to a new generation. Prime examples of this are Monica and Brandy—two R&B living legends who reigned in a time where vocal skill was a requirement, not a bonus. Monica’s Still Standing album and Brandy’s latest Two Eleven did considerably well, catering to their faithful fans and picking up newbies.
As a fan, I want the world to see the genuinely talented Kelly that I see and not a used-to-be who’s now resorted to selling lust in hopes of landing a top spot on today’s scene.
What do you think of Kelly Rowland’s new single? Will her sexy image affect the way newer fans embrace her talent as a true artist?
Let’s keep in touch! Follow me on Twitter: @VerityReign
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