The anticipation for Kelly Rowland’s first full-length album in five years has reached an all-new high.
On Wednesday (Sept. 11), the Grammy-winning superstar sent her Rowland Stones into speculation overload when she posted a gorgeous portrait of herself on social media with a link to her official website and a coffee cup emoji.
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) September 11, 2019
When fans click on the link, they are instantly taken to a landing page where the beautiful promo photo reappears as the website’s backdrop. Her name is centered in bold white letters. Scrolling down the page a bit further, fans are invited to subscribe for updates to “be the first to know”; the first to know what, exactly?
Rowland’s fans seem to think she may be releasing her long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s Talk a Good Game in the near future.
While it’s a strong possibility a proper studio album is on the way, Rowland has a history of sporadic release dates.
A five-year gap stood between her 2002 debut (Simply Deep) and her second set (Ms. Kelly), while it took four years to put out her third album Here I Am.
Rowland, who treated fans with an enjoyable three-track project this summer, is up to something and we’re here to get to the bottom of it.
Editor’s Note as of April 17, 2020: Kelly Rowland’s cryptic tweet that featured the coffee emoji didn’t leave Folgers in our cup as previously hinted last September. She did, however, spill the beans in April 2020 and released her brew worthy track “Coffee.”
Here’s everything we know so far about Rowland’s next album.
1. Her new album will reportedly be released independently.
In a solo career that spans 17 years, Rowland has released four albums on three different major labels, including Columbia Records, Universal Motown and Republic Records.
Rowland ended her contract with the latter label less than a year after releasing Talk A Good Game.
“I feel like right now, I just needed something new and I’ve earned the right to make my own choices and make my own decisions,” Rowland told Marc Lamont Hill of HuffPost Live in March 2014. “I wish them well, they wish me well. No hard feelings, I just needed a fresh, new start.”
Now, like many recent R&B veterans, Rowland is taking the indie route for her upcoming work. The singer launched her own label, which is named after herself, last year. Rowland already dropped two standalone singles and a mini-project under the imprint.
Following the release of her eponymous single in December 2018, Rowland revealed on Instagram why she is happy with releasing music on her own terms.
“I don’t have a label that is putting all the money or anything behind everything, it’s all me,” she explained. “I gave myself permission to say, ‘It’s okay that I don’t have a label.’ I had a label my whole life and every time I had a label it was just always something. I did this on my own and I’m very proud. I believed in me and I believed in this record. I put my money behind it and so far everybody is loving it.”
2. It will be her most vulnerable project to date.
Rowland has reportedly been working on her fifth album since as early as spring 2014. With years of time to grow personally and professionally, it is only natural that the direction of Rowland’s next album has changed.
In a February 2019 interview with daytime talk show The Real, Rowland shared how recording this new album has been therapeutic.
“I consider myself rich in a way where I feel life is enriching me,” she expressed. “Through different things, through marriage, through having my son one week and losing my mom the next. It’s so many different things that have shaped me and I’m just going through it and I just can’t keep that kind of stuff to myself. I feel like it’s worth sharing and I want to share it. I want to be honest and transparent.”
The most notable quote about her yet-titled forthcoming album surfaced during an Instagram live last winter.
“I promised myself for this record I’m not writing anything that could go to any other young lady who sings R&B — with all due respect,” she said. “I just wanted it to be very personal. And I want it to be more organic and honest. It’s some stuff I decided to talk about on records that I even shocked myself that was like word vomit that I’m saying. I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I allowed myself to be a real human. It feels fantastic and I’m very proud.”
3. Rowland is open to working with newcomers.
Since breaking the news that she was working on her fifth album, Rowland has been very clear about one thing – working with fresh talent.
From songwriters to producers, the singer has expressed the desire to create music with a new breed of creatives who could upgrade her sound.
Over the last few years, Rowland has kept her word and has hit the studio with newcomers like Ray BLK, DJ Camper, and NOVA and Kyle Coleman who “surprised” her with the self-titled promotional track. She also gave emerging hitmakers TWhy Xclusive and LordQuest an opportunity to write and produce joints on The Kelly Rowland Edition.
“Even as an artist to this day, I still feel like I learn and grow from any and everybody that I’m around and you have to allow that to happen. It’s so important to keep yourself open to creativity,” said Rowland earlier this year.
Rowland also left room to work with music genius Pharrell, who she confirmed was on board for the new album back in 2014. At this time, it’s not clear if that particular record will make it on the track list. It would be a nice addition after minor modern adjustments to fit the current state of music.
4. The album will have a more defined rollout.
Gold is the new platinum in today’s music industry. The streaming era has made it possible for many artists of all genres – new and established – to earn gold and platinum certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for their respective singles and albums.
Rowland, who only has one certified gold album (Simply Deep) under her belt, has a reputation for losing momentum for an album once she gets an inkling that the label inside 100 percent behind it anymore.
— KELENDRIA NATION (@KellyRowNation) May 19, 2019
Now that the shoe is on the other foot and she is fitting the bill, Rowland has promised that she is “definitely going to come through with the promo.”
Her commitment to push her future project could land Rowland her second album certification. Here I Am and Talk a Good Game deserved more.
5. The album could be dropping later this month.
If there’s one lesson Rowland has probably learned from her major-label days, it’s to avoid prematurely announcing a release date because it might get delayed.
Nowadays, she is getting the hang of dropping music without warning like her fellow Houston sister Beyoncé.
But, Rowland’s next album might have a release date in mind. In an Instagram Live post on Wednesday (Sept. 11) to promote her second limited-edition Fabletics collection, the singer was asked by a fan when they can expect her forthcoming LP.
— KELENDRIA NATION (@KellyRowNation) September 11, 2019
Rowland responded in an innocent manner, asking those around her if there were 27 days in the month of September. Once she received confirmation that they’re in fact 30 days in this month, she practiced subtraction that led back to a total of 27.
Looking at the calendar for September, the 27th does indeed fall on a New Music Friday. It’s not the last day of the month, but it is the final Friday.
Editor’s Note as of April 17, 2020: Kelly did not release an album, project or single on September 27. The caffeinated track arrived this spring. Watch the video below.