How To Be Kelly Rowland

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are not Kelly Rowland. For
this, I am sorry. Not to imply that Madame Rowland cannot read, but I’m
certain there are more pressing tasks on her agenda than reading advice
from someone who has not fertilized nor once inhabited Tina Knowles‘ tacky,
self-decorated, cajun-seasoned womb. Besides, questionable wigs won’t
buy themselves, now will they? Just the mere mention of the name should
prompt visions of grandeur, artistic excellence, and…success. But it
does not. Kelly’s is a world of missed opportunities, polished mediocrity,  and third-tier artistry. It’s not easy being Kelly Rowland, so God may
have, in fact, done you a favor by not making you Kelly Rowland. It’s
hard work. Who else will sweep the songs Brandy, Solange, and virtually
every other person not named Beyoncé reject off of the studio floor? In
the instance that you, person who is a potentially eager pop star, would
like to be Kelly Rowland, lemme upgrade you allow me to clue you in on the work required to accomplish absolutely nothing in a decade this grand task.

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Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this tale HOW TO BE KELLY ROWLAND.

Be the skinny but promising second fiddle in a record-smashing girl group. Sing lead occasionally, but specialize largely in “oohs” and “aahs.” Fail to establish a distinct personality in a group of bubbly country girls. After a few personnel changes, become Chocolate Jan Brady, the perfectly forgettable middle child between the ever-whitening Creole JonBenet “Lady Catfish” Jenkins-Ramsey-Knowles and Deaconess Shug Avery-Williams. Before the ride ends, label yourself as “alternative,” let Lady Catfish’s kid sister and sometimes backup dancer pen your solo record. Offer good, deceptively promising material and have an undeniable hit with a St. Louis-based rapper. Have one of the most successful albums of the year, but come off as the longtime background singer pushed unexpectedly into the spotlight.

Record a
follow-up album. Recruit a list of producers that, for any other
singer, would be impressive and promising. Have your project delayed, shelved,  and renamed. “Switch directions.” “Rework [your] marketing plan.” Go
back into the studio, promising more lively, “sassy,” upbeat material.
Issue an album of pretty mood music, peppered with the occasional homerun
(see: “The Show”). Drop an enjoyable first single (“Like This”), a horrible second single (“Ghetto”), and an amazing third single and gorgeous accompanying video (“Work”). Make no focused efforts to ensure personal success.

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Remain skinny and in wonderful shape even when your former groupmate’s hips start to spread. Write and sing a huge, omnipresent, well-received and critically praised dance record (“When Love Takes Over”)
that is eventually named Dance Song Of The Year (Billboard) and win two
GRAMMYs. Receive the most international radio play and accolades up to that point in
your entire post-Destiny’s Child career.

Don’t do a
dance album. Don’t embrace talk of you being “the next Donna Summer.”
Open your resumé in WordPerfect and say to yourself, “Choose a lane?
Make a creative statement? But, why? I was in Destiny’s Child!” Point
to the screen and take on a cocky tone when you say, “But, I was in
Destiny’s Child!” Select the line that says, Empowered Backing Vocalist – Destiny’s Child and make it size 36 font, bold. File > Save. Close your resumé with a smirk of satisfaction. 

Insist on succeeding in R&B.

Embrace your urban roots. You were born in Atlanta and raised in Houston, remember? Call your third album, Here I Am,
leading listeners to believe that you won an auction on eBay, catching
an awesome deal on a box of Artistic Identity or that this is a
declarative, defining personal statement in musical form. Know that this
is a lie. Have another undeniable smash with your second first single,
“Motivation.” Deliver a widely praised performance at the EBT Awards,
then rehash the live showing weeks later on Jay Leno, making sure to sound absolutely insane.

promote, and present yourself as if you were a new artist. Have nothing to build upon. Be the girl pretty who, more than two
solo albums in, is completely unsure of what she wants to be known or
remembered for. (Note: This is also known as the “Ciara Method.”)
Open with an unconvincing female empowerment album. Fill your album
with lifeless and personality-free songs. Allow “rapper”/producer Rico Love to, completely
non-jokingly, and decades after the ninth grade, refer to his penis as a
“python” on your record (“All of the Night”).
Oh, also rinse the condom off and get your sloppy sixths with the most
overused line of the past two years (“It’s going down like a basement.”).
Immediately follow that with the album’s standout and easily the best song of your career, a stunning Brandy
impersonation, “Keep It Between Us.” Know that “best song of your career” doesn’t say much, either. Clumsily
hopscotch between genres, showcasing the latest addition to your resume,
Master of None. Explore your newly acquired international influences, choose the most generic songs in each of those genres, and place them all at the end of the album.

Key Points:

Be gorgeous. Remain the likable and scandal-free
Southern girl. Say things like “I’m not allowing ANYONE to put me in a
box,” and don’t believe your own words. Have a beautiful capable voice, but be sure to never cultivate a distinct style or sound. In general, be sure to never get it.
(This is most important!) Lack direction. Hell, that would mean
potentially venturing toward the lane
where Creole JonBenet exists. Be great at making decent music.
Specialize in short-lived buzz. Become Queen of The False Start. Don’t
realize that your highest-charting singles all feature rappers. Hop on any hook. Silently brand yourself “The Meagan Good of Music.”

Pray for a Destiny’s Child reunion.

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