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6 Things to Know About Kelly Rowland's 'Here I Am'

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ESSENCE.com guest editor Kelly Rowland's hot new album "Here I Am" is all the buzz this week.

Here she shares six tidbits you should know about "Here I Am":

It took a long time for her to decide on an album title.
“At one point I asked my fans to help,” says Kelly. “Finally, I was having a meeting with my product manager and I said, ‘I want people to know that I’m here, that this is the most revealing record I’ve ever done, that this is the record, here I am.’ My product manager says, ‘that’s it.’"

She took a lot of creative control on this album, down to the sequencing of the songs.
“I wanted everything to be so definitive, like the songs and the lyrics, the arrangements, everything. I wanted to make a statement on this record. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s that the sequencing of a record is so important. The titles and the sounds just have to flow into one another -- that’s incredibly important.”

She worked with her favorite producers.
“I met back up with Rodney Jerkins because I hadn’t seen him since the last Destiny’s Child record. Being back with him was as if we had finished the DC record yesterday, and we picked right up where we left off. He has such amazing energy. Rico Love laid the foundation. I love him. He pushed me so much, and I am just so grateful to him because he brought out a different side of me. I also loved working with Red One, and Jim Johnson. His mom made me chocolate brownies, so I was really happy.”

She wanted to bare it all on the album photo shoot.
“Derek Blanks asked me about the wardrobe for the album shoot and I held up a pair of my favorite baggy jeans, a little bandeau, and a little thong for the bottom. He goes, ‘What?’ I was like, ‘I want it to be all skin. For me this is a celebration of feeling comfortable and confident.’ As a woman that feels so good. I just turned 30, and for me it was all about coming into my own."

She got all glammed up to record “I’m That Chick.”
"That day I showed up in the studio with a full face of makeup -- I mean, red lips and this wing-tipped eyeliner. I got in the studio and everyone was like, ‘Where are you going?’ [Laughs] But I really wanted to feel that powerful when I was singing this song. I felt like superwoman."

She recorded the album in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. All during the day.
Contrary to music lore, Kelly says she isn’t the type to break the dawn in the studio. “Let me tell you, I like my sleep,” she says. “I usually start around noon and I finish around 9pm. I liked recording in Miami because those studios have a lot of light, and they have a great vibe."

Have you listened to Kelly's "Here I Am" yet?
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