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Q & A: Kelly Rowland

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The Scene chows on some soul food with Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland in her hometown of Houston.

The Scene: Where are we at the moment?

Kelly Rowland: This is "This Is It" -- one of my favorite restaurants in Houston. I've been coming here since I was a little girl. We come here for family dinners on Sundays and it's a whole ritual. It's got every soul food dish you could think of -- oxtails, macaroni cheese, rice, gravy, yams ... everything and the food here is amazing. After church we'd just get in the car and come here. Since I moved to Miami it's such a heartbreaking experience not to be able to go to a nice soul food restaurant. I haven't found one yet. This Is It is by far the best soul food restaurant I've ever been to and now when I come to Houston I make sure that I come here first. It's basically like school -- you come in, you get your tray and you go and queue up and you just want to eat everything. Usually if the whole family is here we'll talk for a minute and it's just silent after that because everything is just so good. This place is always crowded. I think the whole city of Houston is in here.

TS: So when you're on tour is this the place you look forward to coming back to?

KR: When you've been tour for so long and you think about going home to your home town we think, "Oh, we can go to This Is It." Even if we can't come by here we'll send someone to get it for us because we'll be craving it for the whole tour. This Is It is unique. There's only one in Houston and this is it.

TS: Describe Houston for us and how you ended up living here.

KR: Houston is very spread out. You have to have a car in Houston because everything is so spread out. But I love the fact that you can drive everywhere and you can also get a chance to sightsee. Everything right now is being remodelled and reconstructed and we've got buildings going up everywhere. I moved to Houston from Atlanta, Georgia when I was about seven or eight years old. And I remember it being such a very different experience for me because as a kid you have to make new friends and adjust and I remember I had no problem adjusting. My first thought of Houston was that there would cowboys everywhere and horses and big boots and all of that. Well, you still see cowboys but not as many as I thought you would. It's a beautiful city and I loved it.

TS: You've recently moved to Miami. How do the two compare?

KR: I moved almost a year ago. I love Houston but I really love Miami. But I think my heart will always be in Houston because I've experienced so much of life here, so much growing up here so it's always going to have a special place in my heart. Houston is way more laidback. But it's also a city that is really growing; it's becoming so universal. It's great. I don't think it's a very Texan place. The only thing Texan is our accents really.

TS: Houston was in the headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when a lot of people from New Orleans ended up staying here.

KR: When Hurricane Katrina happened a lot of the victims came to Houston. I'm just really proud of Houston as a city for welcoming everyone with open arms and being so supportive. I know families here who have been so supportive in taking in other families. They've given them clothes and I heard a story of one woman who gave a car to a family. I tip my hat to Houston because I'm so proud. It makes me proud to be a Houstonian. Any city that makes people feel as welcome as Houston does is a great city.

TS: You've been going to the same church in Houston since you were a kid. Did that inspire you to sing?

KR: I would definitely say church gives you a little more soul especially when you're listening to the music and the music here is amazing and it fills your heart and touches you soul. I've been singing since I was a kid and going to church just inspired me even more. You know I saw Whitney Houston singing on television in a red dress when I was three or four years old and I said I wanted to be a singer. When I met Whitney I couldn't even say anything, I was speechless and that moment felt so surreal. I remember we were in town for the Grammy Awards and we were walking through the lobby and Bobby Brown, Whitney's husband, came up and said, "Oh my God, my wife loves you." And he was like, "Please, come on, I want to take you all to meet her." I was so nervous but when I met her it was a dream come true and I love her. She's so supportive, she just sent us flowers for my birthday and we call her Aunt Whitney, and she's one of the sweetest people I've ever met.

TS: How's your new solo album coming on? Is it going to be a bit rocky like the last one?

KR: I do like rock. My last album "Simply Deep" was a little bit of Sade and a little bit of rock which is the weirdest fusion but it worked. My second album now is going to be more R & B. It's really a great experience because it's so personal. I wrote a lot on this album and I've had a wonderful time recording it. It's a feelgood record; very intimate. It's a sneak peak into my mind and heart of the past three or four years.

TS: Do you have a favorite song on it?

KR: There's one I like called "Better Without You." I think after any relationship, once you heal and you're able to move on, you realise you're actually ok by yourself and when you come to that point you realise how strong you are by yourself. It's a beautiful song, by far one of my favorites.

TS: Do you miss the other girls in Destiny's Child and do you think you'll get back together again?

KR: We see each other all the time. That's the best thing about being in a group, you know; it's not just a group, it's a friendship. As for playing together again, I guess we'll have to see what happens. If we want to do it then we will."



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