Singer-songwriter Kelly Rowland — one-third of the legendary R&B trio Destiny’s Child, along with Beyoncé Knowles and Michelle Williams — will look to mentor a new musical “girl group” in Chasing Destiny, a new documentary series premiering Tuesday (April 5) on BET. Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead caught up with Rowland to discuss her move into television as executive producer of Chasing Destiny, as well as her thoughts on its place in the slew of music competition series on television, such as The Voice. Here’s an edited excerpt of their conversation.
MCN Original Video: Content Spotlight on BET's 'Chasing Destiny,' With Kelly Rowland
MCN:What inspired you to createChasing Destiny?
Kelly Rowland: For me, it was filling a void in the marketplace. Growing up, I remember there were so many different musical groups, whether they were male or female, and I wanted to see that again. Right now there’s only Fifth Harmony, Little Mix (which I put together) and One Direction — and all of them are from these reality competition shows. I didn’t want to do that, but instead I wanted to do a show where people were following me on this journey, so it ended up being a documentary.
MCN:You mentioned that there are very few female singing groups. Why are there so few groups these days?
KR: I don’t think it’s so much the business as much as there are a lot of young and upcoming artists who just want to be solo artists … I think that they think that’s all that there is, but if you share the light you sparkle brighter. I came from a great group and, within groups, they have the opportunity to showcase comradery, to be great in what they are doing and to make an impact on culture.
MCN:How does your showChasing Destinydiffer from similar music or talent-discovery shows likeAmerican IdolorThe Voice?
KR: For one, there’s no cutting or elimination process — you’re just seeing the group evolve and come together. There will be moments where we’ll have girls that probably won’t stay, whether it’s because of themselves or they come in and say, “I’m not cut out for this.” They’ll also see that there’s a lot of work involved; you’ll never know what’s going to happen. The cameras are rolling and they catch everything in its most organic and authentic state.
MCN:Has the TV music-competition genre had a positive influence on the music industry in general?
KR: I think that when you have great artists like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood that come from shows like Idol, you’re excited for them, but they also started with something magical going in. They started with a great work ethic, they love music and it’s what they live and breathe. When you have great artists like them, you realize that shows like that could be something special. But when it’s expected to find a star overnight, that’s when it becomes a hindrance to the business.
MCN:You’re executive producer of the series and you’re also starring in it as well. Will you look to do more television projects along with your musical endeavors?
KR: Absolutely. It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun so far. I didn’t know it entailed so much work in terms of thinking about all the extra things that go along with producing a show, and the logistics of everything is a lot of work. (Laughs.)
MCN:Will we see your Destiny’s Child sisters on the show?
KR: We’ll see. I’m calling on everybody to be completely honest not only for their knowledge but to tell everyone out there about the music industry.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.