Michelle Williams Dishes to JET

Best known as one-third of the multi-platinum singing trio Destiny’s Child, Michelle Williams knows exactly how to take the lead and step into her own spotlight. Take for instance her stellar performances in more than five theater productions, including Fela! and The Color Purple. Or you can use the songstress’ three top selling solo albums as an example. Either way you spin it, Williams is a star.

Now, the artist is gearing up for her latest musical project, Journey to Freedom, which is set to hit shelves February 11, 2014. With the release of two uplifting tracks, If We Had Your Eyes and Fire, her next gospel album is sure to be another success.

JET was lucky enough to chat exclusively with Williams during a recent trip to Chicago. Find out what the Heard A Word singer had to say about her upcoming album and new reality show and what she’s expecting from the holiday season this year. Watch her latest music video, too, at the end of the post.

JET: You’re gearing up for your latest album. Your first two singles are great! What else can fans expect from the album?

Michelle Williams:  I always stay prayerful. He [God] let me know the kind of producer I was supposed to work with, so I worked with the bonafide, R&B, pop producer Harmony Samuels, who pretty much did the whole album. We got with some writers who might have been raised in the church, but they still write for the Jennifer Hudsons and the Ariane Grandes. I said “if you had to write God a song, what would you write Him?” That’s how some of the songs came about. My album was the first gospel project that people participated on, and they thought it was a way to give back their gift to God.

JET: LeToya Luckett, a Destiny Child’s veteran, made an appearance in the If We Had Your Eyes video. How’d that come about?

MW: She and I had connected about going on three years ago. It was something I didn’t asked for. An assistant of mine at the time connected with her and said “hey, I think you and Michelle need to connect.” She didn’t believe it was my number, so she called me one day.

I felt like sometimes, to be honest with you, we’ve have to avoid each other and everybody in the group. It was like “oh my goodness, they’re in the building.” We’re grown. We don’t have to be like “do the red carpet when LeToya leaves the red carpet.” That’s stupid. I’ve admired her growth. I’ve admired her perseverance, and she’s just a great woman.

JET: You also have a reality show, My Sister’s Keeper, that is in the works. What’s the status on that?

MW: The status is just waiting to find the right network. It’s producers and networks’ job to get involved to make it the best that it can be. I just want to find the right family to make sure that my vision always stays in the forefront to make it positive.

JET: There are a lot of reality shows out right now. What made you decide that this would be the right platform to use to get your face out there?

MW: I want be on a program that shows people bonding. It might be over conflict, but its showing resolution and showing that we’re sisters. So what do sisters do? We have disagreements. “You always tell me who I should be dating, but at the end of the day, I love you.” It’s also a way for them to get to know me again, because for 14 years I’ve been travelling and on the road. I’ve missed birthdays. I’ve missed nieces and nephews being born. I’ve had to miss out on a lot of their life. That’s the sacrifice people don’t realize you make. You spend a lot of time away from your family.

JET: What kind of things do you and your sisters argue about?

MW: I’m the baby. It’s just basically me telling them what to do. They’re like “you’re the little sister. Shut up!” I think it’s me trying to put my experiences on them. The majority of our fights are because I’m telling somebody what to do. A big fight was that my older sister worked for me as my executive assistant. For me to have to tell her sometimes what to do, that didn’t always sit well with her.  But we’re very cool. My hometown just recognized me the other day on Saturday. They had this amazing honors luncheon for me, so I was able to really express to my family how much I love them and appreciate them. I know they got my back.

JET: What reality shows do you tune in to?

MW: I love Nene’s show [I Dream of Nene: The Wedding]. I like the recent installment of the R&B Divas L.A. I think that was hilarious. I think Lil’ Mo is just hilarious, and I love what she’s doing. Duck Dynasty was just at a church that I sometimes go to when I’m home. Duck Dynasty is an amazing show on A&E.  l like shows like The First 48. My major in college was criminal justice, so I have to watch shows like that to just get if off of my chest. I always ask myself, “What would I have done?” I watch Judge Judy and Judge Mathis too. Oh! I love Ms. Robbie from Welcome to Sweetie Pies! Every time they show that golden fried chicken, I’m tempted to just drive to St. Louis (laughs).

JET: Now, Kelly has this song called “Dirty Laundry.” When you heard it, what was your take on it?

MW: I’m very proud of her boldness. She told her story, and I think that’s what people gravitate toward. What is your story? What is your genuine story? Sometimes we have to come out diva-fied, and it’s about having your own and being powerful. It’s about all of that, but not knowing that we’re hurting inside or that things have happened. It comes to point when you say, “Man, I don’t care what anybody says. I’m going to tell you the real story and what’s going on.” So many people identify with her story. I think she’s done it in a very tasteful way and in a very good way.

JET: The holiday season is coming up.  Has there been a gift that you received that was the absolute worst?

MW: At the time what I thought was the worst I ended up using. I got some lavender colored pajamas. I was like, “Man, I really don’t want this.” But I’ve worn them bad boys now (laughs). I had an uncle that would give us things like calculators and socks. He’s a math teacher, so he’s a little weird. Bless his heart. It wouldn’t be like the Texas Instrument calculator. Remember the real high tech one? It would be like the one with big numbers. I can’t be a senior in high school with this. I was pissed (laughs). But those pajamas came in handy. I’m single. I don’t have to go to bed looking cute for anybody. I just put them lavender pajamas on looking like Barney.

The best gift I received was from Kelly [Rowland]. She got me this painting of her favorite picture of me. She sent it to me. It was huge, so it’s on top of my fireplace where the TV should be, but it’s me (laughs). It’s still in my house to this day. But at this point, I look forward to the reactions to the gifts that I’m going to give people. I’m so used to that so my gift is seeing people’s reactions.