Michelle Williams may have become famous as one third of rnb trio, Destiny’s Child, but since the group decided to go their separate ways the singer has been on many projects fulfilling her own destiny as an independent woman. Flavour caught up with the multi-talented singer who tells us why the show must go on – next stop for the 28 year old starlet, London’s West End stage to star as Roxie Hart in Chicago the musical!
Firstly, congratulations on your role as Roxie.
Thank you, I’m very, very excited about it!
How did the role as Roxie come about?
Well it came about so quickly, my manager in the UK suggested it and asked if it was something I’d be interested in doing and so I’m like, yeah, sure, and then soon after that conversation I went in for an audition and they liked it. It’s an honour because Chicago is one of the longest production in the history of Broadway and the west end longest running production, so I’m thrilled to be part of something that’s already tried and true.
How do you feel about playing a such a sexy and murderous character?
She is she is…Well I actually played the role of Shug Avery in the Colour Purple before – she was sexy and racy, she was kinda out there. So I’m excited to come out of my shell like to come out of my shell and play something opposite of me, I can be very shy, at times, if you can believe it.
Do you feel being an entertainer sometimes compromise your faith?
No, not at all. I know that I’m guided by God and I know that this door would not open if it wasn’t for him. I definitely acknowledge Him in all that I do, especially when going out for roles and my albums; I really do wait for His guidance.
So would you say you’re particularly selective with roles?
Yeah, absolutely, there are some roles and opportunities that have come by been and I’m like, Hmmm, I don’t know…it has to be a good look for me, you know, I don’t knock people, I never judge people, but I’m particular in the things I choose to do.
Is acting on Broadway/ theatre something you’ve always wanted to do?
Absolutely, I remember coming to New York and going into Time Square and I always imagined what it would be like to be in one of those big shows. I remember I wanted to be in beauty and the Beast I ended up one year playing Aida which is a show that Disney produced, so I wasn’t too far away from Beauty and the Beast.
How does performing on a stage compare to performing as a recording artist?
To me, acting requires you to really come out of yourself. They don’t want to see me act, they want to see the character that I’m playing. Although I do try to put some of my ‘isms’ in it but I think when singers cross over into acting – sometimes you can still see that singer – you know?
Did you undergo much formal training?
I did. I lived in LA for over a year taking acting classes because I enjoyed the class so much. People thought I was an actress already – that’s fine, that’s cute, but I wanted to study to get my technique down.
Did you find it challenging?
The only challenges are coming out of your shell. You have to be vulnerable when you act, there may be some issue that you have to tap into…
Like when you played the music executive that had HIV?
Right, I researched and talked to people who had HIV because you know, playing that role, I didn’t want to offend. People were like, ‘I still have to live, I still have a life’. I’m not going to stop because I ‘m infected with this disease, so I took that with me for that particular role.
The date when you announced the band will no longer perform as group – there were reports you were depressed? Is that true?
We all went through a kind of depression during the separation … it was like, ‘this is real…this aint playing’, so you have to get used to that. I don’t think we took that seriously, on that last tour we were all laughing and joking, but the reality was it was the last. But now we all still talk as much as possible.
How do you feel now being on your own?
I feel great. I’ve had to up my game, but I’m loving it. They [the fans] seem to enjoy it.
Will you be touring the UK?
Absolutely, they’re actually putting dates in the calendar to tour the UK now. Which I’m very happy about. I still have to find time to promote my album, so it’ll be hard work, but it’ll be soon.
Do you believe in fate?
Absolutely, even what’s happening now.
Tell me something not many people know about you…
Errrm…(laughs) I have 3 tattoos.
Oh cool, where if you don’t mind me asking?
I’d rather not say-but one is visible, that’s just on my back…(laughs)
Starring in Chicago, in London – what’s your favourite city?
Well of course, I grew up in the Chicago, so here in the States, it’ll be Chicago and New York, and also Sydney and London. I love London; it’s like its own world, such a great mixture of people. I love the shopping too!
What do you think of British men?
I think they’re hot!
Is there a significant other in your life right now?
Yes there is actually…
Is it new or quite serious?
(Playfully) I’m not sharing all that!
You come across as very personable, how do you stay grounded?
It’s very easy for me, I think that’s mostly who I surround myself with…I like to be in that mode 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. I don’t watch much TV. I try to stay out of it as much as I can…which is weird. I mean I do watch TV, I’m just not watching videos and…I probably should, because I kinda get behind – although I do [watch music videos] when I’m working on an album, to see what’s going. But I do like to catch up on the Discovery Channel, A&E,and sitcoms sometimes.
What’s your greatest personal achievement?
My greatest achievement being able to remain humble and happy. You have achieved when you love what you do and you’re happy, where it doesn’t feel like a job. So that’s my wish for everybody – to be in a place where they’re happy doing what they do. That’s the greatest success.
So what about the talks of Destiny’s Child reforming?
I really have no idea, people say we’re getting back together in 2011, then some others will say I heard y’all getting back together in 2012…”. We haven’t even spoken about it between the three of us, so I can honestly say there is no truth to what’s out there. Right now I’m having a blast and I’m looking forward to coming to London.
Michelle Williams will appear at London’s Cambridge Theatre from July 13 until August 22.
Unexpected will be released in the UK later this year
Words by Chanel Williams