Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 08:40 UK

Talking Shop: Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams as Roxie Hart
Williams says Destiny's Child would be "crazy" not to reform

Michelle Williams achieved instant success when she became part of Destiny's Child in 2000.

She replaced LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett to join Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland in the girl group, which disbanded four years ago.

As well as being part of an act that sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, she has recorded two successful gospel albums.

But her return to pop last year, with an album called Unexpected, failed to set the charts alight, only reaching number 42 in the US.

After appearing in musicals Aida and The Color Purple in the US, she is heading to London's West End for a six-week stint as Roxie Hart in Chicago.


Are you nervous about your West End debut?

For my third show, for it to be here on the West End, I cannot complain.

It's such a legendary musical with legendary choreography so I'm a little nervous about that. But not in a bad way. I just wanna do my best. I hope people like it.

Tell us about the character of Roxie Hart in Chicago

I love Roxie Hart. She reminds me of me. You know, she's very witty, very smart, people aren't expecting her to come up with things the way she does. I just like the sassiness of the role.

Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child had 12 top 10 UK hits

When you joined Destiny's Child they were already a success. Was it hard trying to fit in with an established team?

They were going to pursue their career as a duo, actually, so they had already been doing shows as a duo that seemed to work but they wanted to try it again as a group.

So it was like, I had to come in with my game face on, ready to work with them, and then at the same time, I just kinda knew my place.

What was it like to be that successful all over the world?

It was shocking. I remember the very first time we came to London, people had already made these signs, 'we love you Michelle'.

The fans appreciate and really love Destiny's Child. In America, they do too. But over here, we would do concerts and people would pass out. I only saw Michael Jackson do that.

What are the downsides?

I was Twittering about that a month ago.

I'm in the freaking West End - I'm the first African-American woman to play this role on the West End

I'm over here alone, missing my friends and family, and they don't know why celebrities moan because they have the money and whatever.

I'm still a human. I don't care about money in the bank when my Mom is thousands and thousands of miles away.

Of course, when the cheque comes, I get a little happier. But it is lonely, I'm here by myself. Meeting new people, a new assistant, going through all this, I don't have to be in an entourage, it's literally just me.

Do you get bored with people asking if Destiny's Child are going to reform?

I'm happy to see that five years after we released our last album, people are still talking about us.

To me, I can't be mad at that. I'm excited about that, you know? Maybe one day we will get back together. We'd be crazy not to. Even if it's just to do a tour. I think that'd be crazy, if we didn't do it.

The singles We Break the Dawn and The Greatest from your last album, Unexpected, sounded like hits...

The whole album was a hit.

Were you disappointed it didn't do well in the charts?

Very disappointed because I don't go in the studio for my health.

Michelle Williams
Her last album reached number 42 in the US

I felt like I was ready to go, it seemed like it was doing well at first. So I understand you cannot depend on your label and your management for 100% backing.

I know there were things that I had to do, or could have done, that maybe I didn't do as well - maybe I didn't have a good enough internet presence. Sometimes artists have to market themselves now.

I'm still disappointed, but I was like, 'if God can give me an ounce of what you give others then I would be okay'. I don't ask for much. I gave out good music - that's enough.

Are you envious of the level of success that Beyonce has achieved?

I wouldn't say I'm envious but I know that I can have number one songs.

We all can. Myself, Kelly [Rowland] - she's got a number one song now with David Guetta [When Love Takes Over]. It's possible.

I don't care about money in the bank when my Mom is thousands and thousands of miles away

Destiny's Child, we're all solo. There's no reason why A, B and C can't have their own levels of success in lanes A, B and C. I might get in trouble for saying that but, oh well.

And what I hate people to do is, they don't think because I'm not visible over here with the number ones, they think I'm not doing anything or they think I'm not as successful.

But I'm in the freaking West End! I'm the first African-American woman to play his role in the West End!

But it's okay. The other day I was walking around London, nobody made a fuss - I like that. I wanna be respected for what I do but I don't wanna be bombarded and can't go anywhere.

So that's what I have over Beyonce. I can go anywhere I want.

Michelle Williams is appearing in Chicago, at London's Cambridge Theatre, from 13 July to 22 August. She talked to BBC News entertainment reporter Liam Allen.



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