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When Love Takes Over

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Title: When Love Takes Over  
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Subject: Sexy Bitch, Kelly Rowland, Everytime We Touch (David Guetta song), Repeat (David Guetta song), One Love (David Guetta song)
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When Love Takes Over

"When Love Takes Over"
Single by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland
from the album One Love
Released April 21, 2009 (2009-04-21)
Recorded 2008–09 at Gum Prod Studios (Paris, France)
Length 3:10
  • David Guetta
  • Frédéric Riesterer
David Guetta singles chronology
"Everytime We Touch"
"When Love Takes Over"
"Sexy Bitch"
Kelly Rowland chronology
"Breathe Gentle"
"When Love Takes Over"

"When Love Takes Over" is a song by French disc jockey (DJ)-music producer David Guetta from his fourth studio album, One Love. It was released as the lead single from the album on 21 April 2009 by Virgin Records (EMI France). The song was conceived when Guetta played the instrumental version during one of his DJ sets in summer 2008; American recording artist Kelly Rowland, who fell in love with the track, convinced Guetta to allow her to take it so that she could write and record vocals for it. It was co-written by The Nervo Twins.

According to Rowland, the song inspired her to pursue a more dance-oriented sound for her album Here I Am (2011), while Guetta noted "When Love Takes Over" for providing the framework for his future musical explorations and inspiring him to experiment with more urban sounds. Guetta and Frédéric Riesterer produced the song with piano riffs and a melodic backing track. Veronica Ferraro mixed the song, focussing primarily on giving Rowland's vocals a magical and inspiring tone. Critics would later state that Rowland's vocals on "When Love Take Over" helped to establish herself as a solo vocalist. The song's lyrics carry a message of the euphoria one feels when in love with a significant other, while the production bears some similarities to Coldplay's 2002 hit single, "Clocks", particularly the opening riff.

"When Love Takes Over" has been praised by many critics. Most noted the addition of Rowland's powerful and emotionally charged vocals which made the single the most memorable song from One Love. The production was praised for its lush production and euphoric sentiments. It achieved worldwide success by topping the charts in ten countries, including in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. At the time of release, it became Guetta's highest charting single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Rowland's second number one single in the United Kingdom. "When Love Takes Over" ranked at number one on Billboard '​s Best of 2009 Dance Club Songs chart. In 2013, Billboard named "When Love Love Takes Over" its number one dance-pop collaboration of all time, in addition to noting the lasting cultural impact that the collaboration would have on dance music and its indication of the emerging electronic dance music trend in America at its time of release.

In the song's accompanying music video, Rowland and Guetta reminisce of how the song came together. It follows the duo as they prepare for a party before coming together for the final result. "When Love Takes Over" was promoted mainly at award shows, including the MTV Latin Music Video Awards, NRJ Music Awards and the World Music Awards. Guetta and Rowland reunited in late 2009 to perform "When Love Takes Over" for the annual Miss Universe competition. The single earned seven Platinum certifications as well as five Gold certificates. Additionally, it earned Guetta two Grammy Award nominations for "Best Dance Recording" and "Best Non-Classical, Remixed Recording", the latter of which Guetta won for his "Electro Extended Mix" of "When Love Takes Over".


Kelly Rowland performing in Sydney, Australia in 2012.

Rowland has acknowledged on several occasions that although she loved dance music, it was not really the type of music she would record. While in Europe in 2008, she met Guetta at one of his DJ shows in Southern France, and commented that "Listening to him was just crazy."[1] Guetta was playing the instrumental version of "When Love Takes Over". Recalling that it brought tears to her eyes,[2] Rowland remarked, "I felt so much emotion from the track; something happened the first time I heard it, and it was just beautiful.[3] And I remember thinking 'Why is this touching me like this?' You know, it was like there was a kinda soul-tie to it!"[4] Upon meeting Guetta, she asked him for the song so she could write its lyrics. "So I met David and asked him for the track... He gave it to me, and I brought it back here to London, UK and wrote the actual song".[4] At a writing session in a London hotel room, Rowland and songwriting duo Nervo wrote the lyrics and melody over Guetta's backing track.[5] Rowland later joined Guetta and Julie Terry Lefèvre-Han in the recording studio to finish off the song.[6]

Later in a 2010 interview, The Nervo Twins revealed that Rowland's record label were not keen on the song despite their and Rowland's enthusiasm. Consequently "When Love Takes Over" was shelved until Guetta rediscovered the song when compiling his fourth studio album, One Love.[7] The finished song with Rowland's vocals and Guetta's production was premiered in March 2009 at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami.[3] A month later on 21 April 2009, the single was released in Europe,[8] and the United States.[9] In the UK, the single's release had to be brought forward to 11 June 2009 to combat an "inferior" cover version released on 9 May 2009.[10][11][12] Additionally, beginning in July/August 2009, American TV channel Bravo licensed the song for a two-month period, to use for in-house advertising.[13]

Recording and production

The recording and mixing of "When Love Takes Over" took place in summer and autumn of 2008. After Rowland heard the instrumental of "When Love Takes Over"—a piano loop-based melody with throbbing percussion—she asked Guetta if she could take the demo and several other tracks to work on. She wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals in London, within a day. She was aided by Australian songwriters and producers Miriam and Olivia Nervo (The Nervo Twins).[4] However the song remained unfinished until Guetta rediscovered the track while compiling his One Love album.[7] After getting selected for the album, "When Love Takes Over" was given to Frédéric Riesterer who, aside from producing the song with Guetta, was tasked the final audio mixing of the song.[14] However Riesterer decided to give the track to French mixing engineer Veronica Ferraro, who would later go on to say that "Reisterer was supposed to mix it, but he wanted me to do it and see how it turned out. The first time I heard the track I immediately knew it would be a huge hit." The track was mixed in September 2008, at Ferraro's Super Sonic Scale studio near Paris, the day after her birthday.[14]

Before working on the song's individual elements, Ferraro converted the recording sessions from a generic digital audio workstation system to her programme of choice, Pro Tools. Following this, she decided that she would focus primarily on Rowland's vocals.
"Frédéric had the right sounds on the drums and the keyboards, so I did not change very much. I just did some standard things, with EQ and compression and things like that. After that my obsession was to get the vocals to sound as good as possible. When I’m mixing a track, I want something to happen, something that takes the listener somewhere. You want the right things in the right place, but it’s not a technical issue. It’s actually an artistic issue to have everything in the right place – the mixing has to be magic. It was not difficult in this case, because I knew the song would be a hit, but I did my best to make the vocal sound magical, like an angel singing, so that the hit quality of the song was immediately obvious. I wanted to make sure that the voice takes you from the beginning to the end and doesn’t lose you."[14]

Ferraro told Sound On Sound that she did add a bass drum sample, as she felt that the kick was missing something. "Rather than equalise it, I added a little bit of my sample to make the BD track sound bigger". However she did alter the two piano elements of the song, using the Flex Studio Tool to widen the sound of the piano element without the delay. Additionally, Ferraro used a number of French plug-in software to amplify many of the track's instruments, including the violin, strings and guitar samples.[14] She then moved on to Rowland's vocals, which "were extensively processed", including equalization and de-essing. Then upon completion of her work on the song, Ferraro sent "When Love Takes Over" to her husband, Bruno Gruel, and his Elektra Mastering Suite which is located in the same building as the Super Sonic Scale Studio. Gruel received the song in a standard Pro Tools format, 24-bit/44.1 kHz. He used several pieces of software to realign all of the elements of the song, particularly the bass drums and low synths.[14]


A 19-second sample of "When Love Takes Over", where the "lush piano loop" and "throbbing percussion" lead into Rowland's "powerhouse diva vocals"

Problems playing this file? See .

"When Love Takes Over" is a synthpop[15] and "uplifting floor-filler"[16] produced by Guetta and his associate Frédéric Riesterer.[17] Jason Lipshutz from Billboard magazine described it as a "pop number built around a lush piano loop and throbbing percussion"[3] with trance elements.[16] According to the sheet music published at by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song was written in the key of F Mixolydian with a time signature of common time and a tempo of 130 beats per minute. The chord progression is Cm/FGm/F–F4–F.[18] The final recording and mixing took place at Gum Prod Studios in Paris.[17] Some elements of the song were compared to the riff and piano opener in the song "Clocks" by Coldplay.[15][16][19][20]

After gaining Guetta's approval to write vocals for the song, Rowland took the instrumental version to London,[2] where she wrote the bulk of the lyrics with The Nervo Twins (Miriam and Olivia Nervo) before sending the song back to Guetta,[1] who added his own contributions with Frédéric Riesterer. Rowland uses a vocal range of F3 to D5.[18] Guetta said that "Kelly['s vocals] had this Whitney Houston vibe and nailed it."[3] Critics agreed, noting that often her vocals were "powerful"[21] and "grand".[16] Others called them "a diva masterclass"[20] and "emotionally charged".[22] Fraser McAlpine from BBC Online compared Rowland's vocals to those by Madonna in "Ray of Light", for their "hands-in-the-air pop song" qualities.[23]

Critical reception

The song received critical acclaim from music critics for both Guetta's catchy production and Rowland's strong vocals. It was called the strongest and most commercial single choice from Guetta's album, One Love. Critics noted that the song's opening piano riff was similar to that from Coldplay's hit single "Clocks" (2002).[24] David Jefferes of Allmusic gave the song a thumbs up saying, calling "When Love Takes Over" one of the strongest songs from One Love and praising the "[addition of] the powerful voice of Kelly Rowland for one grand, uplifting floor-filler."[16] Simon Vozick-Levinson of Entertainment Weekly agreed calling the song the "most memorable from the album" and recalling "Clocks" by Coldplay to make a "a showstopper starring Kelly Rowland."[19] Michael Hibbard of MusicOMH was impressed with both the production and vocal work on "When Love Takes Over". He pointed out the rarity in the amount of promotion given to the song, referring to "When Love Takes Over" being given "its own poster on the Tube." He also described the song as a "euphoric masterpiece" backed by "at least eight remixes " and the accompany vocals from "Destiny's Child songbird Kelly Rowland on hand for a diva masterclass."[20] Also agreeing with these comments was Fraser McAlpine from BBC Online who awarded the song four out of five stars. "The genius ingredients include a thinly reworked go at the piano riff to 'Clocks' by Coldplay and handclaps ... And the fairy dust's your standard dance-pop production, actually." However he noted that the production was "tastefully done to make sure that the good bits are not spoilt". Other elements of the song such as the "bed of synthistrings, a skippy beat, a breakdown, some riffing glassy electronics and a dramatic, cinematic bottom end drone" were praised. McAlpine also praised Rowland's appearance on the track, commenting who she sounded "entirely unlike herself, so that even SHE is all buffed up and shiny." He described the marriage of Rowland's vocals and Guetta's production by stating that "[Rowland's] got a spiralling, sky-scraping melody to sing too."[23]

Erin Martin of Pop Matters said that "When Love Takes Over" had euphoric properties. Martin said the song was "a classic, triumphant dance number, and Rowland's powerhouse vocals ensure that this song has anthemic potential for years to come. This song just feels good to listen to". She also noted that the song was central to the concept and "love-spreading message [that] Guetta delivers on the album as a whole."[21] David Balls of Digital Spy agreed with the song's anthem credentials. "[It] is further evidence that Rowland may no longer be resigned to living in Beyoncé [Knowles'] shadow. Fusing classic dance beats with a heady, emotionally charged vocal, it's a world away from the mid-tempo R&B numbers with which she started her solo career. In fact, this packs a punch from the very first listen, meaning it could well become one of the summer anthems of 2009."[22] However, Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times was less impressed than the other critics, simply noting the song as "a cheesy synthpop makeover of Coldplay's 'Clocks'." Wood did however state that it was among Guetta's best work and was an example of when the DJ is "most commercial".[15]

The song was nominated for the Best Dance Recording award at the 52nd Grammy Awards ceremony. It lost out to "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga.[25] The song's Electro Extended Remix was successful at the ceremony, winning Guetta his first Grammy Award for the Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.[26][27] In 2013, Billboard named "When Love Takes Over" their number one dance-pop collaboration f all time.[28]

Chart performance

Guetta during a DJ set on his One Love World Tour

In Guetta's native France, "When Love Takes Over" debuted on the French Digital Chart at number fourteen on 25 April 2009[29] before subsequently peaking at number three on 18 July 2009.[30] On the French Singles Chart, it debuted and peaked at number two.[31] In August 2009, Guetta had two simultaneous top-ten singles on the chart, the other being "Sexy Bitch" featuring Akon.[32] Following is strong run on the charts the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) awarded the single a Gold certification for selling 150,000+ copies.[33] In Rowland's native country of the United States the single was successful, topping both the Hot Dance Airplay and Hot Dance Club Songs charts, as well as reaching number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100. This became Guetta's highest Hot 100 chart position at the time.[34] It was Rowland's highest Hot 100 Chart entry since her feature of Trina's 2005 single, "Here We Go".[35] "When Love Takes Over" ranked at number one on the Best of 2009 Dance Club Songs chart[36] and number thirty-three on the End of Decade (2000–2009) Dance Club Songs Chart.[37]

"When Love Takes Over" also achieved success in Europe, topping charts in Belgium (Wallonia),[38] Czech Republic,[39] Hungary,[40] Ireland,[41] Italy,[42] Slovakia,[43] Switzerland[44] and the United Kingdom.[45] It also reached top ten in most other regions apart from Brasil[46] Canada[47] and the United States.[34] By the end of 2009 it reached the top thirty on most year-end charts, most notably reaching number two in Switzlerand,[48] number five in Belgium (Wallonia),[49] and six on the European Hot 100.[50] It was certified Platinum in nine countries.[51][52][53][54][55][56][57]

In the United Kingdom, Guetta and Rowland's original version debuted at number seven on the UK Singles Chart, having sold 25,000 copies.[11][58] The following week Guetta's version peaked at number one,[45] beating his previous best chart peak of number three with 2006's "Love Don't Let Me Go".[59] It gave Rowland her second number one single in Britain, the first being "Dilemma" alongside Nelly in October 2002.[60] "When Love Takes Over" was awarded a Platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry in July 2013 for shipping over 600,000 copies.[61] On The Official Charts Company's official countdown of the Top 100 British Downloads of all time, "When Love Takes Over" ranks at number fifty-eight, marking Rowland's only entry on the chart. However it is Guetta's second entry on the chart, behind "Sexy Bitch" (with Akon) which charted at number twenty-seven.[62]

Music video

Background and concept

Venice Beach and the Boardwalk, as seen in the music video for "When Love Takes Over"

The music video was filmed on 19 May 2009 at Venice Beach, Los Angeles,[63] directed by Jonas Åkerlund.[64] Guetta revealed that the video's story and concept were designed to mimic the story behind the song's creation. He said, "you see Kelly doing her thing and then me on the other side doing mine. Eventually we come together just like how we recorded the song. It's all about sharing the love from this record and making a big party".[63] These reflections and more behind the scenes footage were revealed in the video clip "Making of When Love Takes Over" which was uploaded to Guetta's official YouTube channel on 1 June 2009.[63] The music video itself premiered on 8 June 2009 on Guetta's YouTube channel.[65] The video premiered after the European and United States digital release[8][9][66] but just before the single's UK digital release on 10 June 2009.[10]

Synopsis and reception

The video focuses on Rowland walking through the streets of Venice Beach while Guetta gathers his DJ equipment and pushes it towards the beach. Through the video a number of street performers join the gathering crowd, including a motocross bicycler, a skateboarder, and a BBoy Cloud. The last scene, sees Rowland and Guetta unite on the beach for a late night party which sees the duo performing together.[65] Capital FM described the video as "lots of shots of people having fun in the sun".[67] Melinda Newman from Hitfix praised Rowland's role in the clip saying that
"[Rowland] is fierce throughout and it clearly experiencing a bit of a career resurgence after a dip. [She] gives her best Beyoncé-type stares straight into the camera (but we're sure that's just a coincidence)... Guetta, who is relegated to a supporting role in his own video, shows up pushing his gear on a cart, looking basically like any other homeless guy hanging out in Venice."
Some criticism did follow the video. Capital FM radio station felt that Guetta's appearance in the clip was slightly disappointing. "Guetta looks a bit like a binman pushing his gear round the streets in some of the earlier shots in the video".[67] Newman said that the video's director, Jonas Åkerlund, had removed something from the song. "The video could have built on the great beat that builds within the song and the feeling of abandon that falling in love can bring you, but, instead, we get a telegenic couple making out who seem to drop in from nowhere."[68]

Performances and promotion

David Guetta and Kelly Rowland performing at Orange Rockcorps, London

Guetta premiered the completed version of "When Love Takes Over" on 23 March 2009 at the Ultra Music Festival.[69] Promotion of the single began in the UK with an acoustic performance of the single at the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge on 10 May 2009[70] and then again on UK daytime show, This Morning, on 18 June 2009.[71] They also appeared at the Miss Universe 2009 contest in the Bahamas, where the duo performed the song live for the "Evening Gown" competition.[72] Another major part of the promotion included appearances at the Loop Live 2009 music festival in Sofia, Bulgaria[73] and Rowland's appeared at the TAO Night Club in Las Vegas, where she hosted celebrations for "When Love Takes Over" reaching number one around the world.[74] The duo returned to the UK to perform at Orange Rockcorps at London's Royal Albert Hall in September 2009,[75] before performing at the 2009 MTV Latin America Music Video Awards on 15 October 2010.[76] It was by US TV channel, Bravo, during an internal advertising campaign.[13] "When Love Takes Over" was still being promoted in 2010 when the pair performed at the French NRJ Music Awards on 24 January 2010[77] and at the 2010 World Music Awards on 5 June, one year after the song was released.[78]

Cover versions

Airi L version

British dance music artist Airi L released a bootleg version of the song 9 May 2010, several days before the Guetta and Rowland version was due to be released.[12] EMI Music called Airi L's version "inferior" and decided to combat her cover by releasing Guetta's version on 11 June 2009 in the UK, earlier than originally planned.[11] The cover debuted and peaked at number twenty-two, selling 12,000 copies whilst Guetta and Rowland's version debuted at number seven with 25,000 copies.[11][58] According to Yahoo! Music's James Masterton, Rowland's version would have debuted at a higher place had it not been for the "bootleg cover". He said the single had to be rush released "when not one but two spoiler (and indeed near-identical) cover versions started to race up the iTunes rankings and threatened to have a negatively impact on the 'official' version."[79] The following week Guetta and Rowland's version would debut at number one.[45]

Other cover versions

British singer-songwriter, Pixie Lott, covered the song for the re-issue of her debut album, Turn It Up.[80] Then in the second week of October 2010, the song was covered twice by contestants on The X Factor. Matt Cardle performed his version on the opening show of the seventh series of the UK version,[81] while Hayley Teal sang a version on the second series of the Australian version.[82] Following Cardle's performance, "When Love Takes Over" jumped twelve places on UK Dance Chart, to number seventeen.[83]


Rowland told MTV that "working with David is amazing. We have a great relationship, it's so effortless. He's such a talented individual. But most importantly he's such a down to earth, nice guy and I really enjoy working with him. We have good musical chemistry together."[84] Guetta told Billboard that "the track with Kelly has made him experiment with a more American urban influence. Musically, it's pure pop with a lot of detail."[3] Additionally British singer Cheryl Cole (of Girls Aloud) credited "When Love Takes Over" for inspiring her taste and preference in dance music, which in turn influenced her second solo single "3 Words" (featuring[85] Later in 2010 when recording her third album, Here I Am, Rowland credited both Guetta and the song for inspiring her to pursue a new sound. Rowland relates: "I spent about a year of my life in Europe really listening to a whole bunch of Europeans DJs and hearing dance music a lot on the radio and really loving it. 'When Love Takes Over' it was my first introduction to dance music [and] it was a whole other monster. It's really a culture and I love it."[1] In 2010, following the success of "When Love Takes Over" and the duo's musical chemistry, Guetta was asked to work on Rowland's third studio album. He co-produced a couple of the songs including the album's first single, "Commander".[84] Later in 2013, Kerri Mason and Zel McCarthy compiled a list of the top-ten dance-pop collaborations of all time for Billboard magazine. In their article, the critics named "When Love Takes Over" at the top of the list, saying that the song "repositioned Kelly Rowland as a solo vocalist with chops on her own."[28] The duo also commented that subsequent collaborations between Guetta and Rowland were not as good as "When Love Takes Over", also adding that Rowland's vocal was firmly part of "dance music history" and were an indication of the growing electronic dance music (EDM) trend emerging in America at the time.[28]

Track listing


  • The instrumental for "When Love Takes Over" was recorded in 2008 at Gum Prod Studios, Paris.
  • The vocals were added in 2009 and the final version was mixed as Super Sonic Scale Studios.

Charts and certificates

Release history

Format Date Label
CD single (2-track)[38] 11 May 2009 Virgin France, EMI Music
Digital download[11][12] 10 June 2009
CD single (3-track)[38] 12 June 2009
Maxi single[38]
France 12" maxi single (1)[38] 15 June 2009
UK 12" maxi single (1)[38] 22 June 2009
UK 12" maxi single (2)[38] 26 June 2009
France 12" maxi single (2)[38] 31 July 2009
UK CD maxi single[38] 31 August 2009

See also


  1. ^ a b c Catarinella, Alex (July 2010). "Kelly Rowland Takes Control: The former Destiny's Child member on her upcoming album, nude beaches and being a nerd".  
  2. ^ a b "Kelly Rowland – In control of her own destiny". The Independent (UK). 9 July 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Lipshutz, Jason (26 March 2009). "Kelly Rowland Finds 'Love' On The Dancefloor". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on 5 January 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Lewis, Pete (2010). "Kelly Rowland: Fulfilling destiny".  
  5. ^ "Interview with Fredrik Olsson".  
  6. ^ Slomowicz, DJ Ron. "David Guetta – 'One Love' Interview". Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Browne, Sarah (25 December 2010). "Generating hit songs on the double".  
  8. ^ a b c Amazon MP3 (21 April 2009). "David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over (Maxi single Digital Download)". Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Amazon MP3. "David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over (Digital Track)". Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c  
  11. ^ a b c d e Lindvall, Helienne (18 June 2009). "Behind the music: Can artists stop people from covering their songs?". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c Amazon MP3. "Airi L – When Love Takes Over (EP)". Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "When David Guetta Takes Over". Billboard ( 
  14. ^ a b c d e Tingen, Paul (January 2010). "Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Veronica Ferraro".  
  15. ^ a b c Wood, Mikael (August 2009). "David Guetta – One Love (Album Review)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Jefferes, David. "David Guetta – One Love (Album Review)". Allmusic ( 
  17. ^ a b c d  
  18. ^ a b "David Guetta – When Love Takes Over sheet music". ( 
  19. ^ a b Vozick-Levinson, Simon (26 August 2009). "David Guetta – One Love (Album Review)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c Hubbard, Michael. "David Guetta – One Love (Album Review)".  
  21. ^ a b Martin, Erin. "David Guetta – One Love (Album Review)".  
  22. ^ a b Balls, David. "David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over (Single Review)".  
  23. ^ a b McAlpine, Fraser (9 June 2009). "David Guetta feat. Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over (Single Review)".  
  24. ^ Norman, Ben. "David Guetta – One Love (Review)".  
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  35. ^ Discography"Billboard"Kelly Rowland >> Charts & Awards >> .  
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