Home Music Music Features

‘I Had No Idea What I Was Signing Up for’: Michelle Williams Spills the Tea on Destiny’s Child

“Throughout the years, regardless of what has been written about me, whatever has been said about me, I knew my mission and we had an agreement. We’re here to win.”

It almost feels like Michelle Williams was destined for stardom. She first performed in public at the age of seven, singing hymns in church, before going on to work as a backing vocalist for artists including Monica. 

Then Destiny’s Child came knocking.

In the latest episode of ‘Behind The Rolling Stone Cover’, sponsored by Shure, Rolling Stone AU/NZ Editor-in-Chief Poppy Reid sat down with Williams to find out what those first few months as part of one of the best-selling female groups of all time were like.

It was late 1999 when Williams first met Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland in the lobby of an Atlanta hotel, before her name was thrown into the ring as a potential replacement for exiting members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. 

But it wasn’t a desire for celebrity that drove Williams into Destiny’s Child, she tells Reid – in fact, she says it was more like ignorance.

“I had no idea what I was signing up for,” she says on the latest episode of the ‘Behind The Rolling Stone Cover’. 

“No idea. It’s like, ‘Oh, you guys need somebody? Let’s go.’”

It’s lucky Williams was willing to give it a go because shortly after the lineup was finalised, the trio released “Independent Women Part I”, which appeared on the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack and catapulted them into the stratosphere. It became their best-charting single yet and led to them releasing their third studio album, Survivor, which debuted at number one on the US Billboard charts. 

“I came into that group as a team player, I came in saying ‘what do y’all need me to do.’ I knew these girls had a dream and an aspect of that didn’t work out, so I wanted to come in and help us win,” Williams says. 

“We don’t care about nothing that’s going on. If female groups could learn that, you would sustain and have friendships that go beyond what you do in the studio. And I’m glad that’s what we have.”

Michelle Williams Behind The Rolling Stone Cover podcast

But of course there were still nerves, and looking back now Williams says she realises the feelings she had back then were natural when faced with such an intense opportunity. 

“It’s normal to feel insecure, you know? LeToya and LaTavia, the original members, they had fans that grew to love them and they’re no longer there. So how can I come in and be both of them, and feel like I had four shoes to fill.

“There were real tears because I wanted to do a good job, I wanted the world to know why Beyoncé and Kelly chose me.”

‘Behind The Rolling Stone Cover’ is sponsored by Shure, the premier choice for affordable, durable, and exceptional-sounding microphones. 

Not only is Shure already the brand of choice for musicians everywhere, their reliable and durable microphones also make the perfect choice for podcasters and streamers. With a history of audio innovation spanning for almost a century, Shure has turned a passion for making great microphones into an unparalleled legacy of audio innovation.

Check out all of Shure’s industry-leading microphones here

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine