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Michelle Williams rose to fame as a member of Destiny’s Child. Now, she’s focusing on her solo career and her role as spokesperson for the TERI Power of Ten campaign to raise money for autism research. TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Ellen Stodola spoke to Williams about the campaign, her work in theater and her upcoming album.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You’ve recently been getting involved with the Power of Ten campaign. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Michelle Williams: The Power of Ten fundraising campaign with TERI (Training, Education & Research Institute) helps people living with autism. My godson was diagnosed when he was about two years old, so I have a personal connection to the movement. Last year they had me sing at their gala. I went to the facility recently - their equestrian center - and was just blown away. The Power of Ten campaign still has to raise $5 million to complete the facility, which will include a culinary and aquatic center among other things. The foundation wanted to raise $5 million in five months. It’s their most aggressive fundraiser in 30 years.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: How are you going about raising money and awareness for the campaign?
Michelle Williams: We’re hitting every social media outlet possible. We’re on Facebook and Twitter and have ads out. We’re encouraging people to donate and trying to help them see that $10 can go a long way. I know that I can go online and spend $10 easily just buying an album on iTunes. To donate to the Power of Ten campaign is also just a click away.
If you just imagine all that money that you spend, $10 for this cause really isn’t that much. When you see the facility, you can think that you actually helped them build this and you will know where your money is going. I’m trying to encourage everyone to donate $10 and tell a friend to help this campaign.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What influenced your decision to go solo and how did your experience with Destiny’s Child help with this?
Michelle Williams: When all the solo stuff happened, it was all planned out. It was a very strategic decision and definitely mutual for everyone involved in Destiny’s Child. When we did solo work, we were able go off on our own and then come back and do another Destiny’s Child record. We’re all still really close and get together. In fact, we were all at Kelly’s recently for a release party.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You have a new album coming up. What can fans expect to hear on it?
Michelle Williams: I am working on it now and doing the recordings for it. There are so many artists coming out on that label, so I’m not exactly sure when it’s going to come out, but we’re expecting to have the official news about the album coming out soon.
The sound and themes that I’m going for are inspiration and some hope that still makes people dance and think positive of situations in the world. It seems that everything going on now is so heartbreaking. I just want to remind people that we still have lives to live and purpose to fulfill.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You also did some work in theater and on Broadway. What attracted you to this?
Michelle Williams: What I liked about theater was the consistency about it. You know where you’re going to be at what time, you do performances at the same time every night and the next day I have the whole day to myself before it’s time to go to the theater. When it comes to touring for concerts, you sometimes never know where you’re going to be. They are planned but things can switch around a lot.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: I know you do a lot of charity work and have been involved with various causes. How do you pick what charities to be involved with? What's the atmosphere like working with some of these different events and movements?
Michelle Williams: It’s definitely about whether I have a personal attachment. I don’t want to be someone who’s just a celebrity attaching my name to something; I want to have a connection to it. When I worked with the Chicago PepsiCo S.M.A.R.T. program we were able to put in a new playground, and it was great because there wasn’t a playground anywhere in the neighborhood before. And I believe that when kids have something to do, they’re less likely to be doing others things where they could end up in jail. Anything that helps to make positive reinforcement is great.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What’s up next for you?
Michelle Williams: I was touring in a play, What My Husband Doesn’t Know, earlier this year so we’re going to pick that back up and be on the road for seven more weeks. I also plan to do a lot more acting and more music. I’m obviously working on the new album, so this year I’ll be really focusing on the recording aspect.