Who is Kiely Williams?
Kiely Williams is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, most notably known as a member of the girl groups 3LW and The Cheetah Girls – both groups were incredibly popular in the early 2000s. Kiely has also had an active acting career, making her debut on television in the 2000s, appearing in various shows and movies, notably Disney Channel’s “The Cheetah Girls” series. She’s also released music as a solo artist.
Early Life and Education
Born on 9 July 1986, in Alexandria, Virginia, Kiely had a passion for performing from a young age. Encouraged by her parents, she started acting, participating in a variety of community theater productions and local talent shows. Though she chose to follow her dreams early, putting most of her focus on her music and acting career, Kiely was also a diligent student. Kiely’s tenacity paid off in 1999, when she was chosen to become a part of the girl group 3LW.
At the age of 13, Kiely was swept into the world of professional music when she became a member of 3LW, joining Naturi Naughton and Adrienne Bailon. The group was managed by Michelle Williams (no relation), who had previously managed the ‘90s R&B group SWV.
3LW’s debut single, “No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)”, was a catchy blend of R&B, pop, and hip-hop. It showcased Kiely’s sweet and vibrant voice, setting the stage for the group’s first album. Released in 2000, their self-titled debut was a commercial success, and became certified platinum in the US. The group’s sound, combined with their youthful energy and appeal, resonated with listeners, resulting in several charting singles. Kiely, Naturi, and Adrienne delivered a compelling combination of vocal harmonies, soulful solos, and a youthful but impactful message in their music.
The second single, “Playas Gon’ Play”, further established 3LW as one of the most promising girl groups of the early 2000s. As part of 3LW, Kiely was involved in co-writing some of the group’s music, further honing her skills as a songwriter.
However, in 2002, 3LW faced a significant setback when Naturi left the group amidst allegations of arguments and favoritism, which led to public spats and media scrutiny, casting a shadow over the group’s initial success. Their second album, “A Girl Can Mack”, released in late 2002, didn’t perform as well as their debut, mainly due to the controversy caused by Naturi’s departure.
Kiely and Bailon continued as a duo, before adding Jessica Benson to the lineup, despite which, 3LW never quite managed to replicate the success they had enjoyed with the original lineup.
After the turbulence of the 3LW era, Kiely found a fresh start in Disney’s “The Cheetah Girls”. Along with her 3LW bandmate Adrienne Bailon, Kiely was cast in a new movie that would not only create a lasting pop culture phenomenon, but also re-establish her as a prominent figure in the world of music and entertainment.
“The Cheetah Girls”, a 2003 Disney Channel Original Movie, followed the lives of four teenage girls who form a music group to achieve their dreams of stardom. Kiely portrayed Aquanette ‘Aqua’ Walker, a computer-savvy teen from Texas with a strong Southern accent. The chemistry among the four leads – Kiely, Adrienne, Sabrina Bryan, and Raven-Symoné – fueled the movie’s success, and led to the formation of an actual musical group of the same name.
The group’s upbeat music, filled with catchy hooks and harmonies quickly gained a fan base among young audiences. Their songs, heavily featured in their movies, often carried positive messages about friendship, girl power, and following one’s dreams.
The success of the first movie led to two sequels: “The Cheetah Girls 2” (2006) and “The Cheetah Girls: One World” (2008).
In addition to their film success, The Cheetah Girls released three studio albums – their debut, “Cheetah-licious Christmas,” was released in 2005, followed by “TCG” in 2007 and “The Cheetah Girls: One World” soundtrack in 2008, all of which were commercially successful.
The Cheetah Girls officially disbanded in November 2008, going on to pursue solo careers.
Solo Music Career
Kiely began working on her solo career in the summer of 2008, planning to release her first song and music video in the following year. A snippet from her song, “Make Me a Drink” made its way onto the Internet, and was later fully leaked on YouTube, but never saw an official release.
Kiely Williams of 3LW"Spectacular"(Official Music Video)#icons
Posted by Vincent-Tennell on Sunday, July 17, 2016
Kiely released her debut single, “Spectacular” in October 2009; with its dance-pop production and mature lyrical content, the song marked a departure from her previous Disney-affiliated image, but stirred controversy due to its explicit theme, offering Kiely her first taste of the challenges that come with a solo career.
Despite showing promise and potential, Kiely’s solo career didn’t match the heights she’d reached with her group projects, and she soon stopped working on new music altogether, although she doesn’t reject the possibility of releasing a solo album sometime in the future.
After the “Cheetah Girls” series concluded, Kiely ventured into different acting opportunities. In 2008, she appeared in the comedy film “House Bunny”, which starred Anna Faris as a former Playboy bunny who moves to a sorority house after she was kicked out of the Playboy Mansion. She also appeared in the 2008 comedy movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”.
Two years later, Kiely starred alongside Ashlee Hewitt and Sterling Knight in the comedy-drama movie “Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale”, directed by John and Sean Dunson.
Also in 2010, she played a supporting role in the musical film “Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming”, and in addition to acting, Kiely also wrote and sang several songs from the movie’s soundtrack, briefly returning to her musical roots
In 2013, she played the lead role of Monica in the horror comedy “Holla II”, a girl who’s running from her mentally ill sister who is trying to murder her.
In the following years, Kiely starred alongside her The Cheetah Girls bandmate, Sabrina Bryan, in the web series “Dinner With Friends”, “Bad Sex With Good People”, and “March Moms”.
Where is She Now?
After “Bad Sex With Good People” concluded in 2018, Kiely took a step back from acting, and instead began working behind the scenes as a creative director.
More recently, in 2021, she joined the reality TV series “BET Presents: The Encore”, which follows nine former R&B girl-group members who form a new supergroup, and create an album within 30 days. In the end, Kiely formed a group called BluPrint with Shamari Devoe of Blaque, and Fallon and Felisha King of Cherish, releasing their self-titled debut album in August 2021.
Love Life and Husband
Kiely is married to the former “Dancing With the Stars” cast member, dancer and choreographer, Brandon Cox. The two tied the knot in a private wedding ceremony on 18 December 2016. In March 2018, the couple welcomed their daughter, Rowan, and four years later, Kiely announced the birth of their second daughter, Archer.
The family resides is Los Angeles, California, but leads a relatively quiet life, away from the media’s attention.
With a career spanning over two decades, Kiely has amassed a modest fortune. As of 2023, her estimated net worth stands at around $1.5 million, a testament to her diverse career, which includes album sales, acting roles, and more.