R&B icon D'Angelo spoke with U.S TV host Tavis Smiley about last year's 'Black Messiah', Black Lives Matter, his faith and music idols. Watch the video.
D'Angelo's gave his first TV interview in over 10 years to U.S TV host Tavis Smiley on Wednesday September 2. He spoke about his new album, the first after a 14 year hiatus, Black Messiah. He also discussed his love of Prince, the long break between the ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Black Messiah’ albums, the influence of his religion on his music and more.
Talking of his music idols he said, ”I’m a big fan of Prince and Curtis Mayfield and Smokey Robinson. There's something to be said about a man who can be very masculine but still display that sensitive side." He drew a parallel between how the spirituality of his Pentecostal Christian faith and those of his idols gives to the music saying, “when I go on the stage, I bring that with me. It's one of the things that I admire in my favorite artists that I really look to like Prince, James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone.” His pre-stage ritual involves the singing of spirituals and prayer.
The inevitable question was about the long gap between albums, 2000 to 2014 before finally releasing ‘Black Messiah’. ”I’m always writing and learning. It's about growth. I'm growing as a musician, as a guitarist. You never want to be at a place where you feel like you've arrived. It's always an upward incline," he said.
With the new album he wanted to be, "a voice of the people. Black Messiah is, I think, the most sociopolitical stuff I've done on record. I think in lieu of everything that's been going — the sign of the times, right? — something needs to be said. There's so few doing that right now, and that was funny to me because there's so much going on. The Black Lives Matter movement is going on, young black men and women are getting killed for nothing. I'm not trying to be like a poster child or anything of the movement, but definitely a voice as a black man—as a concerned black man and as a father, as well.”