I meant to only take a week off to gather my thoughts, though that week very quickly turned into a month. I’ve been trying to process all the shit that has happened in the last month, and that led to me not listening to music the way I usually do or, at least, I was not actively seeking new things. I spent a lot of time listening to the familiar records that bring me comfort and reassurance, a lot of motown, a lot of Stevie Nicks, and a lot of xx-related things. But with the intense exposure to art and art-related projects I’ve had over the past few weeks, I also began thinking about the significance of a musician who manages to effortlessly bridge two worlds I [try to] inhabit, producing healing, joyful, and aesthetically and sonically beautiful experiences that fit as comfortably in the Guggenheim as they do at the Hollywood Bowl.
Have you guessed who I’m talking about?
I knew that I needed to create this album to get rid and work through the anguish and the grief that I was constantly digesting. Then, the ugly backdrop of the state of America constantly reconfirmed that. In a sense, I feel like the album wrote itself. When I felt afraid or when I felt like this record would be so different from my last, I would see or hear another story of a young Black person in America having their life taken away from them, having their freedom taken away. That would fuel me to go back and revisit and sometimes rewrite some of these songs to go a little further and not be afraid to have the conversation.
A Seat at the Table turned one on September 30 and it is still just as beautiful and necessary was it was a year ago, perhaps even more so since now that we’re spiraling. Can y’all feel that? We are out of control, and not in a footloose and fancy-free manner. So where do we go from here? I honestly don’t know, but I can’t help but feel like Solange might guide us there.
Happy belated ASATT! I hope y’all can find the time to listen through it again and again and again. Now, onwards.