Sunday, November 25, 2007

Meshell Ndegeocello on WNYC

I must confess, I’ve never been into Meshell Ndegeocello. Just never got around to checking out her music too deep. (Heck, I can’t listen to everything. Not even everything I’m curious about.)

But if you’re a fan of hers, you’ll be interested in this:

Embedded below is a 22-minute streamcast from WNYC (New York Public Radio). The show is called “Soundcheck.” This episode, broadcast six weeks ago, features Ms. Ndegeocello plugging her new CD, “The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams.”

Ndegeocello and her band perform two songs live in the WNYC studio (“The Sloganeer: Paradise” and “Evolution”), and she chats with host John Schaefer about spirituality and sexuality.

“I was always told, once I found the man of my dreams, that would solve all my problems,” she says. “And he never came. So I had to become that, and create my own world of happiness.”

19 comments:

suomynona said...

In my opinion, the show she did on MPR was better :)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ To hear that Minnesota Public Radio streamcast, people, follow this link.

suomynona said...

I also recommend checking out her MySpace (linked to in your blog entry) to hear more unreleased new music performed live :)

Bay Radical said...

Please god tell me that she isn't pretending she's straight in this interview....

(going to listen now)

suomynona said...

Only someone that doesn't know her at all would assume she has ever done that.

Bay Radical said...

Well, I won't pretend I'm an expert - I've only seen her live once and that was maybe 10 years ago, and I haven't listened to any of her albums as closely as I have to Plantation Lullabies, and I've only read or listened to a few interviews - but before this interview I'd never heard or read her acknowledging her sexuality. Even here she doesn't seem interested in elaborating after the interviewer directly points to her bisexuality.

Clearly, she's not interested in being a big queer spokesmodel. She makes a point that she wants to keep her private life private, but I confess I'm pretty irritated by queers who prefer to act like sexuality doesn't matter. I'm not sure if she falls into that catagory, but I certainly had that impression before this interview. And seeing as she gave her album a title which is in part a reference to her masculinity and sexuality, I was ready to be pretty pissed if she was going to act like those identity issues had nothing to do with her art.

Listening to the tunes, they sound like some bitter-ass heartbreak songs. Having read a little of Rebecca Walker's latest stuff, I imagine they had a pretty ugly breakup, or maybe there's been some other heartbreak since then. Heartbreak is heartbreak, no matter the gender, but I'd like to hear her say verbally what she seems to be talking about in her music.

suomynona said...

And folks wonder why she doesn't do interviews. 9/10 questions have nothing to do with the music she creates. No wonder she's so annoyed with the process.

Bay Radical said...

OK, I get it now. You run a Meshell Ndegeocello fansite and you feel a little protective of her!

And it's fair that a musician should want to talk about her music and not her romantic life during interviews.

And this is hardly a new controversy: are artists 'responsible' to the communities they come out of? Do black artists 'owe' something to black communities? Do queer artists 'owe' something to queer communities?

My view is that artists should say and do exactly what they care to say and do. And still, we get to say what we like about them. From my point of view, identity is a part of what forms artistic expression. Maybe Meshell doesn't see it that way, but to my ears, I can't imagine anyone else creating her kind of music. And her ethnicity, her sexuality, and her gender all must be parts of what feed into her artistic output. I wish she felt like talking about those parts. But again, she'll do what she pleases, and as well she should.

daughterofthedream said...

Thanks for this! I dig her music though I am still a teensy bit salty I paid a grip to see her at the Blue Note one year and they failed to mention that she would not be singing.

I've learned my lesson and let me share it with those who may not know...if she tours or plays....call the venue and make sure she will actually be singing, if that is what you are after-- otherwise, she will be performing real circumspect-like with her jazz band.

suomynona said...

Anyone who's a true admirer of Meshell's talent, knows better than to come to a show with expectations.

Undercover Black Man said...

daughterofthedream, thanks for the info. I'd probably be more inclined to check her out to see her rock that bass anyways. ;^)

daughterofthedream said...

suomynona aka anonymous,

This is not a cult so you don't get to narrowly dictate to listeners how they are supposed to understand Meshell or how they are supposed to relate to her wonderful music.

People get in where they fit in. So take it down a notch, because unless you are a 12-year-old teenybopper or a 76-year-old Sunday School teacher talking about Jesus, it's tired.

Danielle said...

I Love Meshell and think she's a talented musician. I've never seen her perform live, but I will. "Comfort Woman" is my fave from her and I have her new album as well. She's got some good stuff on there.

dez said...

Clearly, she's not interested in being a big queer spokesmodel. She makes a point that she wants to keep her private life private, but I confess I'm pretty irritated by queers who prefer to act like sexuality doesn't matter.

Why does that irritate you? Not being confrontational, just genuinely curious.

And to the backwards mouse: What daughterofthedream said. Do we all have to be superfans to appreciate a person's talent? How boring and homogeneous that would be!

suomynona said...

It's not about being (as you put it) a "superfan." It's about not going to shows with expectations when over a period of 15 years she has clearly shown herself to be unpredictable. If you want to hear a great musician be predictable and play your favorite songs every night, then go see Prince. If you want to go see a great musician constantly challenging herself and her fanbase, then go see Meshell.

Undercover Black Man said...

And to the backwards mouse...

Oh snap! I just got it. suomynona is anonymous spelled backwards! For reals... I didn't get that.

In any case, a belated welcome to my spot, suomynona.

Saran said...

Daughterofthedream, thanks for putting that out there. I too had the same experience with a Meshell performance.

It was during the 2005 Essence Music Festival, and it was to be my first time seeing her perform live. When she came out she informed the audience that she and her band just wanted to have a jam session and that she would not be singing. The audience members were looking like "What?!?!" I listened for a short while and they were okay, but I was very dissapointed.

Thankfully there were many other acts to see and hear - if not, I would have been pissed.

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Meshell is one of the most interesting artists out there. Like Miles Davis back in the day, she continues to challenge herself, and the public, with constant shifts in her musical essays called cds. I absolutely love the fact that she rarely repeats the same musical style from cd to cd. And her shit is high quality.

I give less than a fuck about her sexuality. If she chooses to keep it to herself, power to her. Conversely, if she came out as a crusader the next time out, power to her. As long as she is true to self, power to her. Because the bottom-line is I can choose not to buy her shit if I don't dig it. But since she has never disappointed, i.e. always puts out high quality shit, I will buy it.

Bubba said...

What I don't see here is the notice of Mishelle's iconoclastic bass abilities. She is one of the best bass players around besides a great song writer and singer. Get over your own projections of Gender or Sexuality this sort of interest tells more of you personally than anything. There are few bass players who can play as well as er including Stanley Clarke, Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller, etc are the few that are on her level. As a multi instrumentalist myself I can say from experience that she is the best