Erykah Badu: Alluring and unpredictable

“I am a mother of three. I am 40 years old. And I am also beautiful; and also relevant…” Two years ago, that is how Erykah Badu described herself during an interview at the Tobago Jazz Festival.

While explaining the meaning of one of her more provocative songs, Window Seat, Erykah managed to not only let on to what she believes in but reveals her fears; fears that she has to stand out from the crowd to be the one to bring forward the message and to accept that when she has delivered the message, it is no longer hers.

Perhaps the most alluring thing about Miss Badu is her unpredictability; the kind that subscribes to a superior height of creativity. Her millions of fans have over the years gone on personal journeys as they ingest her music, which is often more than meets the eye.

Badu’s musical creations are layered in sound, melody and intent. Her songs adopt the persona of a callous conversation, which at the same time demands a great deal of soul searching and understanding. For any musician, being able to put that together is every kind of special.

Erica Abi Wright’s introduction to music was from a nearby tree called Kolleen, her mother. As she grew up, her ears were tuned to the melodies of Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Chaka Khan and Phoebe Snow, among others. These influences got rooted in there somewhere, such that by the age of four, she was confident enough to express herself through music at local productions in the Dallas Theatre Centre.

At the age of six, she got her first standing ovation, and petite though she was she could see her destiny in the applause and the ability to endear herself to people – to connect.

As she says herself; “I tour 8 months out of 12 every year,” and that is the state of her world today, staying true to an identity that became hers several decades ago.

Badu is an all-round performer. Her singing, dancing and acting were nurtured at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, and after that, experience and discovery were her best teachers.

“…Art has so many layers and you can peel back one, or peel back many layers…” she once said.

Erykah’s performances are known to be emotionally charged, sultry and can cross over several genres of music; the Tusker Lite Experience on December 11 is not expected to be any different.

Her entourage of 18 will consist of a production team, and together they will set the Carnivore alight! Singing comes easy to Erykah. Check it out as she sings a one of kind track, put together by Mark Ronson.

Normal tickets are currently on sale for Sh4,000/= at *Nakumatt – (Mega, Junction, Prestige, Village Market and Westgate), *Barton – (Westgate, Prestige, Junction and Village Market), *Dormans – (Mama Ngina Street,Yaya,Westgate and Karen Crossroad, *Mercury – (ABC place and Junction).

VIP tickets can be purchased for Sh7,500/= only at *Capital FM offices and *Carnivore Restaurant.

(Photo by Philip Knott)

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