I learned once that D’Angelo’s last album title in 2000, Voodoo, was meant to be read literally. In a June 2012 interview for GQ, he compared music to a spiritual force, teaching me that in the Bible, Lucifer was a highly praised musician–until he went to Hell.
Reeling from the instant success of that one softcore video, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” D’Angelo was a conflicted Christian man, well aware of his own voodoo. He was also aware of his rocketing pop status. Is that why he disappeared for a decade?
“There’s forces that are going on that I don’t think a lot of motherfuckers that make music today are aware of,” he says. “It’s deep. I’ve felt it. I’ve felt other forces pulling at me.” He stubs out his cigarette and leans toward me, taking my hand.
“This is a very powerful medium that we are involved in,” he says gravely. “I learned at an early age that what we were doing in the choir was just as important as the preacher. It was a ministry in itself. We could stir the pot, you know? The stage is our pulpit, and you can use all of that energy and that music and the lights and the colors and the sound. But you know, you’ve got to be careful.”
GQ June 2012
A classic from 1995 debut Brown Sugar.
Spiritual crisis or not, the shaman has returned. In the documentary segment below, the 39 year old Virginia native erupts the whole Bonnaroo venue with Questlove (last summer) with a song called “Summertime Thang.”
So who’s gonna sample him first? Who’s gonna put D’Angelo into some spooky tech-house joint? And put a strong synth line on it. All we need is an EP, D’Angelo, or a few singles.
Part of a 4 part series by Bonnaroo
D’Angelo on Facebook