“In the search for love, truth and justice a good vamp never hurts. That’s the modus operandi of Meshell Ndegeocello.” -New York Times
10 time Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello is a pop music anomaly, boldly following her voice wherever it takes her and still remaining a visible part of the pop music landscape. Her singular sound has earned her critical acclaim and ten Grammy nominations. Her music, energetic and assertive, is equal parts funk, folk, hip-hop, jazz, and African roots music, with political and personal messages put on the same plane. Her bass playing is delightfully funky, elastic and rock solid at the same time, and her lyrics (when there are lyrics) pack a potent punch.
Ndegeocello broke onto the pop scene in the early 1990s with her debut album Plantation Lullabies, a sophisticated, nearly overwhelming mix of 1970s R&B and ’90s-era hip hop culture. While this record garnered critical and commercial success, it was clear that Ndegeocello was every bit as complex as her record let on. As the first female artist to be signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records, she made it clear she didn’t want to be pigeonholed or painted into a musical corner. Several acclaimed projects would echo this sentiment: Bitter, named Album of the Year by the NY Times, Newsweek, LA Daily and others; Cookie: An Anthropological Mixtape, described by Rolling Stone as “This is the record Prince keeps trying to make;” and two instrumental jazz albums (The Spirit Music Jamia and Dance of the Infidel).
Never content with staying in one place for very long, this singer/bassist/poet/keyboardist/producer keeps busy with touring and recording. After a career of more than 20 years, Meshell and her musicians Chris Bruce (guitar), Jebin Bruni (keys), and Deantoni Parks (drums) recorded a tribute to Nina Simone. These sorted covers culminated in Meshell’s 10th album, Pour une ame souveraine (For a
Sovereign Soul), a recording for which Meshell invited guests Sinéad O’Connor, Lizz Wright, Valerie June, Toshi Reagon and Cody Chesnutt.