A woman of many talents and various eclectic stage personas, Erykah Badu has been in full promotion mode as she publicizes her latest album, “But You Caint Use My Phone.”
The title, a clever ode to her 1997- my-partner-ain’t-crap anthem, “Tyrone” is one of 11 tracks referenced to the everlasting resourceful use of the one and only cellular device. The mixtape has since debuted in the Top 20 of Billboard 200 Albums Chart and collected over 2 million streams.
Even though most R&B lovers are familiar with Erykah the musical performer, this year she’s proven to the world that being on ANY stage is her sweet spot. Two months ago, in her hometown of Dallas, the prideful native performed a two act, one-woman show written, produced, directed solely by herself. Live Nudity was an intimate showcase that explored Badu’s perspective on Black Love, spirituality and happiness. The show garnered stellar reviews.
That’s not all. She also put on her hysterical shade-throwing hosting hat for the second time to lead the Soul Train Awards on Centric. Badu gave viewers a run for their money on hover boards and a glimpse into her life as a DJ Low Down Loretta Brown during a soul cypher.
Brown is an active international touring DJ who never hesitates to dust off some vinyl in her crates to spin some 1’s and 2’s. Her DJ set always includes a dash of nostalgic old school R&B groves. We also can’t forget Badu’s Livealbum which was released only 8 months after her debut in 1998. That’s a rare feat for a new artist and alone is a testament to how much she shines on stage.
One thing that has always remained constant in regards to her performance sphere is her deep connection with the audience. Last month, the Queen of Neo Soul performed to a sold out crowd at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. Backed by a seven-piece band and donned in a high school varsity customized jacket and black pants that hugged her lower frame, Erykah delivered with every fiber of her being.
Erykah appears like a college professor on stage teaching her audience as if they were enrolled in her class at Harvard Law. Her voice represents the powerful lesson to be taught while her band accentuated every beat like chalk to chalkboard. The audience was extremely diverse and appreciative of her meticulous wisdom through song and interaction.
As expected, she began her set with a few new tunes- the New Edition dedicated “Mr. Telephone Man” and Usher inspired, “You Don’t Have to Call.” Fans were warmly receptive of her new songs but everyone became seemingly excited as she inched into her classics which had everyone on their feet mouthing every single lyric.
She included soulful interpretations of “Window Seat”, “Honey” and accelerated in unreachable key changes of “Love of My Life’s” bridge. Of course Tyrone was one of the many highlights- she took audience member’s cellphones and proceeds to take selfies on them for all time keepsakes.
We can do anything we put our minds to as humans living in this world. Don’t say IF I make it, say WHEN I make it.
“On and On” had everyone snapping their fingers and rolling their necks in upbeat coordination with the bass line. Badu and her background vocalists went in for the kill while ad-libbing the intro on “Bag Lady” and “Next Lifetime” was another great moment that had all the ladies reminiscing about that one man who they desired in fairytale, but had to go home to their man.
A pivotal moment of the show was the encore when she lectured fans on the power of ambition and the art of speaking ideas and goals into existence. With the exception of the choir chords, the concert turned into a Praise & Worship service.
“We can do anything we put our minds to as humans living in this world,” says Badu, “Don’t say IF I make it, say WHEN I make it. Always believe you have the power and freedom to do what you want because no one else will partake more in achieving your goals than yourself.”
Fans cheered, “Preach” as she furthered,
“Whatever goals you have, write them down with a pen. Tell yourself what you have to do to accomplish each of them. It might take some time and much effort. But trust me when I tell you, it’ll happen. That’s how I’m standing on this stage in front of you.”
One of Erykah’s many inspirational quotes that have become viral online.
Ironically during one of her DJ sets a few days later with Q-Tip, Erykah paused and gave a modified version of that speech which proves her consistent craving to providing food into her fan’s souls. Erykah is set to start in a new indie drama, The Land, which will be executive produced by Nas.