D'Angelo Quotes and Sayings
‘Black Messiah’ is a hell of a name for an album. It can easily be misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah.
It's about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It's not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them… 'Black Messiah' is not one man. It's a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.
Prince, you never knew what to expect from him from one album to the next. Miles Davis was like that. You know, once you get used to one style, boom, he switched it and, you know, switched gears on you. So those artists are very exciting to me, very exciting to follow their path, you know, and their journey.
Just about the entirety of the first album, 'Brown Sugar,' I wrote it, the majority of that record in my bedroom in Richmond. And all of the demos for it were done on a four-track in my bedroom. I think EMI was a little leery of me being in the studio producing it on my own, which is what I was fighting for.
I played a lot of keyboards, but I really wanted to produce the sound that was in my head that I was trying to emulate on the keys. I wanted to do it for real. And it makes me look at the keys in a different way. So it's like I'm looking at the guitar and bass more like meat and potatoes and keys like coloring over top of it, you know.
You have to know the forces that are against you and that are trying to break you down. We talk about the problems facing the black community: the decimation of the black family; the mass incarceration of the black man; we're talking about the brutality against black people from the police. The educational system.
When I was young, I had an 'aha' moment in church. There was a thing called testimony service, and somebody would sing a song, and everyone else would join in, finding a note where they fit. During one of those, a light went on in my head. In that moment, I heard everything – Parliament, the Staple Singers, Curtis Mayfield, Prince – in there.
The thing with me is, about that – about rock and all that – years and years of crate-digging, listening to old music, you kind of start to connect the dots. And I was seeing the thread that was connecting everything together, which is pretty much the blues. And everything soul or funk kind of starts with that.