Erykah Badu has had a busy couple of days leading up to her performance Thursday at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Not only did Pitchfork give her latest album, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, a glowing, and well-deserved 8.0, but she's on the impressive slate of performers just announced for Lollapalooza 2010. That, coupled with some dates on the Lilith Fair 2010 tour, is a heap of items for Erykah talk about. Right, all that.
Controversy aside, this is an amazing album
Somehow, an entire paragraph passed without mention of that little "Window Seat" video (streaming on her official site) she released a little over a week ago. For the uninitiated, the clip basically ensured that every Internet perv cruising for "NSFW," "naked" or "JFK assasination spot" items joined the many ecstatic Badu fans who scratched (and nodded) their heads as the bizarre scene unfolded. She has since been charged with disorderly conduct for that day of guerrilla filming in Dallas, but kept on tweeting anyhow.
After the jump, read New Times' exclusive Q&A with Badu, and get some answers as to why she chose to make the "Window Seat" video.
Almost as bizarre as the video itself was that Erykah Badu's publicist strictly forbade me from mentioning the "Window Seat" controversy during my brief chat with the neo-soul star on Thursday afternoon.
New Times: How did you decide to put Miami on the agenda?
Erykah Badu: I was invited.
After reading about your surprise show in Los Angeles last week, it seems you've already connected with your new album in a performance setting.
I love it. It just keeps getting better as we go, it's perfected as we go. The band and I are becoming one organism with it and we aren't even thinking. It's very new, and it's like a new love. It keeps getting better and better.
How do you feel about returning to old material for the shows to come?
I do whatever comes to mind. It's all new to me, it's never old. It never loses its importance or its effect on the audience either. Music is like the sixth element. It's something that's in your DNA. You hear a song, and you remember where you were, you remember what you were doing, how it smelled, everything about it. That's the joy of being a performing artist. It's therapy for me. Every song I keep in that moment, or I feel in the audience a need or a want, that's what we do.
What do you think about the current Lilith Fair lineup?
I haven't thought about it yet. I have an idea about how powerful it's going to be on the tail of this video I've just done.
[Note: She brought it up, not me.]
You're not going to throw all of your clothes off in the middle of the show, are you?
I don't know if there's anything special you should be looking for. We're just going to let it develop organically, and you're just going to have to wait and find out.
The conversation ended rapidly after that, as you might imagine. Fortunately for all, Badu did discuss the "Window Seat" video with QuickDFW.com:
Q: And what was the thinking on the location and the Kennedy element to it?
Badu: Times Square is the most monumental place in New York, and when I was thinking of monumental places, the grassy knoll was the most monumental place in Dallas I could think of. I tied it in a way that compared that assassination to the character assassination one would go through after showing his or her self completely. That's exactly the action that I wanted to display.
Q: And I take it you knew that there would be a similar real-life reaction when the video was released?
Badu: Yeah. I knew that would happen, so as soon as the thought came to my mind, I decided to assassinate myself as a gesture. Because it was going to happen anyway. The video is a prediction of what is happening now.
Q: Tell me about the logistics of filming. Was it really nudity, or was there trickery involved?
Badu: Oh no, it was straight guerilla cam. I got out of the car and I went for it. A day before, I took the same path alone to see where I was going and to see where the "x" spot was. And we only had one shot to get it right, and I decided to go at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. I told the cameraman that I would meet him there, and when he saw me pull up, he started. We had to speed the music up because we wanted the effect to be slow-motion.
Lots and lots more at the source.
Erykah Badu, with Bilal and Robert Glasper. 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Tickets cost $58.50 to $125. Click here.