Hi Meshell, how are you doing??
MN: Pretty good. I'm on Tour, so a
little tired, but I can't complain.
UJR: It's nice to see you again, I've
been a fan for many years.
MN: Thank you. I appreciate that very
UJR: After recently seeing you perform
at London's Jazz Cafe, I was just blown away. Your music seems to continually
evolve and for me becomes more and more unclassifiable. Can you tell us
how you feel about the evolution of Meshell Ndegeocello?
MN: Well, I don't feel removed from
it like that. It's me, I'm me, and I'm like anybodyelse - changing, growing.
I think it's natural my music would evolve alongside me but the industry
makes it seem like that's an obstacle, a career challenge, like I'm some
kind of wildcard for not sticking with the formula. Long story short,
if you liked it.
UJR: That's really interesting, but
how did it all begin, how did you first get into the industry?
MN: I recorded some demos that fell
into the hands of a label executive and I had a few offers, one of which
was Maverick. The rest is a much belabored history.
UJR: Do you feel that you are growing
more into space where your music is hard to define?
MN: Maybe. I'm not sure i ever felt
that music was supposed to be defined though. Neo-soul is just an invention.
I also think that some things I write, like this last record, are rock
but that it rarely gets heard or approached as a rock record because people
are hung up on what I have made before. It's odd that listeners are able
to be eclectic but artists are expected to be singular in their sound
UJR: Do you feel that your European
Fans have a different take on music compared to your Fans in the States?
MN: I do. I feel they're more diverse
and more willing to come along.
UJR: Now for the question everybody
would want me to ask, what new projects do you have on the Horizon?
MN: I've been producing a few things
and I'd like to keep at it. I produced an album for a French artist named
Laika Fatien. I produced a track for another French artist, Selah Sue.
And I'm writing. Always something new.
UJR: What would you say has been the
most memorable time during your Career?
MN: Probably a bunch of years I can't
remember! No, I guess I prefer... No, I work to prefer what is now and
not linger on the past so I feel its these years here. The jazz record
was memorable. The first record was memorable. I love my band now, so
I'm trying to cherish what's right here.
UJR: Besides the US & UK, where
would you say you enjoyed your greatest success?
MN: France for sure.
UJR: Which artist(s) have you had
the most fond experience of working with?
MN: Oh, so many. Pat Metheny, Chaka
Khan, Oliver Lake, Jack DeJohnette. I've really valued every and any collaboration
with an artist. But like I said, the artists I play with now are exceptional.
And I love working with Bob Power - he's an artist of the mixing variety
UJR: What kind of influence has Jazz
in particular had upon your music?
MN: My dad played a lot of jazz. Still
plays a lot of jazz, so it was an early influence for sure. I think it
helped me to appreciate that the band is only as strong as the players.
No music transcends mediocre musicians.
UJR: Finally, what words of advice
and encouragement would you give to any young people thinking of perusing
a career in the music industry?
MN: Decide if you want to be an artist
or a star. It's not the same path.
UJR: Thanks so much for talking to
us, we'd love do it again, it's been really enjoyable.
MN: I'd love to, sometime soon!
UJR: Ok, take care, and see you soon.