Interview: Solange

Photographer Roger Kisby
July 30, 2013

Last night, perched atop steel washers and dryers at the massive Atlantis Super Wash Center on Atlantic Ave, not far from her own Brooklyn home, Solange gave a gleeful and exuberant performance to a handful of fans as a part of this summer's vitaminwater and FADER #uncapped series. An outspoken advocate of R&B deep cuts and champion of the genre's lesser known stars, Solange seized the unlikely venue as the perfect place to roll out an impromptu cover of Nivea's early aughts single, "Laundromat." Though originally a duet between Nivea and R. Kelly, Solange held her own, singing both the male and female parts. We caught up with the Saint Records boss backstage after the show. She talked about heading back to the studio to record the follow-up to last year's True EP, shooting a new video in her hometown of Houston, TX and why she's departing Brooklyn, sort of.

Why did you chose to cover Nivea's"Laundromat"? "Laundromat" might actually be, and my best friend can co-sign, one of my top 15 most-played songs. Since it came out. I've always wanted to cover it and as soon as I found out that this was going down in a laundromat, it just had to be done. I wish we would've had more time to rehearse it, because being R. Kelly and Nivea at the same damn time is just not possible. So I was trying my best.

You just recorded a new music video. Which song is it for and where was it shot? It's for "Lovers In The Parking Lot." I shot it in Houston, which is incredibly exciting, at a place called King's Flea Market, which is basically my hometown hang-out, where we'd go on the weekends. Flea market culture in Houston is like swap meet culture in LA. It's where you'd get your white tees in bulk, your stereo system, your bang in your trunk, your grills. Although I was never interested in that, I did get my nameplate necklace and my ex-husband's nameplate chain there.

You currently live in Brooklyn and you're very much a local girl. You hang out at Prospect Park and catch movies at Brooklyn Academy of Music. How does the Brooklyn Flea stand up to the Houston Flea? I like the Brooklyn Flea, but it's overpriced! It depends on what you're going for. I've always gone to look for more housewares stuff, but it gets up there. I think it's fun and that the energy is great. Even if you're not wanting to buy anything, it's just a fun weekend hang.

You're just getting back into the studio after True. What's the recording process for this new album been like so far? I'm [working on it] up in Long Island as of now. It's just really really been a chill vibe. A lot of the songs were pre-written. I wrote them two months ago just on the piano. So we're just developing the sonics around them, which is great. It's really kind of premature to talk about who's working on the record because I'm really just working with a bunch of people and trying to find that chemistry.

Can you share with us any names of the early collaborators? Yes, I worked with Sampha this week, who's so so talented and just one of the nicest, sweetest guys that I've met in this industry.

You've moved from Los Angeles, to Idaho, to Brooklyn and you've now decided to leave Brooklyn. Where to next? You basically said, "Bitch moves around!" I'm not leaving Brooklyn, that is a statement. I am going to live part-time in New Orleans. I'm more so excited about going down to the South again. New Orleans is such a magical city and I'm really excited to explore all of the creative and cultural aspects that it has to offer. It's going to be nice, but I'm for sure still going to be a Brooklyn girl.

How do you think the new city will affect the sound of your album? Who knows. New Orleans is deeply rooted in music, but I feel like, the sonics [of the new album] will be set here in New York. But I'm probably gonna record my vocals there [in New Orleans].

Do you have any fun plans for the rest of the summer? I got all of my fun out of the way a couple of weeks ago, I went to Croatia for a few days and Senegal which was incredible. I had a great time but now it's back to work.

Posted: July 30, 2013
Interview: Solange