Dazed has published an essay from Solange that provides an overarching context about recording her follow-up to A Seat at the Table in Jamaica. She also provides some insight into her creative process and what we might expect from her next album.
“And so, as I land in Kingston, like many times before, I feel out the vibrations of the land in which I am soon to ground with,” she writes. “It’s a familiar feeling. One I have grown to love deeply and want to feel again, and again. I make the drive.” Once she actually starts putting creative pieces together with the aim to construct new art, things get a bit messy. “When I am creating new work, I always feel a bit unbalanced,” she admits. “The circles get darker, my jaw a bit tighter, my hair less combed, my spirits more unaligned. I don’t sleep very well. I’m always buzzing. I am easily distracted.”
Solange’s essay/letter is comprised of seven sections, which take her from one part of Jamaica to another, ranging from Runaway Bay to Port Antonio, St Elizabeth, and more. The cyclical structure here is likely more than accidental, with Solange’s words and confidence in the form suggesting she knows exactly what she’s doing. Of course, Solange herself doesn't always feel that way.
“I want to eat in silence, then try and record the vocals one more time to ‘Where do we go from here’,” she writes. “I have re-recorded them over like, four times. I am feeling insecure about not enunciating my words clearly enough for people to understand the lyrics. I take a walk and sit under the big tree.” Perhaps it’s insight like this here, into the creative mind that Solange wants her fans to understand, before they recklessly explore her upcoming work. The other side of the coin has Solange writing an entire paragraph on how much of an icon Grace Jones, a longtime idol of hers, truly is.
Solange writes, “Mom. Dad. Icon. Artist. Mother. Cosmic Wonder. Waver of the Freak Flag. The First. The Only. Metallic Marvel. Earth Pioneer & Space Dweller. Thunder and lightening. Founding Father. Our Lady Mother of Avant Garde. A Priestess. Queen of lewks. Dazzling Muse of Many. Our Opulent Opis. None of us will even come close.”
As for her upcoming album, Solange thinks of what her heroes would think, and how she decides what’s what. “My demo names are always a trip and have little to do with the songs,” she writes. “This album, I might keep a few of them as real titles. We listen to a jam none of us even remember we made in the wee hours and wonder if its too esoteric. Then I wonder if Stevie Wonder would like it. If he happens to like it, I won’t worry so much about its life.”
Mostly, this essay is an ode to Jamaica, a place where Solange has spent previously spent time. It’s also a sacred place, of sorts, to her, and her creative energies. “I feel things really strongly, when I am here,” she writes.
Head here to read the full piece.