It has been two years since Erykah Badu released her latest album, "New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)," but that clearly hasn't dampened her allure.
Not only are the tickets for her current tour -- during which she performs her critically acclaimed 1997 debut album, "Baduizm" -- selling out, but the singer, artist, activist and philanthropist continues to grab headlines no matter how little formal press she does. Her guest appearance on Flying Lotus' latest release, "See Thru 2 U," of course brought headlines. So, too, did her Twitter feud with Flaming Lips' frontman Wayne Coyne over what she said was a video posted without her approval. And then there was the controversy caused when she walked naked in Dallas for her own video.
"I don't drink, smoke or have any vices," she told Tom Horan, of the U.K. newspaper the Telegraph, soon after he latest album was released. "It's the music -- that's it."
That's not to say that Badu isn't involved in a host of other activities, including those around her family (she has three children by three different musicians), her health (she is a longtime vegetarian, now reportedly a vegan) and philanthropy, including her own charity, Beautiful Love Incorporated Non Profit Development, or B.L.I.N.D. She established it in 1997 as a community-driven development to bring music, dance, theater and visual arts to kids in the inner city, such as her hometown of Dallas.
|» When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday|
|» Where: The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring|
|» Info: Sold out as of press time, though tickets may be available through resellers; fillmoresilverspring.com|
Perhaps it's just the questions she's asked, but it seems that everything in her life revolves around her music. In talking to the Telegraph about her latest release, she underscored the painstaking care she put into this album.
"I made sure I didn't put together a collection of 99-cent iTunes songs," said the four-time Grammy Award winner. "I made sure I did a project in the tradition of the beautiful music I grew up listening to. ... 'Part One' was the left brain -- masculine, analytical, political, social opinions that I have. 'Part Two' is the right brain -- what's on the inside, raw honesty about the emotions that I have."
Yet while she clearly takes great artistic pleasure from recording, Badu said audience feedback, such as she draws from her concerts, refreshes her creative muse.
"When you're doing an album, you're perfecting a moment in time that will be like that forever. When you're performing, you're creating a moment. It's a different mind-set, you know?" she told Sean Fennessey, of GQ. "You need that immediate feedback from the audience, who have come for the same reason you came. It's more fun, with less deadlines and pressure, and a lot more freedom."