“To me, there is a difference between artists and stars,” soul singer D’Angelo told me way back in 1995. And there was no doubt that he placed himself in the former category no matter how much the rest of the world wanted to place him as the latter. “I don’t want people to tell me how great I sound, but then I don’t build on it,” he added. “What comes first is the music. I want to make dope music. It’s been like that from the beginning and it’s going to stay like that.”
Twenty-one years old at the time, the former child gospel singer named Michael Eugene Archer was in the process of transforming himself into a powerhouse soul man with his stunning debut disc Brown Sugar.
Yet five years after the release of that groundbreaking album, which sowed the seeds of the so-called neo-soul revolution, the young Virginia native had a lot riding on his sophomore project Voodoo. Literarily taking his sophisticated sound to the “next level,” D’Angelo’s Voodoo was a stunning work of art that quickly became the talk of the town.
Nevertheless, following the runaway success of the damn-near pornographic (some prefer the term provocative) video for the second single “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” and a subsequent sold-out tour, D’Angelo retreated from the spotlight.