THE EYE ON: POP & JAZZ
Saturday 07 June 1997
A character like Erykah Badu has been such a long time in coming, we've almost forgotten that someone as special as her is a possibility at all. The 25-year-old Texan is Billie Holiday with a PhD. Even more cannily, she's also emerged as a darling of Nineties hip-hop heads as much as Seventies R'n'B connoisseurs - she's that much of a groundbreaker. The voice is extraordinarily poised and soulful, a little world-weary when it wants to be, but mostly quite youthful. A good enough voice has propelled her high very quickly in the US - her debut album Baduizm zoomed into the Billboard chart at number 2, the highest-ever debut by a female singer. The first single in the UK, "On & On" was a marvel - sultry funk with a faint aroma of jazz and the odd sprinkle of rap. She can mix these influences with a subtlety few others come near.
But what sets her apart from her lip- glossed swingbeat girl contemporaries are her lyrics. "Baby-baby-I-lurve you" is out of the question. If she's in love, it doesn't mean she'll just jump into bed with someone ("Next Lifetime"), and it certainly doesn't mean the man can do no wrong. In "Other Side Of The Game" Badu takes the perspective of a woman whose boyfriend is a drug dealer ("And it ain't that he's got no education/Cause I was right there at his graduation"). It is highly charged, painfully poignant songs like this - as well as stunning live performances of the type she put on at The Jazz Cafe a few months back - that is making her a star. The lads she teased onto the stage for an encore will probably hear themselves on the live version of "Next Lifetime", the new single.
She deserves higher billing than old stalwart Neneh Cherry at the Jamiroquai Jam in the Park Festival - not only does she deserve early messiah-like status, but she has the detached, cool air to be able to handle it well. Other artists joining this Finsbury Park party include slick kids Damage, teenage songbird Shola Ama, techno/jungle weirdos Lamb and ebullient rapsters The Pharcyde.
EYE ON THE NEW The last couple of chances on this tour to catch pop juveniles Symposium, as they spread a little teenage delinquency in gigland. "The Answer To Why I Hate You" may have cracked the top 40 but it is pretty conservative noise pop; it's their near-legendary gigs people really rate them for.
Liverpool Lomax (0151-709 4321) 10 Jun; Birmingham Irish Centre (0121-622 2314) 11 Jun
Life & Style blogs
Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
Victoria Beckham's clothing sales double to £30 million in one year
GTA 5: Christmas arrives in Los Santos as update brings snowball fights, festive jumpers and a homing missile launcher
'Tis the season!: Google celebrates Christmas Eve with second animated Doodle
Christmas 2014: Jesus was not born in a stable, says theologian
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...