Two years ago, Meshell Ndegeocello released a tribute album to the renowned singer/songwriter, jazz pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Unsurprisingly, Simone has been a major influence on Ndgegocello’s life and work. Although Simone came of age as a person and as an artist in an era in which black voices – and in particular, black female voices – were actively and quickly silenced, both artists have an uncanny resemblance to each other. Both Simone and Ndgeocello have long been known to be fiercely uncompromising and iconoclastic spirits, always doing things their way.
Pour Une Ame Souveraine (For a Sovereign Soul): A Dedication to Nina Simone was an album comprised of traditional classic songs (“Feelin’ Good”), songs written by her (“Real Real”) and for her (such as, Weldon Irvine’s “To Be Young Gifted and Black.”). And her rendition of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” with Cody ChesnuTT was probably one of the more uplifting and gorgeous songs I heard that year.
Comet, Come to Me, which is Ndgeocello’s forthcoming new album manages to mark the first release of new material by the singer/songwriter and bassist in a couple of years, and is slated for a June 3rd release. “Conviction,” the first single off the new effort is a seductive but mercurial soul song which consists of a sinuous bass line, Ndgeocello singing in a breathy falsetto about, handclaps that punctuate the song’s hook, and a subtle, dusty country twang.