“I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you.”
Many singers nowadays sadly do not last. They are given what they need, they take it and no one hears from them ever again. Reality shows give us talentless beings who too, will not last. It is saddening and disheartening. We need singers and bands to believe in. If we cannot believe in the music, the true art of it; then what hope do we have?
So we go back. We go back to one of the strongest voices ever. A voice that oozes the pain that was once felt in the greats such as Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. A voice that is so pure, so divine. You try to imagine music without this one voice, and it makes no sense. You cannot wrap your head around that idea. I’d love to write this, and make it the best thing I have ever written- just because I love this singer a hell of a lot. Since 1996, the love has been there. I was 10 years old, and by then my obsession for music had already taken over. This was just another singer who I’d carry their words on my shoulder, and in my mind. As a reminder that struggle is needed, and you can be tough; without being mean. You can be oh so vulnerable with your words. But you can also show the world you have a strong side that comes out when needed.
The woman I am attempting to big up here really doesn’t need my words, but I need to get them out.
I remember hearing On & On and being totally immersed in her voice. I didn’t pay attention to the melody until later on. I listened to Baduizm, and thinking I was hearing something so sacred. I was only in primary school, and I knew nobody else at my school knew of this fantastic singer. I’ve always kept my love for Erykah Badu strongly close to my heart. It’s love and admiration above all. I’ve read her lyrics like you would read poetry. I’ve watched and read interviews with her, and it has reinforced my love for her. Some singers you just know you will always love, for life. For always.
I don’t think you should trust anyone who doesn’t regard Baduizm as one of the finest debut records of all time. There is such beauty and wisdom in her words. I’m not a religious person, I’d always choose a spiritual path. Nobody but me has influenced that decision. Erykah’s music feels like a spiritual cleansing of the soul. Her music is soulful and spiritual to the core.
In 2003, my mum went to Edinburgh on holiday. She came back with Danger on vinyl for me. I’ve not played it many times because no part of me wants it to get ruined. To this day it remains one of my most prized possessions. I only own books and records. I have no attachment to technology. Give me a good music, and pure music; that’s all I need.
Do you remember the first time hearing You Got Me, the song she featured on with The Roots. I swear that was one of the best moments in music ever. Two greats making heartbreaking music; it was just divine. Her voice sends shivers down your spine and just make you feel so so alive. Not many can do that, not many have done that.
There are many things I adore about Erykah, of course I do not know her personally- but her lyrics, they give the impression that she is a very free person. A person who is careful with feelings but free (at times) with her own. The freedom she has within her comes across in her music, which makes the words so easy to relate to. Her song with Common, Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop) is such a stunning work of art dedicated to another kind of art. To love Hip Hop is to constantly feel it around. It isn’t just a genre of music, it’s a lifestyle. Throughout my teens I was obsessed with Hip Hop. I used to listen to Don’t Sweat The Technique by Eric B & Rakim (on tape) whilst walking through school. I was painfully shy, and I used music as a safety net. I still do. Shyness is something I need to cling onto but also let go of; music makes it easier. The love both Common and Erykah Badu portray for Hip Hop in this song is so genuine and rare. You can try express your love for something, but you always feel as if you’ve fallen short doing so because you can’t quite get your point across. This song conveys it all, it does it so effortlessly and so gloriously. It moves you; even if you aren’t a fan of Hip Hop. You still relate to the love that is there.
For me personally, Erykah Badu is not just a singer. She never was destined for that I don’t think. I believe her words will serve more purpose than any of us could ever fathom. For romance, loss, lust, direction and love; she’s got a song for it all, and then some. Her words don’t just touch your heart. They stay there forever more. I do believe she is one of the rare ones. When you hear one song, you want to hear them all. That’s what happened the day I heard On & On. I just knew that this woman was going to sing songs for the soul. Regardless of your race, religion, sexuality, whatever; Erykah’s words and music just has the ability to reach out to you, and keep you.
Her wisdom knows no end. Her music is some form of light, and a relief for those wanting and needing more just to get by. You can watch everything around you float on as you slip into a trance whilst listening to her dreamy and captivating voice. The hazy sounds of Didn’t Cha Know ALWAYS get me. Right in the gut. That intro is something else. Of course it uses a sample of Dreamflower by Tarika Blue in the most exquisite way. It is just a divine song.
Erykah Badu is a just a rare soul. A soul so pure and easy to relate to. There’s no reason for me writing this, but I just simply had to.
“Hopefully my music is medicine, some type of antidote for something. Or some kind of explanation or just to feel good.” Oh Erykah, it does all that and so much more. Thank you.