By: Elizabeth Iwunwa
Sitting in my dimly-lit office, her music filters through my speakers. The tempo is cool and the walls reverberate as though commanded by the rhythm. I am presented with a beautiful body of work that is infused with a neo-soul and funk feel. The bass lines so beautiful and so rich, carry the lyrics of the songs without drowning them out. With this album, Solange stands as a powerful and visionary entity in herself. Her style, her music, and her persona possess an unconventional yet refined carriage.
Prior to this album, she released Solo Star in 2002, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams in 2008, and an EP True in 2012. She somehow manages to weave Motown sounds into her latest piece. A Seat at the Table also features artists ranging from Lil Wayne who talks about his failed attempt at suicide, to Kelly Rowland and includes interludes from her mother and father, amongst others.
Solange’s sweet, light voice carries through the entire album, touching on heavy topics as it goes along. Being a fan of her eclectic style, I am constantly amazed by the visuals she presents on the digital photo-sharing site, Instagram. She is quoted to have said, “when I first started writing this record I was tired, filled with grief, and broken. I felt so many got to create my narrative and all I wanted was to tell my story, our story, in my own words, and in my own voice.”
In writing and creating the album, Knowles moved into a small house in the middle of a sugarcane field in New Iberia, Louisiana. There is a short film that documents the early stages of her jam sessions and collaborations for the record. Through her album, she speaks about racial and gender inequality, self care, and even hair. Many so far have called this an ode to Blackness.
This album gently unwraps itself listen after listen and speaks to the blossoming of its creator as a singer and a storyteller.