Erykah Badu is considered the “godmother of soul”, first emerging in the late 90’s as part of the “neo-soul” scene with the likes of D’Angelo, Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, just to name a few. She is one of music’s most eccentric and influential figures. It’s hard not to see a part of Badu in the works of today’s most successful stars (Amy Winehouse, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Janelle Monae).
Born and raised in Dallas, Badu, 47, (real name Erica Abi Wright) was surrounded by maternal figures. She was brought up by her mother, godmother and grandparents. “Music was a big part of my life,” she says. “We had a radio in the bathroom of my maternal grandmother’s house that never went off.” She still lives in Dallas when not on tour. “My paternal grandfather bought me a piano when I was seven years old. No music lessons. Just: ‘Here’s a piano.’ And I was able to get up on it and write songs. I think I wrote 20 songs in the first week.” She told the The Guardian in 2018.
She was included on Barack Obama’s 2015 summer playlist, Givenchy chose her as the face of their 2014 campaign, and despite releasing her last album more than a decade ago, she still holds a certain position within R&B that many have never achieved.
- Her first album, Baduizm, was released on February 11, 1997. The album was certified triple Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
- Badu’s first live album, Live, was released on November 18, 1997 and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA.
- Badu’s second studio album, Mama’s Gun, was released on October 31, 2000. The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
- Badu’s third album, Worldwide Underground, was released on September 16, 2003.
- ‘Love’ becoming her second song to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #9. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA.
- Badu’s fourth album, New Amerykah Part One, was released on February 26, 2008.
- New Amerykah Part Two was released in 2010 and fared well both critically and commercially. It contained the album’s lead single “Window Seat“.
At times, controversy may have surrounded her, but that’s because she’s in her own world, and see’s things through her own perspective of love, whether people want to accept that or not. She’s one of the most influential artists of the last 25 years, and that is why we are honoring her for Black Music Month.
What is your favorite song of all time from Erykah Badu?
“On and On”
“Didn’t Cha Know”
“Other Side of the Game”