Last week, Rocks Off had the distinct pleasure of chatting with R&B Earth mother Erykah Badu as she looked after her brood at her South Dallas home. The first part of our interview appears in this week's print issue and online here. Here's the rest.
Rocks Off: How have you managed to stay so independent within the structure of the major-label music business?
Erykah Badu: I don't know. I'm not trying to do anything in particular. I just do what I really love, what comes out of me, and I guess I have a mutual respect for what the label offers as well. I know their job is to sell units, and my job is to put my art in the best frame I can. We kind of all respect that.
RO: I read you sang "Tyrone" onstage with My Morning Jacket in Dallas last year. That was cool.
EB: Yeah, I was impressed and surprised they did it as a cover. I really like them. They're a very bluegrass kind of funk thing - Three Dog Night meets Crosby, Stills and Nash type of thing. My kind of funk.
RO: What other rock bands do you like besides them?
EB: Oh, I don't even know what category rock is these days. You mean white groups?
RO: Groups with guitars.
EB: Groups with guitars. I love TV on the Radio. I'm still a big fan of the White Stripes. I love N.E.R.D. I love... oh God, so many. I love Wolfmother. What about Mother Mother - have you heard of them?
RO: No, I haven't.
EB: Yeah, check them out.
RO: How much time do you spend in Dallas these days?
EB: Most of the time.
RO: What kind of results have you seen from the [student arts] BLIND [Beautiful Love Incorporated Nonprofit Development] foundation you set up?
EB: I see other nonprofit organizations spinning out of BLIND. Like, different volunteers I've had work for me over the years have gathered the energy and inspiration to start their own organizations in the same neighborhood. We've got a big family going there.
RO: How many kids are part of this thing now?
EB: That's hard to say. We work with different schools, different recreation centers, different little dance schools. We don't have a core group of children that come, like it's a recreation center or anything. We're a community center, so we reach out all across Dallas. Actually all across Texas too.
RO: Has it made it down this way yet?
EB: Not yet. We have a couple of programs we want to branch out. We have our hands kind of full, with little funding here in Dallas right now. But we hope to partner with some groups and other organizations.
RO: Last question: I know you're a big fan of Twitter. What about that appeals to you?
EB: It's like talking to yourself. You can say whatever you feel. There are like two million people on there, randomly complaining about the price of tomatoes. With your thoughts, you can be really honest and get them out, but at the same time, everyone does. So it's kind of like a great place to get attention if you need it for that day. Or just network and meet people
It's a great community. It's fun, and it's very addictive. It's like crack. It's so addictive that I was in labor, and in between contractions I was tweeting.
With Neon Collars, 8 p.m. tonight at the Arena Theatre, 7326 SW Fwy., 713-772-5900 or www.arenahouston.com.
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