Solange posed it up for fashion mag Refinery 29 recently. As well as featuring in a pictorial, the ‘T.O.N.Y’ singer opened up about why she stepped away from House of Dereon, her new afro, new album, the Beyonce comparisons, and more. Pics and quotes after the jump…
You’ve got such unique style, would you ever consider being involved in the family fashion business, Dereon?
“Why thank you very much! It’s funny you ask because I initially was involved as the spokesperson, but the clothes just didn’t reflect my personal style and I decided to hand that over. That’s the great thing about my family. We work together so closely that if something’s not working out, we can be honest about it and there won’t be any grudges or issues. I wrote a couple of songs on my sister’s last album and if there’s a line she doesn’t like, she changes it and we keep on moving. I will say though, they did just do a bedding line that I am extremely in love with and I was like, ‘Can I model that… in my house?'”
What inspired the bold new ‘do? You mentioned you can no longer hide with that hair, has it changed the way you see yourself?
“When I was recording, I was staying in a house with five guys and two showers. I knew there would be a shower wait everyday and with my natural cropped hair, it’s mandatory that I wash it otherwise it gets stuck to my head like glue! I wanted to get something that I could literally roll out of bed without looking nuts. I watched so many Chaka Khan YouTube videos and became sort of obsessed with her during the process. I went to my stylist and said ‘Give me the fro.’ I walk differently now, sing differently; This hair has spirit and soul.”
You’re friends with lots of Brooklyn bands—Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors—how do you see those bands inspiring R&B and Hip Hop?
“Well, to be honest, I think we inspire each other. Want to know who re-introduced me to “My Boo”? Edward Droste [of Grizzly Bear]. Who played TLC’s “Creep” when I totally forgot what a jammer it was? Caroline Polachek [of Chairlift]. MGMT played Bone Thugs in Harmony’s “Creepin On Ah Come Up” backstage after one of their shows and I had total junior high flashbacks. I think so many hip-hop artists are now jumping on this weird electro bandwagon thinking it will broaden their audience instead of doing what made them them in the first place. There’s definitely a group of folks in hip-hop like Kanye, Q-Tip, and ?uestlove who know how to appreciate an album like Bitte Orca and see the beauty in it. As for R&B, I’m so bored with it. After being an R&B junkie for years, I actually turned to a lot of indie music because I was just so uninterested. I grew up loving Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child, SWV, Aaliyah, Carl Thomas, Melody… nowadays that substance and style are kind of dead with the exception of a few.”
Tell us a little bit about working on the new album.
“I went up to Santa Barbara, found this house on five acres in the mountains and invited a bunch of amazing musicians to come live there with me for a month and just experiment. We woke up around 10 a.m. and made music until midnight, all of course while drinking good wine, picking avocados from the trees outside to make guacamole, and maybe enjoying a joint or two. I left the process a little crazy, but I really feel like I came into my own.”
You mentioned being inspired by Janet Jackson’s “Pleasure Principle” video. As a younger sister of an iconic star, do you have to work harder to differentiate yourself?
“If anything, I feel like if I didn’t have a sister who was a huge star, no one would think twice about how I look, because they would have no one to compare it to. I would just be another gal who wears loads of vintage or counts Grace Jones as inspiration. But because I’m Beyoncé’s sister, I’m an easy target to say, ‘There’s no way those two had the same parents, and have one be naturally this way…this has to be a ploy for her to appear cool!’ It makes me want to pull out pictures of five-year-old me next to nine-year-old her wearing a tutu over polka dot stockings and an old scarf over my head. It would be so much easier for me to put on a little black dress, straighten my hair, and sing about dancing in the club, but it’s not my job to prove anything. I’m here to make music, to inspire myself. I’m not selling my likability, I’m sharing my journeys. If you don’t like it, believe it’s real, or understand it…then keep my name out yo mouf.”