Since making her mark with the song 'If That's Your Boyfriend, He Wasn't Last Night' in 1994, bassist/singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello has crafted quite a following in the LGBT community, thanks in part to soulful music that blends funk, rock, soul, hip-hop, reggae, blues, R&B and jazz. In an e-mail interview, Ndegeocello discussed sexual orientation, the music industry and environmental consciousness.
Windy City Times: Do you consider yourself a performer or songwriter first?
Meshell Ndegeocello: I consider myself a bass player first.
WCT: You're consistently creative. Do you ever feel pressure to maintain that creativity?
MN: No. I wish there was more pressure for creativity in music. A lot of people seem to want more of the same rather than something new.
WCT: Your gorgeous 1999 album Bitter was mostly praised, but a few people said that it seemed almost too sad. Were you going through anything at that time, or was that the general direction you felt like going?
MN: Oh, you know—a little bit of both.
WCT: Your most recent CD is entitled The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams. Could you explain the title?
MN: When I was young, I was told if I held out for the man of my dreams, everything would be okay. I waited—he didn't come, so I had to become him.
WCT: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
MN: The greed.
WCT: Do you consider yourself bisexual—or do you not even consider labels regarding sexual orientation?
MN: I consider labels more about other people's comfort than my own identification.
WCT: You're slated to perform at a concert celebrating Earth Day. How long have you been environmentally conscious?
MN: I am allergic to a lot of detergents, food additives and synthetic fragrances, so I was on to natural and organic foods and products in high school. I racked up a lot of tickets for improper recycling in Berkeley and got serious about it.
WCT: What's in your professional future? Can we expect a new CD soon?
MN: Next year, I hope. I don't know the future, but this is all I know how to do!
Meshell Ndegeocello will appear at The Kinetic Playground, 1113 W. Lawrence, on Sat., April 19 ( tickets—$25 ) ; see www.thekineticplayground.com for tickets and more information. Also, she will be one of the acts featured at the Green Apple Music and Arts Festival at Lincoln Park Zoo ( free admission ) on Sun., April 20; see www.lpzoo.org/events/earthday2008.html for more info.