D’Angelo & Tavis Smiley Maintain the Groove in Pt. 2 of Their Fascinating Conversation (Video)
Much like the first half of their conversation, part 2 of the discussion between D’Angelo and Tavis Smiley showcases two masters at work. Smiley shows why he has ascended to become one of the best interviewers in the business by asking informed questions and actively listening. In turn, D’Angelo rewards the effort, and the viewers, with as rich of a look into his mind and spirit as one can get, short of communing with him in concert.
The two pick up where they left off at the end of part one, with a discussion about how the music industry has changed for the better and for the worse (2:14). D’Angelo opines on what he says is a lack of originality these days, but remains hopeful of the potential that advanced technology holds for further unlocking and spreading the power of music. He also notes that he loves the fact that younger artists are now able to remain independent and retain control over their careers (4:40).
Smiley then asks D’Angelo about the special connection he and Questlove share. D says that Quest was the musical answer to his prayers, likening his approach to drumming to that of DJ Premier and other great Hip-Hop producers (6:00). He also cites Quest as a “minimalist” saying that he and bassist, Pino Palladino, are able to create incredible music with a bare bones approach. D’Angelo also talks about the importance of lyrics to him, calling songs a marriage where music is the groom and lyrics are the bride (8:50). He laments that one of the biggest things lacking in music these days is melody.
Later in the conversation, D’Angelo and Smiley take a journey into the earlier days of D’Angelo’s life. The singer/songwriter discusses the impact that growing up in Richmond, VA had on his life, as well as the effect of being a preacher’s kid (11:00). He says that the groove in his music came from Hip-Hop, specifically him starting as an MC, but also notes that the driving force in his art is love (13:00). D talks about his biggest influence, Prince, and the circumstances that led to his receptiveness of “His Royal Badness.” He speaks about his early love for the upper registers of voices like The Bee Gees and Walter Hawkins, and how their music prepared him to receive Prince (16:00).
It’s another fascinating exchange that will leave deep fans and casual viewers, alike, satisfied.