Richmond native and Grammy Award-winning singer D'Angelo released a double album in 2008, his first since the Clinton administration. Unfortunately for his long-suffering fans desperate for new material, it was a compilation of music that had been heard before. A rerelease of his debut and sophomore efforts, along with a new D'Angelo album, has been pushed back.
According to a recent news release, the still-untitled new album will be out this summer. The long-delayed project reportedly features the efforts of producer Raphael Saadiq, trumpeter Roy Hargrove and Cee Lo Green, among others. Prince, perhaps the most obvious influence on the singer's sound, also is expected to contribute.
Apart from responding to reporter's questions during his walks to and from courtrooms during the last few years, D'Angelo hasn't submitted to an interview in a while. But the reclusive singer, who reportedly doesn't use a computer, recently offered some comments on his MySpace site.
“My creative energy has been on a roll while I've been doing the new project,” he writes. “People talk about how long I've been gone, but I want you to know that I've have [sic] been living my life. I'm a deliberate guy and I like to take my time. I don't think you will be disappointed with what you'll hear.”
While the project drags on and the list of possible contributors grows, the situation recalls the drama surrounding “Chinese Democracy,” the recent Guns N' Roses project.
That album, nearly a decade in the making, was released two months ago. D'Angelo's last release of new material, “Voodoo,” dropped in 2000, also nearly a decade ago. Axl Rose, the sole original member of Guns N' Roses, finished the record without help from the musicians who helped create the sound the band was known for. Likewise, D'Angelo is working without longtime collaborators, as singer and songwriter Angie Stone and producer and drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson have been absent from recent sessions.
Rose was considered so creatively moribund that when the makers of the soft drink Dr. Pepper promised to provide a soda to “everyone in America” if “Chinese Democracy” was released in 2008, it seemed like a safe bet. But the singer forced the company to ante up when the album came out on schedule. The distribution of the drinks hasn't been smooth, but perhaps the doctor should consider one more house call. S