It's been seven years since R&B singer and Richmond native D'Angelo, aka Michael Eugene Archer, has released an album. The extended hiatus has left fans wondering what happened to the artist who won two Grammys, thrilled audiences worldwide with his rippled physique and led soul music back to its roots.
They aren't the only ones who've been looking for D'Angelo.
Chesterfield County police arrested Archer at the county courthouse in February on charges stemming from a 2005 car accident in Powhatan County. The singer was in court for failing to appear for an earlier child-support petition, which was dismissed.
Archer now faces charges of driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence and reckless driving. He's scheduled to appear in court Aug. 10.
The accident occurred on Route 711 near Route 288 two weeks after Archer was given a suspended sentence in Chesterfield Circuit Court for cocaine possession, driving under the influence and marijuana possession.
D'Angelo was ejected from his Hummer after it went off the road, struck a fence and overturned. He suffered contusions and bruised ribs, while the other person in the vehicle, Lynn Sellers, sustained minor injuries. A state police investigation concluded that D'Angelo, whose driver's license was suspended at the time of the accident, was driving the vehicle.
"Mr. Archer was out of the state when the warrant was obtained, so the trooper notified the attorney," says Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. "The responsibility was on Mr. Archer to turn himself in."
With his recording career on hold, the only notable appearances the singer has made in recent years have been in the courtroom. So where has D'Angelo been since his last known docket date of Sept. 12, 2005?
"He seems to be doing very well," says his attorney, Ned Mikula. "I know that he's working on his music."
While he hasn't completed an album of his own, D'Angelo did appear on Snoop Dogg's "Blue Carpet Treatment" last year, singing the chorus to the Dr. Dre.-produced "Imagine." A new song featuring D'Angelo's vocals, "Really Love," was leaked to an Australian radio station in April.
Mikula says the singer hopes to have new music ready for a fall release. Once tentatively titled "James River," it would be his first album since the highly acclaimed recording "Voodoo" was released in 2000.
But the singer's comeback could be cut short if he's convicted of charges relating to the accident. He may also be forced to serve the three-year suspended jail sentence he received in 2005, stemming from a traffic stop in Chesterfield County. S