Some may know Solange as Beyonce's sister, I know her as someone who broke out of that shell to become one of the most influential musicians of all time. Coming from a musical family would've been predicted to put pressure on her excel in her career. We've seen this before such as with the Jackson 5 where Jermaine's solo career propelled Michael Jackson into super stardom. It sometimes is friendly sibling rivalry and sometimes not. Throughout the years we've barely seen Beyonce support her sisters career publicly until the success of A Seat at the Table (2016), her most successful mainstream album. Below we will journey on Solange's musical career:
2008 would be the first time we see Solange succeed her sister Beyonce in her own limelight with I Decided (prod. by Pharell Williams) from her album Sol Angel which featured Jazzy/R&B sounds complemented with 60s inspired pop visuals. However, it wouldn't be Part 1 that would acclaim her pop success but, Part 2 of I Decided a dance composition would achieve the number-one spot on the USBillboard Hot Singles Sales,Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales,Hot Dance Singles Sales and Hot Dance Club Play charts. This could be because of the transition in pop sound being influenced by dancce, EDM and dubstep. Dark times, I title this era the "Gaga Illuminati" era
T.O.N.Y (The Other Night Why) would be the second single off of her second-studio album. The song lyrics about a one night stand.
After 4 years in hiatus she would release her album True. I call it the red album because of the cover and I actually had to google its name to remember, this is why cover art matters. In my opinion the best track on that album is Bad Girls (Verdine Version). However she would use LOSING YOU as the leading single which was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa.
An album's lead single is not always true to being the best song on the album but, the most likely song to chart leading to sales. Music is a business after all. LOSING YOU gained popularity not only in the African and African American communities but, worldwide. For its choice of cinematography as well as the beginning of embracing her own blackness. This would form the building blocks for her album to come.
2016, musi;cs biggest year. LEMONADE, ANTi and A Seat at the Table would be known as that year's biggest albums from female musicians. A Seat at the Table was considered taboo as it addressed everything that majority of black musicians were afraid to address, their blackness. This would be the peak of her career.
It wouldn't be the first time that an artist had done so as before Solange there were the Nina Simones, Etta James and Gladys Knight however, in the new millennium this was rare. Solange spoke about being. black, being womxn, being soulful and forgiving.
The Don’t Touch My Hair and Cranes in The Sky Visuals Proved That Solange is Queen of Tactile and Aesthetic Music Videos. A Seat at The Table is a black art inspired extravaganza. The visuals were co-produced by Solange and her husband, filmmaker Alan Ferguson.
It would take Solange another 3 years before she released another album When I Get Home which was not received so well by the public, probably because we waited so long for it. Music in the 2010s adopted a 2 year cycle culture due to the emergence of streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and TiDal. This high accessibility would make the turnaround time for most musicians at least between 1-2 years. With high competition and newer musicians being spewed by record labels such as SZA, Summer Walker and more it became apparent that there wasn't much of a desire for Solange's When I Get Home., the post-A-Seat-at-the-Table thirst was quenched.
However, what assisted in boosting the albums chart factor and sales would be her visuals by her now ex-husband Alan Ferguson. Directed and edited by Solange, the creative vision behind the 33-minute film was inspired in part by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Music video director Alan Ferguson, filmmaker Terence Nance, visual artist Jacolby Satterwhite, and video director Ray Tintori contributed to the editing process with additional credit given to Autumn Knight and Robert Pruitt, according to Pitchfork.
"The film is an exploration of origin, asking the question how much of ourselves do we bring with us versus leave behind in our evolution,” Solange’s representatives said in a statement. “The artist returned to Third Ward Houston to answer this."
Nonetheless, Solange is a musician and not a pop star. This works in her favour as well as the community's as her music is expected to live for long after when you who is reading this article perishes.
Happy Birthday Solange!