Meshell Ndegeocello2019

Composer and musician Meshell Ndegeocello’s work is a study in continued experimentation, and evolution. “I am not a believer in genres,” she says. A songwriter, vocalist and ten-time Grammy nominee, her fierce, tender lyrics are as much about contemporary struggles as about the radical power of love. A consummate collaborator, she has played bass and keyboard with many well-known performers (from Herbie Hancock and U2, to Jason Moran, Chaka Khan, and the Rolling Stones), and forged a deep, ongoing conversation with numerous longtime collaborators. Her many covers are another form of dialogue and a basis for revelatory improvisation, as in Pour une âme souveraine: a dedication to Nina Simone. Asserting the transformative power of art in community, Ndegeocello conceived of the in-the-round theatre event, Can I Get a Witness? The Gospel of James Baldwin, part concert, part ritual, part African-American church service, directed by Charlotte Brathwaite.

“I don’t think of my work as a body of work. It’s more a series of efforts…a fellowship, a means for connection, a salve, a way to expand into as many selves as I can be.”