Hello, here we are with another post and in this post, I will be talking about the singer D’Angelo. Now, you all know I like to give a brief intro, before I go in deep. So, here we go…
Michael Eugene Archer aka D’Angelo was born on February 11, 1974 in Richmond Virginia to Pentecostal preacher father. At the age of 3yrs old he was spotted by his old brother playing the piano. Yes, and without being taught, he just knew how to play. Anyway, he and Precise started, entering the Amateur night competition in Harlem, New York’s Apollo Theater in 1991. Then at 18-year-old he dropped out of school and moved back to New York City. He wanted to develop his music career. The group divided their repertoire between soul covers and originals, while D’Angelo accumulated compositions of his own and developed his songwriting skills. But believe or not they actually won 3 times in a row and got lots of cash prizes. With that they returned to Richmond, and he started writing and producing his album and later he formed the hip hop group I.D.U which stands for “Intelligent, Deadly but Unique.” With the success from that he was later signed a publishing deal with EMI music in 1991 after catching the attention from record executive through a demo tape. And also after he performed a three-hour impromptu piano recital, oh yes.
Thanks to Gary Harris and A&R guy and his manager Kedar Messenburg who’d helped negotiate an official recording contract as well in 1993. He was all good, and later it started spreading throughout the streets of his success. Then a year later he dropped his first single called “U Will Know”. While doing that he co-wrote and produced for the all male group R&B group called “Black Men United” which featured singers such as Brian McKnight, Usher, R Kelly, Boyz 11 Men, Raphael Saadiq and Gerald Levert, oh yes. D’Angelo composed the music for “U Will Know” while his brother Luther Archer wrote the lyrics, oh yes he kept it in the family. It ended up in the movie soundtrack “Jason’s Lyrics”. The single ended up being number 5 on the HipHop/Hot R&B single and tracks charts and number 28 on the Billboard charts, oh yes. With the success from that and the video which featured D’Angelo as the group’s choir director. That he also performed live on the Soul Train Music Awards. With all that he was on fire. Especially considering with him writing and producing the song “OverJoyed” for the “Boys Choir of Harlem” which later appeared on the studio album “The Sound of Hope” man D’Angelo was becoming a new age Sam Cooke and/or R Kelly. Everyone wanted to know who he was. So, that’s when he released “Brown Sugar” in 1995. But believe or not the sales were sluggish at first, but then it quickly became a hit. It went up and up and were all over the charts. The success latest for an entire year. But after his success he took a sabbatical, because he had writers block.
However, during his sabbatical he got inspiration from the oldies such as; Marvin Gaye and he did a collab with Erykah Badu that included Marvin Gaye, and Tammi Terrell called “ Your Precious Love” and like many of the songs it ended up on the, ”High School High” soundtrack. He went on to cover more soundtracks. Now, because of his constant work behind the scenes his next album was delayed. He finally released “Voodoo” in 2000, but this was with a new label Virgin Records and the album did great. But then the well known album “Untitled” came out with the famous single “How Does it Feel” song and then the video came out. That earned him three nominations for the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, Best R&B Video, and Best Male Video, oh yes. Now, you would think that he was basking in success, well ..
In the 1990’s he dated Angie Stone and he also helped produce and write her “Black Diamond” album in 1999. They had a son in 1998 together name Michael Archer Jr.
Well, it seems that after his world tour, because he did win album of the year. His personal issues were affecting his performances. Because he became uncomfortable with his sex symbol status, he didn’t want to be praised for that. He didn’t know people liked him because of his music or not. So, following that world tour he went back to his hometown to get out of the spotlight and public eye. He was really disappointed for the video “How does it Feel”. Because people started addressing and remembering him as “the naked dude”. His manager said Alan Leeds said it “took away his confidence, because he’s not convinced why any given fan is supporting him.” You see, D Angelo is an Aquarius and we are some creative creatures and when we see that our creativeness has been compromise and reduce to simplicity we loose ourselves. We hate the spotlight, we embrace our privateness. Reason being because the spotlight becomes too bright and it burns and with it our souls and when that happens we fade out for awhile and go back to working behind the scenes. Where we are the best at. The spotlight may love us, be we don’t love it. D’Angelo was feeling that burn and he didn’t like it. His fans only knew of him as the naked dude. Screw all of the hard work he had done and the lyrics to the song. He felt simple, he felt like a puppet, not an original Artist and a creative genius that he was.
So, he started drinking and his next live album got scrapped and his record label cut off funding for that album and then his girlfriend Cannelle Santos left him. His drinking got worse after his close friend committed suicide. He disappeared for years and his family didn’t know where he was. He also parted ways with his manager and tour manager Dominique Trenier and tour manager Alan Leeds.
Then later he got arrested for DUI and marijuana possession charges. D’Angelo finally left Virgin Records in 2005 and checked into the Crossroads Centre rehabilitation clinic in Antigua.
You know what, I want to go back, to the hit song “How does it feel” that wasn’t meant to be just a sex song, The lyrics to the song were meant to be a love song. Breaking the walls of someone who’s always been so closed and scared. Someone whom makes him excited and he wants to please in every way. So, he stood there naked, emotional and vulnerable and ready to take all of her walls down. But all people saw was his naked body, and I did too and that distracted people from the lyrics to the song. He hated that, he hated that video. He hated that it took away all of his creativeness, his talents and all that he was capable of, with one darn video. They wanted him to be only known as this sex symbol. Meanwhile, in 2005 he signed with J records and he started collaborating with many groups and appearing on some of their albums. He was getting his creative juices flowing.
Which is why his solo work for a full-length follow-up to the success like his last album “Voodoo” was stagnant, as he was working on and off mostly by himself since 2002 on the next album. He was determined to play every instrument for the project, striving for complete creative control similar to that of Prince. He refused to sellout, if you know what I mean. His album was described as “Parliament/Funkadelic meets the Beatles meets Prince, and the whole time there’s this Jimi Hendrix energy”. But notate that he was doing this all by himself. However, later pictures of him doing marajuna and cocaine starting floating around, not to mention his weight gain. And also that he was critically injured in a car accident. However, a week after the crash a statement was issued by D’Angelo’s attorney stated that he was fine and he continued to say “He is anxious to finish the recording of his soul masterpiece that the world has patiently awaited.” He did well after that, he released many more singles and his tours were doing well. But he made sure that he retained full control. You see, D Angelo was noted saying this “I was one of those guys who read the album credits and I realized that Prince was a true artist. He wrote, produced, and performed, and that’s the way I wanted to do it.”
But at the end of this journey he finally finished that album and in 2016 he won a Grammy for his song “Really Love” on his album “Black Messiah”. It was also nominated for “Record of the Year”. D’Angelo is still recording and is currently working behind the scenes. Sit Back and Enjoy