The “First Lady of Neo-Soul” or the “Queen of Neo-Soul” is what some might call he, most of us know her as Erykah Badu.
This singer-songwriter, record producer, activist and actress has many elements from R&B, hip hop and jazz. She’s known for her role in the rise of the neo soul genre.
Erykah attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, although Badu went to study theater at the historically black college Grambling State University. Concentrating on music full-time, she left the university in 1993 before graduating She taught drama and dance to children at the South Dallas Cultural Center. Working and touring with her cousin, Robert Bradford, she recorded a 19-song demo, Country Cousins, which attracted the attention of Kedar Massenburg, who set Badu up to record a duet with D’Angelo, “Your Precious Love,” and eventually signed her to a record deal with Universal Records.
Baduizm, her highly acclaimed debut album, was debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Her lead hit “On & On” reached #12 on the singles charts in both the U.S. and UK. Badu received notice for her introspective lyrics and jazzy, bass heavy sound. Her particular style of singing draws many comparisons to Billie Holiday. Baduizm eventually went triple platinum and, with “On & On” and won a Grammy in ’98.