by Jeremy Danté


artist development is one aspect of the music industry that seems to be extinct. in the past five years, we’ve seen a greater emergence of true artists, who are in control of the image that they promote. artists in the musical market are expected to be pre-packaged, it seems. with talents on the scene like lady gaga and rihanna, two of the most downloaded musical acts in history, the formula for success has been changed all together. you need an image, grab the audience, hold the audience. the days of multi-million first day sales are long gone, hence the reason some cite the music industry as dying. a death of music? highly unlikely, but the rules of engagement are definitely changing. with dominance of the download age and the rise of the internet all together, indie is now major. no one understands this more than solange knowles.

an artist who has successfully arrived through greater creative execution and self awareness. as a mother, young woman and artist- solange is an individual well on the rise, growing stronger and stronger every year with each project. as the kid sister and break out solo star of the beyoncé knowles family- i say beyoncé knowles because the family’s entrance into music was built on her talents- solange rides the tide with true poise. while the earlier efforts of solange weren’t as alluring as some of her more recent, in my opinion, she always displayed true skill in songwriting as well as creative process. through the hands of label executives, solange was poised as a young star but it was always distinctively tied to her big sister. a breakaway needed to occur, a separation of sorts. she appeared alongside other like stars in her age range, most memorably for me on the track, “true love” which seen solange taking the hook and a bridge and borrowing lyrics from luther vandross.

now she’s come very far, and her potential realized with her album, sol-angel and the hadley street dreams. songwriting metaphor and production genius was housed on that album, which seemed to garner greater reviews than her big sister, who dropped an album the same year. like a bird taking flight, solange’s growth became very apparent on the project and audiences were listening. over time, solange has grown into industry relationships which have nurtured her creative persona in ways that greatly align her own personal development flawlessly. while beyoncé is no doubt a superstar, what is your perception of superstar power? i don’t subscribe to comparisons, unless they bring fourth elevated awareness, and in my mind the true artist of the knowles family is little sister solange. while beyoncé is without a doubt, the greatest female performer in musical history, artistry can only be founded on the basis of angst, failure and pain- much like many artists of the past, in all variations of the form.

i admire solange’s musical efforts for their relentless presence. the idea that one can fall, only to again take flight and reach higher heights is the true sense of star power and with her recent compilation release, ‘saint heron’ from her own saint records- more is definitely to come for the superstar who rides the current, slighly under the industry radar. slept on in the greatest regard, solange has teamed with puma leading a creative team to design sneakers and with her own label, will see opportunity to nurture other creatives and artists in the ways that stay true to the art of music. the truth about solange is no secret, it’s only revealing to the idea that artistry is developed through lessons, references, struggles and growth. i celebrate solange and women like her who represent individuals of color in the vein of their influential worth.