D’Angelo fans, hold on to your underpants — here’s another “up” in the rollercoaster that is the career of the multitalented Michael Eugene Archer.
In his first photoshoot in over a decade, the critically-acclaimed artist and straight-out G is looking sharp, sophisticated and back to his good old self for GQ Magazine’s feature on him.
Moreover, there is a very in-depth interview with the usually shy all-rounder that goes into various aspects of his tumultuous career, as well as anecdotes from those close to him including Questlove, Angie Stone and others.
I ask Questlove what he thinks has held D back. He says it’s not just the way “Untitled” turned D’Angelo into “the Naked Guy,” though of course that didn’t help. It’s something bigger. “We noticed early that all of the geniuses we admired have had maybe a ten-year run before death or, you know, the Poconos,” he says. “That renders D paralyzed. He said he fears the responsibility and the power that comes with it. But I think what he fears most is the isolation”—the kind that fame brings.
Questlove believes D’s “eleven-year freeze” must end, not just for the artist’s sake, but for the culture’s. “I’ve told him: He is literally holding the oxygen supply that music lovers breathe,” Questlove says. “At first, it was cute—’Oh, he’s bashful.’ But now he’s, like, selfish. I’m like, ‘Look, dude, we’re starving.’ When D starts singing, all is right with the world.”
Having just come off his European tour (read the review of his Paris date here) and preparing to embark on a trek around North America, it seems that this is the next step in the run-up to releasing an album, although, as the interview will explain, it is not a given that we will hear one anytime soon.
What is great to see is that D’Angelo is back in the game and showing the musical world his talents once again, as is the case with the behind-the-scenes video from the shoot in which he performs a cover of Funkadelic‘s “Soul Mate.”
Press play below to listen to the cover, then check out the full gallery of the photoshoot below that. Be sure to read the full feature at GQ.com.