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Me'shell NdegeOcello

Although Meshell Ndegeocello scored a few hits early in her career, the bassist, singer, and songwriter later opted to concentrate on more challenging material by exploring the politics of race and sex, among other topics. From her 1993 Maverick label debut through her releases of the 2010s for Naïve, she built a discography of recordings that defied classification through progressive mixtures of jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and rock. Initially held in regard primarily for her bass playing and bold lyrics, her songwriting, which often examined dark interpersonal issues, was just as exceptional.

Michelle Lynn Johnson, born on August 29, 1968, spent the first few years of her life in Germany. Her father was both a military man and a jazz saxophonist. She relocated with her family to Virginia in the early '70s. As a youngster, Johnson developed an interest in music; during her teenage years, she began to play regularly in the clubs of Washington, D.C., but eventually settled down in New York City after a stint of studying music at Howard University. By this point, she was going by Me'Shell NdegéOcello -- her adopted last name Swahili for "free like a bird." After auditioning for several bands, including Living Colour, NdegéOcello struck out on her own and often performed solo with just a bass, drum machine, and keyboard. In the early '90s, she was one of the first artists signed to Madonna's Warner-affiliated Maverick label.

NdegéOcello's debut album, 1993's Plantation Lullabies, was produced with David Gamson, as well as with André Betts and Bob Power, and involved input from a wide range of musicians, including DJ Premier, Joshua Redman, Bill Summers, Wah-Wah Watson, and David Fiuczynski. An impressive first album, it spawned the hit "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)" and received three Grammy nominations. A duet with John Mellencamp on a cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night," released a year later, brought her more mainstream attention; it peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

Almost three years passed between the release of NdegéOcello's first and second albums, but during the wait, she collaborated with Chaka Khan on the track "Never Miss the Water," and she appeared on movie soundtracks (White Man's Burden, Money Talks) and on such multi-artist releases as Ain't Nuthin' But a She Thing and Lilith Fair, Vol. 3. Peace Beyond Passion finally saw release in 1996, peaked higher on the Billboard 200 (at number 63), and was also nominated for a Best R&B Album Grammy. Its cover of Bill Withers' "Who Is He (And What Is He to You?)" topped Billboard's club chart. Produced by Gamson, it featured a longer list of noted associates, including several heard on the debut, as well as Billy Preston, Bennie Maupin, David Torn, Wendy Melvoin, and Paul Riser.

Another three-year break between albums occurred, during which time she collaborated with rapper Queen Pen on the track "Girlfriend." Bitter, for which she was billed as Meshell Ndegéocello, was released in 1999. She took another three-year break and emerged with Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape -- as Meshell Ndegeocello -- in 2002. Comfort Woman followed in 2003 and Dance of the Infidel, a sprawling album made with numerous collaborators from the jazz world, surfaced in 2005. Two years later, her fantastic Decca debut, The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams, which included guest appearances from Pat Metheny and Oumou Sangare, was released.

Her first pop-related recording in half a decade, 2009's Devil's Halo featured Ndegeocello in a quartet setting. The album also included guest spots from Lisa Germano and Oren Bloedow. Ndegeocello toured the album in opera houses and concert halls across the United States and Europe. In 2011, she partnered with Grammy-winning producer Joe Henry for the album Weather; it was issued on the Naïve label. In 2012, Ndegeocello released Pour une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, a collection of tunes intimately associated with the legendary vocalist and pianist. Comet, Come to Me, another deep set of introspective songs, followed in 2014. ~ Greg Prato & Andy Kellman, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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I would love for her to do a US tour. I miss her stage presence!!!
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I love her, please do an East coast tour, Foxwoods Casino or Mohegan Sun!
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One of my most favorite artists. She is so sensual with her words, they put me in a trance.
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Amazing!!!
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Damn!...I forgot just how sexy Her music is....Thanks Me'Shell...y o u r a true artist....Th e great stand ALONE!...
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��
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She's very well on of the greatest artist of our time!!! Too bad most sleep on her. She runs too deep for most popular trend, and( lack of taste) generation. If your brought up on a healthy diet of junk food your reference point is off base to begin with.
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I think it's great to find Vegans on Pandora. I'm going to use Me'shell's music on my vegan talk show.
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comixfan72
One of her best songs on Madonnas label. Never got the airplay it deserves, like much of her music. By far, my favorite song on the Higher Learning soundtrack.
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I luv it..Very sensual....T h a n k s Me'she'll... . . . . . . . . . .
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Love this song for real
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Just lay down close your eye's rest a hour
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I have loved Meshell's music for years now and it still sends shivers down my spine.
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Another artist that seems to be overlooked. She's amazingly talented.
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Throw. Back Sunday
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Me'Shell is the bomb! Her voice is beautiful and captivating. I love her voice.
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Wow UKs Sam Smith sound a lot like her voice ' Stay with Me
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blackbutterf l y 3 6 0
I've liked her from the first time I heard her. When NEO SOUL is what people want to call it but it really is BLUES for the NEW GENERATION stILL bump it in the car
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I get in a great mood when I hear this song every time. I love this song.
I think about beautiful things in my life every time I hear this song!!!!!
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comixfan72
One of the most underrated artists out there. Love her music.
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Nice. Puts u n a relaxed mood.
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Nice
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Love her cover of really got a hold on me! Will listen for more :-)
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This woman is amazing! When I hear the original, I think of her automaticall y . Her delivery is like poetry to my ears! I love her voice!
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I love her so smooth yo
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One of my fave tracks. Mood music. Big fan !
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comixfan72
Soul searchin' is the best r&b track on higher learning soundtrack. She is so badass, it should be illegal. My favorite modern day artist.
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dahlmt9
Me'Shell is VERY underrated. Her lyrics always have meaning and reflect the rue heart of a poet. Big ups to Me'Shell. Sit back, relax, and listen to the 8-tracks. Diggit lika an old
soul record.
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truly unsung
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Where the he'll has this lady been? Totally under-rated! What a beautiful voice! She is just an amazing vocalist! I was in tears after listening to this.
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thecleaner96
Me'shell music is beautiful and heart warming. You are so under-rated.
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Pandora's posted lyrics for the song Bittersweet are INCORRECT.
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Hey NdegeOcello, you're a bad chick, thanks for sharing your sound
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Beautiful song
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She definitely doesn't get the due she deserves. ALL of her albums are wonderfully made and written so well. Her delivery is nothing less than perfect. She's on tour this year...I really hope I can make it.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life however if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop . This is so scary put this on at least 5songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
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Will always be my baby! My one and only female Crush.!!
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Love you. me shell. So talented!!!! !
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LOVE this woman
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luv her music and voice
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geenote126
...smell you in my dreams- Love & Basketball classic song - amazing lyrics!!!!!
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Outstanding musician. ............ . .
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Fool Of Me.....Licky , Licky!!!
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beautiful!
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does she want you with the pain that I do....... smell u in my dreams..... OMG AMAZING NO OTHER WORDS TO DESCRIBE
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I am in love with her and all of her albums!!!!
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OMG I seriously love her voice her words everything she sings about is so touching and meaningful!! ! ! !
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I can listen to Beautiful all day long. I wish the song was longer.
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Such an amazing song...sexy. c o m
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corwolfna
What an extraordinar y talent!!!!!! I swear this amazing artist I've heard on Boney James' backup licks! 'Gotta get my hands on her stuff! Fantastic! Haunting voice!
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