Tina Lawson interviewed her daughter, Solange Knowles, on the release of her fourth studio album A Seat at the Table, revealing the intricate layers of family history, Black culture, and womanhood the artist desired to express.
Writer Judnick Mayard joined in, facilitating the mother-daughter conversation for an article on Knowles’ website Saint Heron (the namesake of a compilation album she released on the record label she launched in 2013, Saint Records) about the singer’s latest musical effort that tackles her search for peace and growth “in the face of condescension, lies, aggression, violence and murder.” Knowles wrote the song “Rise” four years ago, recording the track solo with just her piano. Her process varied, though, for the remaining songs. “I had a jam session with Questlove and Ray Angry, and we just jammed to the piano track and the melody,” the 30-year-old explained. “I realized at that time that that’s how I wanted to make the album.”
She recorded in Long Island, New Orleans, and New Iberia, Louisiana with different collaborators, connecting the roots of her past together. “I’m a strong believer that in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from,” she said. “I think that I chose New Iberia based on that area being the start of everything within our family’s lineage.”
Given the depths of her lyrics, Lawson asked if her daughter was afraid of being labeled an “angry Black woman,” but Knowles shared her lack of fear. “We grew up in a household with two parents who constantly celebrated Blackness and created forums and spaces to empower Black communities,” the singer said. “This might feel new for other people, but it is surely not new for me.”
With adoration for her family history, Knowles also received support from her mom through social media on the eve of her album’s release earlier this week. In the end of the interview, she reiterates that her parents were the true inspiration for the record. “The reason why it was so important for the first time for anyone to hear an interview or to hear me talk about this record be in connection with my mother is because the album is also a tribute to both my mother and my father.”
Read the full interview at Saint Heron.