Solange participated in a candid, revealing interview with someone who knows her better than any journalist ever could: her big sister Beyoncé.
Published Tuesday as Interview magazine’s latest cover, the conversation veered towards stories from their childhood, tales of their mother Tina Knowles, growing up in Houston, and the process of recording Solange’s latest album, A Seat at the Table, which EW named one of the top albums of 2016.
At one point, Solange explained the meaning behind the lead single “Cranes in the Sky,” EW’s No. 5 song of the year, saying that the song had actually been written eight years ago after a break-up with her son’s father. “It was a really rough time,” she said. “We were junior high school sweethearts, and so much of your identity in junior high is built on who you’re with. You see the world through the lens of how you identify and have been identified at that time. So I really had to take a look at myself, outside of being a mother and a wife, and internalize all of these emotions that I had been feeling through that transition.”
Solange said that once when she was seeking “peace and refuge” in Miami, she found the inspiration for the song with help from new properties being developed all over the city.
“I remember looking up and seeing all of these cranes in the sky,” she explained. “They were so heavy and such an eyesore, and not what I identified with peace and refuge. I remember thinking of it as an analogy for my transition—this idea of building up, up, up that was going on in our country at the time, all of this excessive building, and not really dealing with what was in front of us. And we all know how that ended. That crashed and burned. It was a catastrophe.”
The sisters also chatted about the difficulties of being powerful women without being perceived as arrogant. “One thing that I constantly have to fight against is not feeling arrogant when I say I wrote every lyric on this album,” Solange said. “That’s the first time I’ve actually ever said it, because of the challenges that we go through when we celebrate our work and our achievements.”
When talking about taking credit for her own work, including A Seat at the Table, Solange added, “At this point, it should be an expectation, not something that you’re asking permission for. I feel like I’m getting closer to that, not taking on all the baggage when I have to just stand up for myself and say, ‘No, I’m uncomfortable with that.'”
Read the full interview at interviewmagazine.com.