My throwbacks usually go back to the eighties, but I had to celebrate one of the best albums from the nineties, Wild Seed-Wild Flower
, and one of my favorite artists of that era, Dionne Farris
. What a magnificent artist who was one of few musicians to effectively and accurately combine rock, folk, and R&B. Farris found that unique middle ground with ferocious lyrics and a dynamic voice—way before the term neo-soul was coined.
The soft-butch diva was originally a member of the group Arrested Development
, but after a Diana Ross
vs. Mary Wells
type battle with the lead, Speech
, she left the group. She signed with Sony Records and achieved great success with her 1995 album Wild Seed-Wild Flower
and the top 5 Billboard Hot 100 hit, "I Know", which earned her a Grammy nomination. Ironically, "I Know" was the one song Farris did not write on the fifteen-track album.
Things fell a part with her second album, Signs of Life
, when the label had a different creative vision for the project—supposedly they wanted her to go more R&B and she wanted to be more of a fusion. Farris eventually left the label, her music was too important. You know, sometimes I wish artists would swallow a bit of their pride, Lauryn Hill
being a great example, and just throw a couple potential singles on an album to shut the labels up. Erkyah Badu does it, “Honey” off her latest album sounds nothing like the rest of tracks. You can only stand by your art so much when a label is investing millions of dollars into you... it's the same thing you have to do at a corporate gig.
Fast-forward over ten years later Farris released Signs of Life
independently and is currently on tour. Nonetheless, I will never forget some of the great music Dionne Farris made in the mid-nineties. Check out some of her greatest songs...
“Passion” is one of the brilliant songs from Wild Seed-Wild Flower
. Rumor had it this song was about Dionne's first experience with a woman, don't know how true it is and I don't know her sexual orientation. Catch the religious imagery with the snake and the apple. “Everything’s so crystal clear; all I needed was time…” Lawd knows that is how I felt!