Solange Knowles Wants You To Know She's Not Her Sister

Solange has always been compared to Beyonce, but in her conversation with VIBE Magazine she affirms that she never really liked the comparisons because she's always been her own woman. Its funny because I used to think she was just "different" because her label didn't want her and Bey to be competing, so I like so much more, now that I know her individuality is real... Also, check out the final product from her photoshoot with Refinery29.
VIBE: Was there one moment when you knew you were accepted beyond just being Beyonce’s little sister?
Solange: I think that moment was when I was five, really [Laughs]. I never had to have this moment of where I felt accepted. I’ve always felt accepted. There was no big church-bell-ringing moment for me. I’m always finding out more and more about myself and about the people who respect what I do. I can tell you what I really love. When I run into people on the street that tell me they have connected with my music.
VIBE: Are you ever tempted to put up a middle finger to those fans that said you were just being weird to separate yourself from your sister Beyonce?
Solange: I could really care less what Suzie B. fan, who fits a certain profile and only shops at a certain place and only goes to the spots that blogs tell her to go to, thinks. Those people have never driven me. I wouldn’t take back any of the things I did because I gained the people who I needed to have on my side. The people who don’t understand that don’t have the integrity that I want anyway. I felt really good that my songs were at the Best Of The Year-End lists in places like Pitchfork and Spin. I get my love. It may not be what everyone else’s perception is, but I definitely get respect and I feel really good about that.
VIBE: Did B come to you and say, “Um, it’s time for you to get some help?”
Solange: [Laughs] She told me she understood the pressure and wear and tear of it all. But to me this is something that only I could understand. It’s very easy to feel like your relationship with music is on a higher level than someone else. I had that moment where I was like, “I don’t think y’all understand…I’m coming up with ten melodies a day!” [Laughs] It started making me delirious. I think the word is commitment. The older records I did were close to me, but this was a commitment unlike I have been a part of.
VIBE: What was the experience like of running the entire show since this project was recorded independently?
Solange: It was great. I was really proud of myself because I produced on a lot of the songs as well. I played some drums, keys, synths and all kinds of percussion. That was the first time that I actually really set in the producers chair. I am so serious…I really don’t want to be a drama queen [laughs]. But I feel that there are at least six or seven songs we recorded that really shocked me. And there are four in particular in which we really sound like we are in the ‘80s. But we didn’t try to recreate the sound. We literally applied the techniques of that era. We used all the antique instruments and equipment that we needed to achieve those sounds. But the great thing is we are all young; mostly everyone on the record is under 26. We were all inspired by that new wave experimental music. It’s a whole other level from the Hadley St. Dreams. I knew this go-around what I actually had to do. This time I didn’t have a record label or an A&R.
VIBE: Were you happy with the way Interscope promoted your last album?
Solange: What I’ll say is I had more control than most artists. But having a lot of control and having all the control is worlds apart. [Interscope] did not spend money on the right things to promote me. They didn’t have the knowledge to understand what I was trying to achieve. This sounds a little unreasonable coming from me. But I don’t think they understood this beautiful marketplace that exist and how to reach out to those people. But I don’t play the blame game. They really pushed the project.
VIBE: The irony is Janelle Monae is getting that kind of out-the-box marketing that you are talking about.
Solange: Right. That is so true. I love Janelle. But I think the mistake that was made with Interscope was that they tried to promote me in both lanes. I can understand music fans being confused by seeing me in an Us Weekly closet piece and then seeing me on the cover of Paper Magazine. It’s really hard to scream at the top of your lungs over and over again that I don’t want to do this. At one point it made me look ungrateful. Now I’m past that. You have to go through those growing pains and come off as a bitch. I’m glad you brought up Janelle. She debuted with the same kind of noise as I did. She had a top-10 record. But no one would ever think of her album as a failure because there is no one to compare it to. I always had to deal with being compared to another artist.
VIBE: Beyonce…
Solange: Right. With my record someone may think of it as a failure. But I’m extremely proud and totally honored that the type of record that I did was able to connect with people with virtually no radio airplay or major outlets backing it. I think artists like Janelle are phenomenal. Her music speaks for itself. It may not get a ton of mainstream radio play, but it’s serving it’s own community. And that’s how I see my music.

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