Solange Knowles talks about her new EP "True" with producer… (Jerod Harris / WireImage…)
Solange Knowles is so pretty that you don't know what to do.
There's the mess of dark curls that shows just enough of her almond eyes, candy-colored lips and some chic print jumper distracting you from the fact that "True," her first solo musical effort in four years, is what you should be talking about.
But you soldier on. Solange and her producer Dev Hynes discussed the EP, which has already yielded a buzz-worthy single and artful video for the track "Losing You," together Tuesday at Sonos Studio — a stark and sexy venue in L.A.
Before the panel, which brought guests including Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Kelly Rowland, the Ministry tucked in with Solange to talk her process, poison and famous family.
Matt Donnelly: So we haven't heard you for a few years. Once you decided to work with Dev, how does the conversation begin about what kind of record you want to make?
Solange Knowles: I actually made a play list, a really long play list of different songs and sounds that I wanted to draw from. A lot of them were actually Jimmy Jam- and Terry Lewis-produced songs, some Chaka Khan, and we went from there.
MD: Four years is a long time.
SK: Not only is four years a tremendous amount of evolution and growth as a young woman in her 20s, but as an artist even six months can embody growth and change. For me, it was about about making really great pop songs that sound great and make you feel great.
MD: It's funny how "pop" isn't a four-letter word anymore.
SK: There's such a misconception about pop because it's what's popular. When I think of pop I think of D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill. Those are people who sold millions and millions of records, but now the term has transitioned, just like "indie." That used to mean [music] was released independently, but now it's a genre.
MD: The video for "Losing You" has been so well-received, especially because of the amazing styling in it, but I noticed something — you're totally a beer drinker. There aren't a lot of glamorous ladies rocking a beer.
SK: I am a beer girl! OK, I mean I don't really get too experimental with my beers. I'm from Texas, there's a huge Mexican population there, so Corona is in the fabric. I love Red Stripe. If I'm feeling experimental I'll do Fat Tire. I live in Brooklyn where they have all of these local beers from here, there and everywhere. I'm like, someone just give me a Corona and keep it chill.
MD: Dev mentioned you met when he was producing a track for Theophilus London, which you provided vocals for, and said you brought your son Juelz to the studio. You obviously have a talented family; does the record have their stamp of approval?
SK: It's been such a supportive system there. Just, you know, people who know the process. It's really nice to have someone understand what it means to be an artist and live this crazy ride.