Monday, June 3, 2013

Solange: All in the Family

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM

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Of course, for Solange, the professional passion that she pursues is a celebrated and ever-evolving music career that she’s been working on since she was a teenager, and the friends that she now lives near are a diverse group of vibrant, creative people with enviable careers of their own, and, oh, that sister she mentions? Well, that would be Beyoncé, who was an integral factor in Solange deciding not only to come to New York but also to come to Brooklyn specifically. “I’m still a newcomer here,” says Solange, “but I feel like because my family moved to New York when I was 17, that I have a longer and deeper connection. And I think about the times when I would come and visit them, and I would always spend a lot of time in Brooklyn. So it feels like an extension of me, living here, because I spent so much time here before.”

And in many ways, it makes perfect sense that Solange would end up in Brooklyn, rather than in the Manhattan environs where she might otherwise have been expected to dwell. Brooklyn suits the style—both musical and sartorial—that Solange has revealed over the many years she has spent in the public eye. Having now lived and worked in the entertainment industry for more than half her life, Solange was just 13-years-old when she started as a backup dancer on tour with her sister’s group, Destiny’s Child. Solange recounts that, rather than riding with her sister and the other members of Destiny’s Child, she had to ride in the backup dancers’ bus, where her young age—and the fact that she was still wearing braces—separated her from every crazy thing that goes on during a typical megatour. Her career wasn’t the only thing she started at a young age; Solange married and had her son when she was 18, first living in Idaho, where, she says, she had a formative parenting experience that “was very, very vital for the foundation” in her relationship with her son. And while the foundation of her relationship with her son was strong, Solange’s marriage ended when she was just 21, leading her to leave Idaho and begin the balancing act of single, working motherhood.

Which, Solange is quick to point out, “Is definitely a balancing act, and it is not at all easy. I do the best I can, which involves a lot of saying no to things, actually, and a lot of really organized scheduling and a lot of help, to be honest. That was one of our major incentives to moving here. We were living in LA and I was writing and recording this album literally between the hours of 9am and 3pm every day because that was the time that Julez was in school. We were completely isolated, we didn’t have any family or long-term friends there, and we didn’t have that support system built in there that we have in New York.” This clear-sighted appraisal of the choices that parents have to make in order to create an easier life for themselves and their children is so pragmatic and honest that it's easy to understand why everyone I’ve talked to about Solange, from the friends who accompanied her to this photo shoot to—very briefly—Jorma Taccone of Lonely Island, has the same glowing things to say about her. Solange is cool... Solange is so chill... Solange is the easiest person to talk to... Solange is basically the greatest. And, well, after spending some time with her, it’s hard not to agree—Solange is the kind of person who opens up easily, in a way that makes anyone who spends an hour with her feel like they’ve been her girlfriend for ages, or at least wish that they had.

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About The Author

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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