Meshell Nedegeocello started off her live set for KCRW at Apogee Studio with a quiet, beautiful song – “Oysters” – accompanied only by piano.
It’s one of her most intimate songs (a cover of Benji Hughes) and she followed it by admitting how weird it was for her to be performing in such an intimate space.
The singer-songwriter-bass player does not mince words, and though she seemed slightly unnerved by the crowd being so close and the lights being so bright, she put on an incredible performance backed by a solid band of musicians.
She followed the simple and profound track by the more experimental “Living in Vain” and ‘Conviction”, a catchy favorite from her new record, showing the full range of her talent within the first 20 minutes.
Host Chris Douridas talked about meeting Meshell for the first time at the station in 1993 when she was touring behind her first album “Plantation Lullabies” as a much-hyped artist among the first signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records imprint.
From R&B to funk and hip hop she’s never held back on her musical explorations but denied the concept of reinventing herself, saying it’s ALL her, it’s just that “you’re finding new things.”
She talked about writing the title track for her 11th studio album, “Comet, Come to Me” with My Brightest Diamond, saying they “pow wowed about their emotions” but that the real work in songwriting is trying to create sonic patterns and textures, “something you can get lost in.”
Her second set included that track, as well as four others from her new album – including two notably sensual songs “Folie a Deux” and “Tom”. She ended the evening with a mind-melting jam on “Dead End”, from the excellent album “Weather”.
Legendary producer/mixer Bob Clearmountain was behind the board for the show and she gave him a special shout out saying it was a “sincere pleasure” to work with him.
The session was recorded and will air on Morning Becomes Eclectic on Thursday, October 16.
**Fun Fact: Meshell and her band were jamming out pre-show to some vinyl, including the Steve Miller Band and U2’s “War” record.
KCRW’s Apogee Sessions featuring Meshell Ndegeocello – Set List
LIVING IN VAIN
SHOPPING FOR JAZZ*
COMET, COME TO ME*
FOLIE A DEUX*
GOOD DAY BAD*
* From the new album “Comet, Come To Me”
ALL PHOTOS BY LARRY HIRSHOWITZ