Powerful and beautiful R&B singer Erykah Badu (1972-) was born on this day in Dallas, Texas. An unforgettable vision dressed in traditional African turbans and ornate jewelry, she changed her name from Erica Wright to Erykah Badu: "kah" to celebrate the "inner self" and "ba-du" to honor scat singers.
Her debut album Baduizm (1997)--with the single On and On--a mix of hip hop and jazz, entered the charts at No. 2, at the time the highest ever for a first-time artist. The singer-songwriter said her musical goal was "using my melanin, my power, mastering myself. Building bridges understanding. Destroying bridges-over standing."
Badu, who has been compared vocally to Chaka Khan and Billie Holiday, is a strong live performer... and actress. In 1999 she gave a stunning performance as Rose Rose in The Cider House Rules.
"While writing and creating this music, I continued to build myself as a person, as a woman and as an African American," she explained. The singer/songwriter followed the critically-acclaimed Mama's Gun (2000) with Worldwide Underground (2003).
"When I am writing a song now, after the song has come to life with the music and everything ... the next thing that comes to life is a vision -- how you want people to see you," said Badu, who is a powerful, creative advocate for spirituality and service to others.
Awaken your spirit to creativity and strength.