It’s been 14 long years since D’Angelo released Voodoo, his sophomore album and masterpiece. In the years since, D’Angelo has gone into reclusion and come back out again, and we’ve heard vague rumblings about the possible follow-up for years. That album is R&B’s Chinese Democracy, the album that won’t seem real until it actually comes out, and maybe not even then. But now D’Angelo’s manager, the veteran music exec Kevin Liles, is saying that the album is definitely coming out this year, “sooner than later.” He says it’s got a “rock influence” but that it also has elements of Prince and James Brown in there. And he also says that D’Angelo will tour internationally in October. Here’s everything he has to say about this mythical LP:
We’re trying to finish the album. Right now we have 13 songs done, trying to think about the sequence of the album, mastering and mixing within the next two weeks, and release the thing. Ain’t no question it’s coming…
Here’s the thing: with D’Angelo, it was a process. He didn’t perform for 10 years and he’s been working on an album for the past 12 years. I actually got him to go out and do 30 shows [in 2011-2012], and then we did some “Brothers in Arms” shows [with ?uestlove]. I said, “We have to get motivated around what people want to hear from you, and what does it mean to come back to that space?” He very bluntly put it, “Kev, the studio and the stage: that’s my lifeblood. Now that I’ve touched it again, now that I see it again, I wanna be sure that the baby I’m about to have — the album — that I take it to the point where it’s all it can be.”…
There’ll be an album this year: there’s 14 records so far, we might have a couple of bonus records, but all the recording is basically done and we’re mixing and mastering now. Definitely, he’ll be back.
We’ll probably start an international tour in October, we’ll come back [to the States]. We’re doing a James Brown tribute in August [at the Hollywood Bowl] and some one-off things. But the touring will probably start in October and 2015.
Again: We’ll believe all this when it happens. But maybe it’s OK to start getting excited?