By Zachary Swickey
Nearly a year ago, we reported that smooth R&B crooner D’Angelo was finally in the studio working on a new album when we were tipped off by the Roots’ drummer Questlove’s Twitter account, and now the singer is finally plotting his return to the stage with his first U.S. concert in over a decade at the 2012 Essence Music Festival.
D’Angelo’s been a virtual recluse for the last ten-plus years, but he is confirmed to be part of the opening night festivities at the New Orleans festival, which runs from July 6 to July 8, with Trey Songz, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, and many others also set to appear.
The singer has slowly been returning to public life and gave live performing a test drive with a handful of dates in Europe earlier this year. Review were thankfully glowing and suggest that the singer has definitely still got it. He even performed two (reportedly pretty slick) new tracks, “The Charade” and “Sugar Daddy.”
D’Angelo recently put to rest years of legal drama relating to his March 2010 arrest for allegedly soliciting a prostitute. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and appears ready to move on from the incident.
For those in need of a refresher: D’Angelo’s last effort was 2000’s Voodoo, which went multiplatinum and earned the singer two Grammy Awards, including best R&B album. He became quite notorious for the music video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” which featured the singer serenading the camera for four minutes straight against a black backdrop while completely nude.
There has been little information on D’Angelo’s upcoming album since our initial report, but his return to the stage is a promising sign that it’s moving forward (albeit slowly but surely).