Solange Reveals How Her Family Impacted Her Album

by Taylor Ferber
Mikael Jansson/Interview

Yet another reason why 2017 already rocks: Beyoncé interviewed her sister Solange. Putting on her journalist hat for Interview magazine, Bey got her already-transparent sis to open up even further on her most personal album yet, 2016's A Seat at the Table. Solange's three-year process of creating the album, which speaks to the experience of being a black woman in America, extended far beyond herself. Her research included a three-hour interview with her parents Tina and Mathew Knowles, specifically about their roots in New Iberia, Louisiana, so all that was missing was an interview with her big sister. In it, Solange explained why capturing their family's story was so important for her personally and for also exploring the bigger picture.

While working on the album for a good portion of her late 20s, it's clear it was a vehicle in better understanding who she was — her family and its history being a crucial part of that. "It really started with wanting to unravel some truths and some untruths," said Solange. "There were things that had been weighing heavy on me for quite some time." Eventually, getting answers about the past better informed her on the present and became an asset in helping her grow and live a richer life.

"I went into this hole, trying to work through some of these things so that I could be a better me and be a better mom to Julez and be a better wife and a better friend and a better sister," she told Beyonceé Solange not only wanted her story to be told, but her family's: "Which is a huge part of why I wanted you to interview me for this piece."

Songs like "F.U.B.U." (which stands for "For us by us") and "Don't Touch My Hair" are extremely personal, yet, according to the singer, speak to the larger picture of black culture in present day America. The Knowles family story told through A Seat At The Table is a piece of that puzzle.

"The album really feels like storytelling for us all and our family and our lineage," the 30-year-old said. The album was an opportunity to really give her family a new voice, while respecting her parents's journey. "Having mom and dad speak on the album, it felt right that, as a family, this closed the chapter of our stories."

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Solange also drew inspiration from her friends, and the realities they face in day-to-day life. "Every day, we're texting about some of the micro-aggressions we experience, and that voice can be heard on the record, too," she explained. The album can be viewed as a diary of sorts, but not just Solange's. "The inspiration for this record came from all of our voices as a collective, and wanting to look at it and explore it."

The experience allowed the singer to be more in touch with herself, her family, and her life, and I can't imagine putting all of that vulnerability out into the world would be easy.