Neo soul legend Erykah Badu had teamed up with audio developer Sonos to curate a brand new radio station.
Entitled BADUBOTRON, the station will feature playlists and selections hand picked by Badu that represent a wide range influence and contemporary artists, including Fela Kuti, Dionne Warwick, and Tierra Whack, the latter of whom Badu hinted at a future collaboration.
During the station’s launch, we asked Badu how radio played a key role in her development as an artist. She took us back to her days growing up in Dallas, Texas, with an ear always tuned to the local soul station.
“Clock radio was in my bathroom as a child growing up,” Badu explained. “My whole elementary, junior high and high school career and every morning the radio was always on. It was on K104FM, R&B soul radio and that’s what I listened to growing up all day long. So you did hear a lot of the same things all the time but it was such good stuff that you don’t mind. It shaped me into a pretty well rounded theorist when it comes to music.”
To create some of the signature sounds of Badu’s spacey otherworldly R&B, Badu recorded a number of the programme’s elements at the legendary Electric LadyStudios, the same studio where she recorded her legendary 2000 LP Mama’s Gun.
“We went to Electric Lady Studios in New York just to use someone’s analog gear that I needed to use for some of the BADUBOTRON effects and some of the voice delays and things,” Badu said. “I wanted to really create an analog experience because a lot of the music I played was pre-digital music. So I wanted to use those types of mics, and those types of preamps and those types of modules, and just be in that kind of room, to really take people on a trip – on a time travel trip.”
Badu emphasised that the station won’t just cater to her typical Neo-soul or R&B styles. Instead, the station will play a wide variety of artists old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, in order to create what the artist refers to as “the vibe”.
“I made sure that the diversity in my heart and mind is expressed and kinda take you on a trip. Introduce some of the audience to music they haven’t heard, give them some familiar things to help them to decompress and think. I didn’t want to give a lot of low hanging fruit, I wanted people to have the opportunity to climb and discover.”
Badu’s BADUBOTRON station launches today on Sonos Radio.