Meshell Ndegeocello

Editor’s note: More Music at the Moore is a young artist development program for selected young musicians from across musical genres. Now in its 12th year, the program offers training and rehearsal time with a featured professional musician, along with production and promotional support, and the chance to perform at the Moore Friday, May 10, at 7:30pm.

This year’s music director is Meshell Ndegeocello, the 10-time Grammy-nominated bassist, songwriter, and vocalist. The 10 local acts that made it through the audition process include a beatboxer, a young men’s a capella group, Taiko drummers, and more. We thought it would be fun to ask one of the youngest participants—14-year-old Samantha Braman, a fiddler in the indie-folk trio the Onlies—to interview her artistic mentor for the week. —Ed.

Meshell Ndegeocello is a bassist, a songwriter, a singer, and one of the few women—if you can believe it—who writes her own music and heads her own band. Yesterday was our first rehearsal (we’ll be doing five-hour rehearsals every day until the concert Friday) and she was completely energized, forming us into interesting combinations to work on songs outside our own genres. In addition to playing one of our own original songs, my indie-folk group, the Onlies, will be backing up the beatboxer CDQ. For the finale, we’ll all take the stage together to bring our different styles into one big sound. It will be an exhilarating show.

Meshell Ndegeocello is an incredibly compelling presence. Here are some of the questions Seattle Met gave me an excuse to ask her. —Samantha Braman, The Onlies

When did you start to sing and play bass?
When my brother started playing the guitar. I just wanted to play with him. I was 13 or 14.
Do you write your own music?
Almost always. I like to collaborate with other musicians and writers too and I also like to rearrange songs I love by artists I love.
What’s your biggest musical accomplishment?
Just getting to do this this long!
Which feels better: Making music or gaining accolades for your music?
Making music—by a long shot.
You’re about to become a big influence on me. Who were your influences?
Prince. David Bowie. George Clinton. Brian Eno.
Okay, so seriously, I’m a fiddle player in an indie-folk trio. How are you going to help us collaborate productively with beatboxers and funk artists and rappers and Taiko drummers?
Music is a fellowship and genres are a myth, in my opinion. Everyone has something to teach you, even if it doesn't translate into playing together in the end. It is important to diversify what you hear.
In a few days I’ll be on stage at the Moore Theatre, where legends have played, looking out at a full house, terrified. Any advice?
Close your eyes! See with your ears!
Give me three words to describe who you were as a teenager.
Wow. Misfit. Dreamer. Lonely.
What do you know now you wish you’d known at 14?
That life is bigger than high school peer groups. That you can and will find like minds.
What will you be doing in Seattle in your extra time?
Eating amazing food, seeing friends, and looking at the water.

More Music at the Moore
May 10 at 7:30, Moore Theatre, $10–$15
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