Meshell Ndegeocello Talks the Cosmos, Friendship and 'Comet Come to Me'

Meshell Ndegeocello Talks the Cosmos, Friendship and 'Comet Come to Me'
Meshell Ndegeocello is one of the most prolific artists around. In late 2012, she released her stunning reworking of Nina Simone songs, Pour une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, and she produced Anthony Joseph's new album, Time, which came out earlier this year. With that done, she's now returning with her 11th studio album, Comet Come to Me, out yesterday (June 3) on Naïve Records. Speaking to Exclaim!, Ndegeocello describes the making the album as a gratifying collaboration.

"I've been lucky enough to work with people who happen to be my bandmates but also my friends: Chris Bruce [on guitar], Jebin Bruni [on keys] and Earl Harvin [on drums]."

The album's title — inspired by a dream her partner had — quickly became one Ndegeocello found symbolically significant.

"I was watching Neil Tyson's Cosmos, and there's a section on the comet and how it used to influence people, either a bad omen or a good omen. It's an answer to some people. It's a bad omen to some. It's whatever you want it to be when it comes to you. I thought that was fitting for how I think people feel about me."

Comet Come to Me's opening track, a foreboding cover of Whodini's 1984 hip-hop classic "Friends," is a standout. The title is a word that Ndegeocello explains she felt the need to explore.

"The word [friends] is ambiguous these days. Or it's just a noun. It has sort of been co-opted by so many people — I just don't know what it means anymore. And if you listen to 'Conviction,' it's not a love song. It's a friendship break-up song. I think, as I get older, I'm learning about friends and making new friends and how to maintain old ones. It's [also] a great song, and people rarely cover hip-hop music."

Read our full interview with Ndegeocello here.