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For other uses, see D’Angelo (disambiguation).
Birth name Michael Eugene Archer
Born February 11, 1974 (1974-02-11) (age 36)
Origin Richmond, Virginia, United States
Genres R&B, neo soul, funk, soul, hip hop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, keyboardist, producer
Instruments Vocals, piano/keyboard, Hammond Organ, drums, bass, Rhodes piano, guitar
Years active 1994 – present
Labels EMI, Virgin, J
Associated acts Soulquarians, Questlove, Raphael Saadiq, Angie Stone, The RH Factor

Michael Eugene Archer[1][2][3] (born February 11, 1974), better known by his stage name D’Angelo, is an American R&B and neo soul singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.

D’Angelo is known for his production and songwriting talents as much as for his vocal abilities, and often draws comparisons to his influencers, Marvin Gaye, and Prince. D’Angelo was one of the most influential artists during the rise of the neo-soul movement.

His first two studio albums, Brown Sugar and Voodoo, have garnered much commercial and critical acclaim, and have been cited as “two of the most excellent and singular R&B albums of the past 15 years”.[4] Rock critic Robert Christgau has dubbed him as “R&B Jesus”.[5]

Since the year 2000, D’Angelo has conducted no interviews, live performances or released any new material, save for minor collaborations with other artists, and sporadic unfinished demos leaked to the internet. A follow up album to Voodoo, has been rumoured and speculated since the mid-2000s but is still pending release or announcement.

 Early life

D’Angelo was born Michael Eugene Archer, in Richmond, Virginia on February 11, 1974, to a Pentecostal preacher father, and a mother he described as “powerful.” He was raised in an entirely Pentecostal family. Strict, they forbade interaction with other church members. His time deep within Pentecostalism left Archer with several notable memories, including seeing his 9-year-old brother catch “the Holy Ghost.” He would later recall one of his memories as a 12-year-old:

“I saw this one lady, she used to catch demons. She used to always catch ’em. And one night at this revival in the mountains, she caught a demon. She was going out of her way to disrupt. She ripped the Bible apart. She was being sexual. Stripping. Foaming at the mouth. She was speaking an evil tongue. I had never heard it before, but I knew it was evil. And this brother from the choir, he and the evangelist tried to get it out of her–to exorcise her, and she was screaming, “No! No!” She crawled out of there on all fours. There was a graveyard out back, and she was jumping on the hoods of cars. And the whole church went out and made a circle around her and started praying and singing. Then my grandfather laid hands on her. And it was over.”
—D’Angelo, Vibe Magazine, 2000[6]

Archer’s musical talents were discovered very early on. At 3, he was spotted by his 10 year-old brother, Luther, playing the house piano.

“Mike was three – and it was not banging,” Luther says with awe. “It was a full-fledged song, with melody and bass line. Shortly thereafter, he started playing for my father’s church. My father had a Hammond organ, and he had to slide down to reach the pedals, but he did that very well.”[7]
—Luther Archer

Musical career

By his late teens he was offered a publishing deal by Jocelyn Cooper of Midnight Songs and penned the hit song “U Will Know” on the Jason’s Lyric soundtrack. It was performed by Black Men United for the Jason’s Lyric motion picture soundtrack.

Shortly after, he was signed by Gary Harris and he began recording his debut album for EMI records. Brown Sugar was released in June 1995. Though sales were sluggish at first, the album was eventually a hit, due in large part to “Lady,” a Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, peaking at #10. The album earned platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, following sales in excess of one million copies in the U.S.,[8][9] while its total sales have been estimated within the range of 1.5 million to over two million copies.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][note 1] The album helped give commercial visibility to the burgeoning neo soul movement of the 1990s, along with debut albums by Maxwell, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill. The album was a critical success as well, and appeared on many critics’ “best of” lists for the year.

In the five year gap between Brown Sugar and the follow-up, D’Angelo appeared on several soundtracks, including Belly (“Devil’s Pie”), frequently singing covers like “Girl You Need a Change of Mind” (Eddie Kendricks, Get on the Bus), “She’s Always in My Hair” (Prince, Scream 2) and “Heaven Must Be Like This” (The Ohio Players, Down in the Delta), as well as appearing on Lauryn Hill‘s landmark The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on the duet “Nothing Even Matters”.


The much-delayed follow-up to Brown Sugar, Voodoo, was finally released in 2000. It debuted at #1 and went on to win 2 Grammy Awards, one for Best R&B Album, and the other for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The lead single was 1999’s “Left & Right” (featuring Method Man and Redman), but it was the album’s second single, “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” (a tribute to artist Prince), that became a huge R&B hit buoyed by an innovative yet infamous video featuring a presumably nude D’Angelo (from his face to his hips). The video was nominated for 4 MTV Video Music Awards and currently ranks #44 in VH1‘s list of the 100 Greatest Videos. He also performed “Be Here” (with Raphael Saadiq) from Saadiq’s album Instant Vintage. After Voodoo’s release, D’Angelo embarked on what would become one of the most fabled series of live soul shows in history, “The Voodoo Tour”. Consisting of a live group entitled “the Soultronics“, (presumedly assembled by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots) which engulfed arena-size stages with various dancers and instrument players, it was one of the most attended shows of the year. The tour was taken all around the world, one of the most notable performances being the Free Jazz Festival in Brazil. The live show was a thinly-disguised homage to Prince’s late 80’s shows, in its grandeur and conceptual stage set-up/setlist. Slum Village (then in its original line-up of Jay Dee, Baatin & T3) opened for D’Angelo on several dates, and soul-tinged R&B singer Anthony Hamilton sang backup within the band.

In 2002, Q magazine named him in their list of the “50 Bands To See Before You Die”, and in 2003 Voodoo was ranked at number 488 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Pitchfork Media rated it at #44 on their list of the best albums of the 2000s.

Recent developments

A follow-up to the Voodoo album has yet to be released; however, in recent months, D’Angelo is said to be hard at work on a third album, tentatively titled James River.[17] After a long period of inactivity, D’Angelo has made guest appearances on several albums, including releases by J Dilla, Common,[18] Red Hot & Riot and The RH Factor.

In August 2006 he began collaborations with Common and Q-Tip. He also entered discussions with Jermaine Dupri on how to market what appears to be a forthcoming LP, though the official news of a release has not been made public yet.[19] Although music for his own album has yet to materialize, D’Angelo was featured on the song “Imagine”, by Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, from his album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, released on November 21, 2006.

On April 17, 2007 a new song called “Really Love” was leaked on Triple J Radio in Australia by Questlove[20] D’Angelo also had a guest appearance on Common’s 2007 album, Finding Forever on the track, “So Far to Go”, a song that first appeared on J Dilla’s 2006 release, The Shining.

After his 10 August 2007 court proceeding, he confirmed that new music is “in the works” although the album remains untitled [21]

On June 24, 2008, Virgin EMI released an enhanced greatest hits CD/DVD which will include top hits, rare tracks & seven previously unreleased music videos from D’Angelo. According to the press release, the new collection is titled The Best So Far… because D’Angelo is far from finished, currently writing and recording his highly anticipated next musical chapter.” There will also be a digital album, video downloads, and ringtones available on the day of its release.[22] In November 2008, D’Angelo’s collaboration with Q-Tip was officially confirmed with the release of the Q-Tip album The Renaissance which features D’Angelo on the track Believe. His third studio album, set to be titled James River, was said to be released in 2009. D’Angelo revealed that his 2009 album would be called James River and that Prince would work heavily on the disc. Apparently the collaboration list reads like a who’s who in the R&B, neo soul movement. 2009 came and went with no album being released. Below, his manager, said of the purported album:

“James River,” D’Angelo’s first studio effort in nearly 9 years, is also sporting a collaboration with Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo Green. Green joins Raphael Saadiq, Mark Ronson, and Roy Hargrove, who have already contributed to D’Angelo’s forthcoming album.

On January 29, 2010, an incomplete song named ‘1000 Deaths’ was leaked on to the internet and uploaded to Youtube, it was said to possibly be from the James River album, however, after four days on February 3 it was deleted due to a copyright claim by D’Angelo. Also his official website went offline in November 2009 but in February 2010 it started linking to D’Angelo’s official Myspace Page with a banner reading ‘Album & Tour Summer 2010’. However, on the 6th of March, 2010 D’Angelo was arrested after allegedly offering an undercover police officer $40 for oral sex while cruising alone through the West Village, New York. [23] After that his MySpace page stopped showing the ‘Album and Tour Summer 2010’ banner. One day later his management issued a statement saying that he entered a plea of not guilty and is contesting the allegations made against him.

Erykah Badu tweeted that he visited her in the studio meanwhile working on his own album at the Electric Lady Studios, New York.[24] His manager’s Myspace page still states: “D’Angelo’s album is slated for release late summer 2010.” [25] but delays in the album release are suspected.

In late May 2010, various online record stores began listing an album called ‘Interpretations: Remakes’ for sale.[26]Most of the listed tracks have been widely available for some time, via CD or [[MP3}}, and it is not clear if this is an official release, as no announcement was made. The cover art is the same as 2008’s ‘Best so far’ compilation