Now that Beyoncé and Solange have closed out 2016 claiming it as their own—having made history as sisters on the Billboard charts; both been nominated for Grammy and NAACP Image awards; and both nabbed a spot on our #SimplyTheBest albums of the year list—the two have gotten together to share a dialogue for Interview magazine. In it, the elder interviews the younger on their childhood, art inspirations, being strong women, favorite movies and shows, and more. Read excerpts below:
ON CHILDHOOD OBSESSIONS
Beyoncé: You were obsessed with Alanis Morissette and Minnie Riperton and mixing prints with your clothes … when you were only 10 years old. You would lock yourself in a room with your drum set and a record player and write songs. Do you remember that? Of course you do.
Solange: I do. [both laugh]
ON CHILDHOOD INSPIRATION
Solange: I remember having so much perspective about my voice, and how to use my voice, at such a young age… I had a lot of things to say. And I appreciated y’all’s patience in the house during all of these different phases. They were not ever very introverted, quiet phases.
Beyoncé: No, not at all. [both laugh] I remember thinking, “My little sister is going to be something super special,” because you always seemed to know what you wanted. And I’m just curious, where did that come from?
Solange: I have no idea, to be honest! I always knew what I wanted. We damn sure know that I wasn’t always right. [both laugh]
Beyoncé: You write your own lyrics, you co-produce your own tracks, you write your own treatments for your videos, you stage all of your performances, all of the choreography … Where does the inspiration come from?
Solange: …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. Which is a huge part of why I wanted you to interview me for this piece. Because the album really feels like storytelling for us all and our family and our lineage. And having mom and dad speak on the album, it felt right that, as a family, this closed the chapter of our stories.
ON MASTER P NARRATING A SEAT AT THE TABLE
Solange: Well, I find a lot of similarities in Master P and our dad.
Beyoncé: Me, too. [laughs]
Solange: …I wanted a voice throughout the record that represented empowerment and independence, the voice of someone who never gave in, even when it was easy to lose sight of everything that he built, someone invested in black people, invested in our community and our storytelling, in empowering his people. You and I were raised being told not to take the first thing that came our way, to build our own platforms, our own spaces, if they weren’t available to us. And I think that he is such a powerful example of that.
ON “CRANES IN THE SKY”
Beyoncé: What does the song title mean?
Solange: “Cranes in the Sky” is actually a song that I wrote eight years ago… I know you remember that time. I was just coming out of my relationship with Julez’s father. We were junior high school sweethearts… I was working through a lot of challenges at every angle of my life, and a lot of self-doubt, a lot of pity-partying… I used to write and record a lot in Miami during that time, when there was a real estate boom in America, and developers were developing all of this new property… You recorded a lot there as well, and I think we experienced Miami as a place of refuge and peace. We weren’t out there wilin’ out and partying. I remember looking up and seeing all of these cranes in the sky. They were so heavy and such an eyesore, and not what I identified with peace and refuge. I remember thinking of it as an analogy for my transition—this idea of building up, up, up…
Beyoncé: What are some misconceptions about being a strong woman?
Solange: Oh my God, they’re endless! [laughs] One thing that I constantly have to fight against is not feeling arrogant when I say I wrote every lyric on this album. I still have not been able to say that.
A “SPEED ROUND”
Beyoncé: Lady Sings the Blues or Mahogany?
Solange: Mahogany! Without a doubt. You know, that’s the first movie that Alan and I watched together. That was our first official date.
Beyoncé: That I know…. What makes you laugh the hardest?
Solange: The Real Housewives of Atlanta, hands-down.
Beyoncé: Really?! I didn’t know that…. And, honestly, growing up, how did I do as a big sister?
Solange: You did a kickass job. You were the most patient, loving, wonderful sister ever. In the 30 years that we’ve been together, I think we’ve only really, like, butted heads … we can count on one hand.
Beyoncé: I was expecting something funny, but I’ll take it. Thank you.