Erykah Badu is the cover star of American Vogue. The eccentric soul singer is out promoting the cover and all things Badu and stopped by Tamron Hall with her signature wit and humor. While there, they discussed her haunted piano and the inspiration behind her biggest hit, “Tyrone.”
Wearing a red hoodie and oversized grey outfit, Badu also sported a rainbow of jewelry, from rings to necklaces and wrist accessories and a tall silver hat. “For the sake of the audience, I’m joking,” she said of the haunted piano she played during her Vogue clip that opened the interview. She jokes that if the piano “was” haunted, it would probably be by Liberace. “I play so well with it; it’s so easy. I think, ‘I can’t be this good.’ I’m getting some help from beyond.”
February 11th marked the 26th anniversary of Badu’s album Baduizm. The classic project was initially dubbed neo-soul, but these days Erykah does not want the album to be remembered by its genre. “Every artist likes to be known for inventing something. I’m good with the moniker ‘Queen of Neo-soul,’ but I don’t want to be pigeon held to creating one thing.” She continues by saying that she’s earned the right to “change the sound.”
The discussion then turned to Erykah’s song “Tyrone,” which she reveals began as an inside joke. “It was like my sister and I; we always imitate our aunts. They would be fussing about the guy and what he needs to do better. That was my homage to that.” Badu says she was freestyling the song and that people took the whole thing too seriously. “If you throw a rock in a crowd, a hit dog will holler,” she said with a smirk.
Badu says she gets letters from Tyrone’s saying that she ruined their lives. “I already did my part,” Erkyah joked. The interview reveals that Tyrone was not a real person at all, but people on social media were more shocked that the song was made up on the spot. “Erykah Badu freestyled ‘Tyrone’?!?!?!” Elsewhere in the clip, the singer discussed her pearl teeth and the legacy of women in her family.