This week Sade’s first single, Soldier of Love was released and adoring fans like myself have been pumping the song incessantly.  The album, Soldier of Love marks Sade’s first official studio album since the multiplatinum, Lovers Rock in 2000. Soldier of Love is scheduled to be released in February 10, 2010. Sade is known for her lithe figure, cool demeanor and her sultry songs about the trials and rewards of love. The 51 year old divorced mother doesn’t look a day older than when she did in 1984 when she released her debut album, Diamond Life.

Over the years I have turned to Sade to help me to navigate my own love life—the angst, the complications, the disappointments and the transcendent joys. I personally identified with Sade’s quiet strength.  This is not to say that her public persona mirrors my own energy; I have been known to raise my voice.  But I really don’t like drama or the crying and whining that usually accompanies it.  Love, even intensely passionate love, doesn’t have to turn women into screaming lunatics. I loved and related to her smoldering sexuality.  Sade’s got that slightly detached vibe. It gives her admirers the impression that she’s not giving her goodies away to just anybody.

Sade’s Dorian Gray looks may have to do with her deciding to live her life on her own terms— away from the glare of the public. She’s an artist who generously gives us her music but not her entire life. Sade isn’t fodder for tabloids and the public knows very little about her personal life. Her value to her fans is lies solely in her artistry, as it should be.

Lauryn Hill, like Sade appears to be re-emerging after a self-imposed hiatus. It has been reported that Lauryn will appear at Raggamuffin Music Festival on January 23, 2010. The festival will take place in Rotorua International Stadium in Rotura, New Zealand.  Hill and former Fugees member Wyclef Jean will be co-headliners of the festival. Lauryn’s involvement in the Raggamuffin Festival is the singer’s first major sighting since cancelling several high profile dates in June of 2009. Lauryn had been scheduled to headline the Stockholm Jazz Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

As a member of the Fugees, Lauryn released two albums including 1996’s The Score, which has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Lauryn endeared herself to a generation of female rap music fans because she didn’t hew to the traditional roles for women: hoochie or gangsta’s moll.  She didn’t shake her ass in videos nor did have a weave.   Lauryn gained success because she  was a talented singer and lyricist who easily held her own with her male counterparts.  In 1999 the 23 year old set a Grammy record for women by winning 5 awards for her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill She won album of the year (the first time a rap music artist had won this category), best new artist, best female R&B vocal performance, best R&B song, and best R&B album.

On the song Zion” from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn addresses becoming a mother—Zion is the name of her firstborn. She speaks candidly about how many advised her to terminate her pregnancy because  they thought it would hurt her career.  Unlike the Sade, Hill hasn’t remained in a media cocoon.  In the past several years there have been rumors circulating about Hill’s relationships with Wyclef Jean, as well as with Rohan Marley, the fourth son of reggae icon Bob Marley. Rohan and Lauryn have five children together.  Additionally there has been rampant speculation about her mental health and her singing abilities.  Giving the dearth of multi-dimensional female musical artists, millions of Lauryn Hill fans are eagerly awaiting her return to the stage and to the recording studio.

The lesson of Sade and Lauryn Hill is that we each have a “public” that we serve. Your “public” includes your friends, family, associates, colleagues and neighbors. You don’t need to be elusive or intentionally mysterious. However to maintain your individuality and your peace of mind, you must keep a part of yourself separate and apart from your public.

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Yvonne Bynoe, Feature Writer


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