photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Music journalist Christian Wikane's seriously in-depth interview with Dionne Farris ran recently over at PopMatters.  Great stuff, and well worth the time to read because it answers the question: "What ever happened to Dionne Farris?"  She's essentially flown under the radar since 1997, when her song "Hopeless" appeared on the "Love Jones" soundtrack.  From her parting ways with Arrested Development, to her tense relationship with a major label that didn't understand how to market her in the face of a critically acclaimed debut album, to her losing and–lucky for us–regaining her desire to sing, this article covers a lot of ground.

And the upside is that she's back with a new perspective, a new album (Signs of Life) and her own label (Free and Clear).  In fact, here's a some advice that other artists, particularly those that aren't interested in fitting into the industry's outdated and overly small boxes should heed:

Thriving on the reciprocal nature of live performance, Farris shares the advice a former label-mate at Columbia gave her about how an album is but one component of a career and not the sum total.  Nancy Wilson, who’s recorded more than 40 records in her career, told Farris, “The record is for you to stand on. That’s your platform. Keep making the records and you service the people. You go and tour and that’s where you make your money.” In establishing her record label, Farris has heeded the advice. She explains, ”Signs of Life is making sure that number one, people can hear the music so they’ll be inspired to come out, but it’s also facilitating us to go around. I’m ready to go. I’m extremely ready. I’m so ready to keep being onstage. There’s just a repertoire now that I’m grateful for. We do almost a two-hour show.”

Her new album is available for direct download on her MySpace page.

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  • Wow. Thanks for this. I was just listening to her debut album Wildseed Wildflower the other night and was wondering about her. I’m glad to see she’s upping her game.

  • what an a-mazing, inspiring piece. thanks for sharing.

  • Most excellent to hear. It just boggles the mind that musical trash always floats to the top (yes I’m talking about the Ciara’s, Rhianna’s, Kelis’s, etc of the world) while true artistry often sinks like a stone.