The Knowles sisters keep it in the family as Beyoncé interviews Solange for the February issue of Interview.
Looking stunning on the cover, shot by Mikael Jansson, the “Cranes in the Sky” songstress offers a calm glare. Inside the magazine, she appears confident and elegant, wearing DKNY, Marni, David Hart, Miu Miu, and Balenciaga.
During the interview, Solange opens up about what it was like to have Queen Bey as a big sis. “You did a kickass job,” she tells her older sibling. “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.”
Bey mostly handles questions here, but she also adds a few tidbits about her little sis. “I remember thinking, ‘My little sister is going to be something super special,’” she recalls. “Because you always seemed to know what you wanted.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Solange speaks about her 2016 standout A Seat at the Table, the inspiration behind “Cranes in the Sky,” and how influences ranging from Aaliyah to Master P served her well on this project. See highlights from the Q&A below.
SOLANGE ON A SEAT AT THE TABLE: “It really started with wanting to unravel some truths and some untruths. There were things that had been weighing heavy on me for quite some time. And 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. And my friends’ stories–every day, we’re texting about some of the micro-aggressions we experience, and that voice can be heard on the record, too. The inspiration for this record came from all of our voices as a collective, and wanting to look at it and explore it. I’m so happy I got to take my time in that process. And the end result feels really rewarding.”
SOLANGE ON MASTER P: “I remember reading or hearing things about Master P that reminded me so much of Dad growing up. And they also have an incredible amount of love and respect for one another. And 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.”
SOLANGE ON MISSY ELLIOTT: “One of my biggest inspirations in terms of female producers is Missy. I remember seeing her when you guys worked together and being enamored with the idea that I could use myself as more than a voice and the words.”
SOLANGE ON AALIYAH: “Aaliyah was also a huge influence and has always been. Her vocal arrangements with Static Major are some of my favorite in the world.”
SOLANGE ON A SEAT AT THE TABLE’S COVER ART: “I wanted to create an image that invited people to have an up-close and personal experience—and that really spoke to the album title—that communicated, through my eyes and my posture, like, “Come and get close. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to get a little gritty, and it might get a little intense, but it’s a conversation we need to have.” I wanted to nod to the Mona Lisa and the stateliness, the sternness that that image has.”
SOLANGE ON MOTHER TINA LAWSON: “Our mother always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work, and she showed us that through her example. If she conjured up an idea, there was not one element of that idea that she was not going to have her hand in. She was not going to hand that over to someone. And I think it’s been an interesting thing to navigate, especially watching you do the same in all aspects of your work: Society labels that a control freak, an obsessive woman, or someone who has an inability to trust her team or to empower other people to do the work, which is completely untrue.”
BEYONCÉ ON SOLANGE MEETING NAS: “One of my proudest moments as a sister was when I was able to introduce you to your hero, Nas, and you cried and acted a fool. I was so surprised that Mrs. Too-cool-for-everything was acting a fool.”