Grammy-winning Vocalist/Bassist/Composer/Multi-instrumentalist MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO Brings Her Eclectic, Genre-spanning Music to The August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s Soul Sessions on

Discovered by Madonna and championed by the late author/journalist Greg Tate, Meshell Ndegeocello, who described herself as a "revolutionary soul singer, " and whose name in Kiswahili means, "free like a bird, " performs in the latest installment of Soul Sessions at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAAC), 980 Liberty Avenue, on Friday, March 10, 8:00 pm.

Soul Sessions kicked off in October with Afropop diva Angélique Kidjo and also features the self-described "Gentleman of Soul, " Peabo Bryson on February 11, Stokley, R & B singer and long-time leader of Mint Condition, on April 5, and singer/rapper/songwriter Maimouna Youssef (aka Mumu Fresh) on November 18.

From her 1993 smash debut album Plantation Lullabies, to the music she composed for John Singleton's movie Higher Learning and the TV series Queen Sugar, Ndegeocello has created a profound and personal body of work that is a soulful synthesis of R&B, jazz, reggae, rock, poetry/spoken word and world music.

Ndegeocello's marvelous musical mélange is heard on several of her compositions including "Dred Loc, " "Step Into The Projects, " "Hot Night" and "Ecclesiastes: Free My Heart, " and on her critically-acclaimed albums including Lullabies, Peace Beyond Passion, Bitter, Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape and Comet, Come to Me. She covers a multitude of subjects including Black culture, religion, gender and philosophy.

In addition to her own compositions, Ndegeocello has set music to James Baldwin's works, recorded Nina Simone's material, and covered Whodini's "Friends, " and Ready For The World's "Love You Down." Her latest recording Ventriloquism is her first album of covers featuring Prince's "Sometimes It Snows in April, " TLC's "Waterfalls, " Sade's "Smooth Operator" and George Clinton's "Atomic Dog." Blessed with a cool and caressing contralto voice of sepia-toned textures and timbres, Ndegeocello plays keyboards and guitar, and her bass playing is an amazing and imaginative multi-genre amalgam of bassists Jaco Pastorius, Sting, Prince, Family Man Barrett and Stevie Wonder.

Born Michelle Lynn Johnson in Germany where her father, a U.S. Army Sergeant and musician, was stationed, Ndegeocello grew up in suburban Washington, D.C. She started playing bass in her early teens, played in local go-go bands, graduated from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and briefly attended Howard University. It was around that time that she decided to change her name. "I was in search of my identity and I was very queer – as Baldwin puts it: a kidnapped pagan, " Ndegeocello told "I was owned by someone named Johnson, I also had my struggles with my parents …. So, I think that's what happened, I didn't change it when I got a career."

After she moved to New York, Ndegeocello performed with The Black Rock Coalition. In addition to her sterling career as a solo artist, she has performed and recorded with a wide range of musical superstars including, John Cougar Mellencamp, Joshua Redman, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Cassandra Wilson and Pat Metheny. An 11-time Grammy nominee, Ndegeocello won her first Grammy in 2021 in the category of Best R&B Song for "Better Than I Imagined" from Robert Glasper's Black Radio III album featuring H.E.R.

But for all of the complexity that comprises NDegeocello's artistry, the well-spring of her creativity springs from one simple maxim. "I'm an artist. I want to make art, " she tells "I don't want to be a flash in the pan. It's not who I am. I just do what I do – it's really that simple."

Ticket are: $68.00 and are available at

About August Wilson African American Cultural Center: 
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a non-profit cultural organization located in Pittsburgh's cultural district that generates artistic, educational, and community initiatives that advance the legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. One of the largest cultural centers in the country focused exclusively on the African American experience and the celebration of Black culture and the African diaspora, the non-profit organization welcomes more than 119, 000 visitors locally and nationally. Through year-round programming across multiple genres, such as the annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Black Bottom Film Festival, AWCommunity Days, TRUTHSayers speaker series, and rotating art exhibits in its galleries, the Center provides a platform for established and emerging artists of color whose work reflects the universal issues of identity that Wilson tackled, and which still resonate today. 

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