Solange Knowles, the purveyor of Black girl magic, hasn’t always been that confident about her singing abilities.
During a panel featuring fellow creative, and designer, Virgil Abloh, Solange opened up about how her dream of becoming a professional dancer came to a dead stop when she tore her meniscus at age 15. She also shared how that devastating moment led her to pursue music wholeheartedly.
“I would go to any studio session that anyone would let me sit in, and I would watch and I would study,” Knowles said at the American Express OPEN Success Makers event on Tuesday. “I was extremely lucky and privileged that I had that kind of access, but I think about these landmarks —how this devastating thing turned into the thing that I actually do now, which turned into what I’m actually doing presently, which is incorporating my mess into my work and how anyone of those moments I could have just completely surrendered.”
Back then Solange thought she would become a songwriter, not a singer. “You know, I never thought that I actually had such a great voice,” she said. “I thought that I was a really strong songwriter, I thought I had a really strong vision, but I just did not believe in my voice enough yet, so I worked really hard the art of developing a song.”
Being a student of the craft first is what brought the Grammy winner her success. “I think those moments made me as confident and self-assured as I am now,” Solange continued. “This is exactly the way I thought I was gonna get there, and being open to the possibility and exploring and always being a student.”
Knowles’ fourth studio album A Seat At the Table won her a Grammy and she recently was honored with the American Express Impact Award during the Billboard Women in Music Awards show.