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Can you imagine growing up with Beyoncé as your big sister? Sibling rivalry is a thorny maze of insecurities even after your hormone-heady teen years are over, and as part of Destiny’s Child, big sis has been an international superstar since Solange was just 12 years old. That must’ve been a rough ride for a kid who, just like her sister, showed an interest in showbiz early on.
Still, Solange persevered, releasing two solo records of glossy, slightly saccharine, retro-leaning soul. She divided the rest of her time between acting and deejaying, becoming a fixture in fashion-show front rows in the process – not to mention undertaking that full-time job known as motherhood (she had her son at just 18).
So far, so mainstream. But in the past three years, Solange has made some surprising choices. The 27-year-old covered the Dirty Projectors, sang with Of Montreal and, most notably, started collaborating with Dev Hynes, who as a teenager gained notoriety in London punk-funk trio Test Icicles.
Now living in Brooklyn, New York, Hynes records as Blood Orange, specialising in a laid-back, spartan strain of R&B – like Prince on quaaludes. The fingerprints of his latter-day aesthetic can be found all over Solange’s new seven-song EP, True, where her nimble tones relax on a bed of twinkling guitars and languorous bass grooves. It’s clearly striking a chord: The lead track ‘Losing You’ has clocked up 8 million views on YouTube.com since October. With a full-length LP penciled in for next year, it looks like Solange is finally carving out a niche of her own, just left of centre.