Erykah Badu will test the waters for a sort of soul sisters' Lilith Fair with a pair of all-star festivals this month.
Earlier this summer the bald singer announced she'd recruited Macy Gray, Jill Scott, Sunshine Anderson and Zap Mama for the Marimba Festival in Clarkston, Michigan, on August 8 (see "Erykah Badu Plans Tour And One-Day Female Soul Festival"). The show looked to be a one-off, but she's gone on to add a concert at Toronto's Molson Amphitheater on August 29 for which she and Scott will be joined by red-hot newcomers Alicia Keys and Nikka Costa, as well as up-and-comers Jaguar and Divine Earth Essence.
According to Badu's agent, Cara Lewis, the shows will help determine the viability of a full-scale tour in summer 2002. Ticket sales so far indicate high demand, Lewis said. The tour would feature Badu as one of the headliners, with a varying lineup of other female soul singers.
"When you look at Erykah Badu, there's no classier performer right now, and that is setting the tone for the full show," said Elliott Lefko, director of booking at House of Blues Concerts Canada, which is promoting the Toronto show.
Badu's friend Gray suggested one reason the lineup may fluctuate. While she praised Badu recently for pulling together the Michigan lineup, Gray added that the idea of a full outing with the girls isn't all that appealing.
"One of the best things about the music business is that it's dominated by men," Gray said. "It's a great opportunity to be around men all the time. I loved that bill that she put together, [but] I don't know if I want to do an all-woman tour.
"If I happen to put together a bill that was real dope like that and it happened to be all women, that'd be cool. But hangin' out with dudes in other bands is like the best thing in the whole world - like when we went out with the Roots and Everlast, you have your little bowling parties and you could have one-night stands in a bunk and stuff like that.
"You just can't do that on a women's tour."