SassyBlack, for years half of the popular Seattle duo THEESatisfaction, is striking out on her own with a debut album, “No More Weak Dates.” She appears at Barboza on Tuesday, May 17.
For the psychedelic soul singer and producer SassyBlack, who will release her first solo record, “No More Weak Dates,” on Tuesday (May 17) at Barboza, much of what shapes her aesthetic has roots in things odd and uneven.
Sitting at a corner table in a downtown Top Pot doughnuts with a coffee and a glazed, she says that as a kid she suffered from an irregular heartbeat.
“My heart still probably beats like that,” she says with a knowing smile.
SassyBlack album release party
8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $10 advance (206-709-9467 or thebarboza.com).
Growing up, she’d have her eyes glued to “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and other sci-fi programs. Along with those childhood imprints, she was also influenced by Afrofuturism, the tradition that combines science, African myth and Afrocentricity.
“Like most things,” she says, “it’s a label to describe an experience that’s already been existing — science and blackness and the African tradition — since the beginning of time.”
In a year when her acclaimed duo, THEESatisfaction, is splitting up and she also turns 30, Sassyblack is experiencing an additional layer of tumult.
She says she remembers thinking that by now she would “[have] kids, [be] married, [have] a house and some other stuff that’s not realistic — especially in this time and age.”
“No More Weak Dates” reflects all of this — alternative ideas about traditional values, love of space and irregular heartbeats — as it details the modern (read: nuanced) dating world.
“It’s about some form of a relationship, but it’s not defined,” she says. “It’s like, we’re hanging out, I like dating, I like you, I think you dated my best friend, OK I’m over it, let’s go to Comicon.”
She first conceptualized the album in Atlanta and later produced and recorded it with the help of Hey Marseilles’ Sam Anderson. For inspiration, she listened to her favorite recordings, including Prince’s “Kiss,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life.”
The songs are about floating romantically in the spaces between people. The standout is “Circle of Love,” which humorously tells the story of the singer finding out her “new boo ain’t so new to the crew.” Other hits include “Comicon,” about the new couple going to that Emerald City convention, and “Give it To God,” which boasts the refrain, “Baby can you reach my standards — they are high, you might need a stepladder.”
SassyBlack has excelled in soul, but she sees herself as part of a larger constellation of Seattle’s psychedelic artists, past and present.
“Thinking about artists like Jimi Hendrix, Shabazz Palaces, Digable Planets, even the concept of grunge,” she says, “these sounds are very trippy and psychedelic. I love being from Seattle — I don’t think we realize how trippy we all are.”