After two decades recording and performing, Meshell Ndegeocello no longer has any illusions about the way music publicity works. "You need those generalizations to create a marketing scheme," the celebrated bassist and songwriter says, "and it's hard to make a generalization about me."
Ndegeocello spoke those words before a live audience on May 30 in Los Angeles, where she her band gave a "secret show" at the legendary Village Studios for about 150 fans. NPR's Arun Rath was there, and after a set that included songs from the new album Comet, Come to Me and some classics she hasn't played in years, he joined her on stage to talk about how old-school hip-hop, political slogans and record label drama have influenced her music. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and listen to selections from the concert below.