Prior to Super Bowl XLVII, social media websites were full of “I can’t wait to see Beyoncé perform at half time” messages. Half time arrived and the most shocking thing happened, a Destiny’s Child reunion with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Besides that amazing performance, inquiring minds want to know “What is Michelle Williams up to?” N’DIGO got a chance to chat with Williams about the Super Bowl Performance, a new solo album and her recent role in the Broadway musical Fela!
N’DIGO: What was it like performing with Destiny’s Child again at the Super Bowl? How did that make you feel?
Michelle Williams: It was beautiful, it was absolutely amazing.We enjoy being in each other’s company still, a lot of people don’t know we still keep in touch, we hang out, we go out to dinner together, we go to each other’s homes and this time we just took that same energy and put it back on stage with each other, I mean we had so much fun up there.
MW: I know! I am so excited to be coming home. I’m so excited when I’m able to be on stage at home to encourage my friends, family and young kids. Like you said I’m from Rockford, so If I can be on stage, that means you can do whatever it is that’s in your heart to do as well.I know you’re excited, you’re on a 16 city tour for Fela! ; I mean you’re from Rockford, IL so how does it feel to be in Chicago? That has to be exciting.
Yes exactly, so tell me how did you land a role in Fela!? How did that come about?
MW: I had auditioned for another production that Bill T. Jones, the director of Fela! was directing. I met him and then I got that phone call months later, saying I want you to audition for this production, can you join us for Fela! right now? And I said oh absolutely.
Ok you’re Sandra; tell me more about your role as Sandra.
MW: Sandra is Fela’s teacher and lover ok! Women we got to teach these men, we got to teach them that it’s ok to be passionate. She saw some good potential in Fela and she knew that he had every right to feel what he was feeling. He felt corrupted and mistreated in Nigeria but it’s like, okay, I want you to get educated on something before you go out here talking. People will take advantage of you and manipulate you when you don’t know and you’re not educated, so that’s why they say once you’re educated no one can take that from you.
Prior to the tour, did you listen to any of his music?
MW: I did, for the last five years I have been studying Fela. A good friend of mines was such a fan of Fela and he said you got to listen to this and watch these videos. So it was weird when I got the phone call for Fela, I was like God you are amazing, you had me studying this for a reason.
What makes his story different from any other artist? Why do you think it was important to bring Fela! to Broadway?
MW: Why? Because he is a gem that needed to be discovered!
What’s your favorite scene from Fela!? I haven’t seen it yet.
MW: I love the second act and then those scenes that I’m not in like yellow fever, those babies are up there dancing their hearts out. I stand on the side of the stage almost in tears, I’m like look at what our bodies can do when the drums come, and it’s an amazing spirit that comes through there when those dancers get to dancing on stage. Oh it’s beautiful, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
What’s it like traveling from city to city and working with the cast of Fela!?
MW: We’re like family, a couple of us went to dinner last night after the show, and we’re here in Washington, DC. When I was in New Orleans for Super Bowl, I was like I cannot wait to get back to my Fela! family. Everybody is so nice, it’s just amazing.
Besides FELA what other projects can we expect from you this year?
MW: Well my new album, I’m so excited about it. I’m newly signed to Light Records the world’s leading gospel label and I’m so excited about it.
I love gospel music.
MW: I love all types of music but there is nothing like what gospel music can do for you.
Definitely, do you have a favorite gospel artist?
MW: I love Kim Burrell. I think as technical as she is, she is so anointed. I love Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett and you know who else I really adore, Kierra Sheard.
Be sure to check out Michelle Williams in Fela! at the Arie Crown Theatre, February 19- 23, 2013. For more information, or to purchase tickets for Fela! please visit http://www.felaonbroadway.com