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D'Angelo Hits Studio With Producer Mark Ronson

Singer admits to 'Rolling Stone' that he doesn't 'get out much,' mostly listens to old records

August 30, 2010 1:16 PM ET

Is D’Angelo’s James River the neo-soul Chinese Democracy? The follow-up to 2000’s multi-platinum Voodoo has been under construction for years. Billboard reports that producer Mark Ronson is going into the studio with the reclusive singer, but can’t say how close the album is to completion. "I know he's been working nonstop,” Ronson says. “It's not like they've been sitting on their asses." For our recent feature on Ronson, Rolling Stone spoke with D'Angelo and  learned (a smidge!) about what he's been up to. “I don’t really listen to new shit,” he said by phone from Virginia, where he was born. “I’m digging in the crates mostly.” (Newer albums that D’Angelo has been listening to, according to Ronson? Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, both of which Ronson produced.) One band he’s fallen in love with is ‘60s rock foursome Black Merda. “They’re fucking awesome,” D'Angelo says, comparing them to Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys: “Dude even sounds like Jimi.” About James River, which carries a tentative 2010 release date, all he'll say is, “We’re working on it. I want it to be complete.” And what does he do for fun when he’s not tinkering? “I don’t get out much,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t know if you’ve heard that!”

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