Andre Cymone - "Hallelujah" (premiere)

Photo: Katherine Copeland Anderso

Prince's childhood friend and bassist came back with socially-conscious rock in 2014, but with his new EP, addresses America's race issues head-on.

Andre Cymone's place in history -- as a childhood friend of Prince who was also his early bassist, to say nothing of his own unique solo career -- is absolutely secure. For Cymone, however, that doesn't mean he's comfortable.

Following the release of his hit 1985 solo set A.C. (with the Prince-penned number "The Dance Electric"), Cymone turned his talents towards production, working on albums with the likes of Evelyn "Champagne" King, Adam Ant, and eventually Jody Watley. Yet Cymone wasn't one to stay silent, and in 2012, started putting out songs that talked about Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin, and other issues that were defining America's racial identity in new and sometimes horrifying ways. Dropping the synth-stylings of his '80s efforts in favor of clear-cut rock guitars, 2014 saw Cymone finally put out his fourth solo effort, titled simply The Stone.

Now, still responding to a shifting, dividing nation in the middle of one of the most contentious election years in history, Cymone is dropping a fiery new EP titled Black Man in America on 30 September 2016. He partners with PopMatters to premiere a new song from the set, "Hallelujah".

Speaking to PopMatters about the song itself, he notes how "'Hallelujah' was a song I heard written by Leonard Cohen but recorded by Jeff Buckley a couple years back. I listen to it and thought 'Wow, I could flip that kinda the way Hendrix flipped some of those Dylan songs.' So I gave it a shot and I love the way it came out."

In describing the song's place on Black Man in America, Cymone tells us that "It's a bridge between all the brutality and injustice. It's the redemption song, a celebration of the power of music and how music can speak directly to the heart."

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