Solange Knowles’ widely-acclaimed album “A Seat at the Table” earned the songstress her first No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart in October 2016. But what you might not know, is that her Grammy-nominated song “Cranes in the Sky” (Best R&B Performance) was inspired by her experiences in Miami.
In a cover Q&A for “Interview” published Tuesday, Solange poured her heart out to her older sister Beyoncé, speaking about her challenges as an artist and young mother and the inspiration behind her latest album.
“A Seat at the Table” was meticulously produced in three years, Solange explains in the interview. Only one song in the 21-track ablum was not written in that three-year period: “Cranes in the Sky.”
The song chronicles futile (drinking, shopping, sleeping, sex) attempts to avoid an issue: “Well it’s like cranes in the sky/Sometimes I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds/Yeah, it’s like cranes in the sky/Sometimes I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds.”
Turns out Beyoncé didn’t know the meaning behind its title.
The song is an analogy of the country’s reluctance to confront “all of these ugly things that are staring us in the face,” Solange said. But she also described to Beyoncé how in the 2000s, “Cranes in the Sky” was a metaphor for her own life, inspired by Miami’s commotion.
I used to write and record a lot in Miami during that time, when there was a real estate boom in America, and developers were developing all of this new property. There was a new condo going up every ten feet.
You recorded a lot there as well, and I think we experienced Miami as a place of refuge and peace. We weren’t out there wilin’ out and partying. I remember looking up and seeing all of these cranes in the sky. They were so heavy and such an eyesore, and not what I identified with peace and refuge.
I remember thinking of it as an analogy for my transition—this idea of building up, up, up that was going on in our country at the time, all of this excessive building, and not really dealing with what was in front of us. And we all know how that ended. That crashed and burned.
For more from Solange’s interview with her sister Beyoncé: http://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/solange/#_.