D’Angelo was once hailed as the next Marvin Gaye. Then, after his chiseled body threatened to overshadow his music, he vanished into addiction. So what is he doing singing his heart out in a Pentecostal church in Stockholm? And how are his abs? In his first interview in twelve years, GQ’s Amy Wallace witnesses D’Angelo’s ecstatic return to the stage and learns about the trials and tribulations he’s faced—from addiction, and feeling pressure about his image, to ballooning up to 300 pounds to spite those who admired him. For the full article, please visit:http://www.gq.com/entertainment/music/201206/dangelo-gq-june-2012-interview

D’Angelo on battling his substance abuse during his hiatus: “I didn’t really think I had a problem like that,” he says, taking a hit off a Newport. “I felt like, you know, all I got to do is clean up and I’ll be fine. Just get in the studio and I’ll be fucking fine.”

…on his arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover officer: “It was just me making a stupid decision, a wrong turn, on the wrong night. I’m not the role-model motherfucker. Look at all the shit that I’ve been in.”

…on an instance with a female fan: “One time I got mad when a female threw money at me onstage, and that made me feel fucked-up, and I threw the money back at her,” he says. “ I was like, ‘I’m not a stripper.’

…on Madonna:
When Madonna turned 39, she asked him to sing “Happy Birthday” at her party. One press report had her sitting on his lap and French-kissing him. In fact, two sources say that ultimately D rebuffed her advances at another gathering not long after. At that event, the sources say, Madonna walked over and told a woman sitting next to D, “I think you’re in my seat.” The woman got up. Madonna sat down and told him, “I’d like to know what you’re thinking.” To which D replied, “I’m thinking you’re rude.”

Chris Rock on black celebrities: “Black stardom is rough, dude,” Chris Rock tells me when I reach him to talk about D. “I always say Tom Hanks is an amazing actor and Denzel Washington is a god to his people. If you’re a black ballerina, you represent the race, and you have responsibilities that go beyond your art. How dare you just be excellent?”

Questlove, D’Angelo’s former bandleader, on calling him after Amy Winehouse’s death: “’D’s the first person I called,’ Questlove recalls. And I was just honest, like, ‘Look, man, I’m sorry. I know you’re thinking I’m avoiding you like the plague.’ I just said plain and simple, ‘Man, there was a period in which it seemed like you were hell-bent on following the footsteps of our idols, and the one thing you have yet to follow them in was death.’”

Questlove on D’Angelo’s plans to escape stardom: “On the last day of the eight-month [Voodoo] tour, Questlove says D’Angelo told him, ‘Yo man, I cannot wait until this fucking tour is over. I’m going to go in the woods, drink some hooch, grow a beard, and get fat.’ Questlove thought he was joking. ‘I was like, ‘You’re a funny guy.’ And then it started to happen. That’s how much he wanted to distance himself.”

Questlove on self-defeating black artists: “Questlove has a theory about what happens to black genius—what he calls a ‘crazy psychological kind of stoppage that prevents them from following through. A sort of self-saboteur disorder.’

Photo credit: Gregory Harris/GQ.

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