Will Oldham interviews R Kelly

Bonnie "Prince" Billy's obsession with the prince of R&B continues apace as he chat to him for Interview magazine.


Words by: Charlie Jones

Will Oldham has appeared in R Kelly’s deranged opera Trapped in the Closet and covered several R Kelly songs, including _World’s Greatest, above), but here’s a fab chat between two closer-than-one-might-initially-think creative minds from the online home of Interview magazine.

OLDHAM: From the records, one gets the sense that you have something like a real life. But I would imag­ine it’s kind of hard for you to have that. I mean, you can’t just walk around on the street, right?

KELLY: No, but I pick my spots, man. I pick my spots. I can get on people’s nerves, so they can get so used to me that they ain’t lookin’ at me that way no more. [laughs] So I got my little spots where I go play basket­ball. They’re used to me there. I know where I can go eat. But I don’t just randomly go to the mall—unless I just feel like I need some attention and I need some love. Then I go to the mall.

OLDHAM: So you’ve got people in your life you can talk to and places you can go and just be . . . free.

KELLY: [pauses] I wouldn’t say it’s that . . . It’s not that easy, but, yes, when I’m ready to do it, I can. I still feel like I’m alone at times—even if I’m in the midst of a million people. Because no one—including me— understands my mind, creatively. I haven’t really been formally introduced to my gift yet. I feel like I’m still on the runway.