A fearless, outspoken, "Queen of neo-soul", Erykah Badu's velvet voice and eccentric personality mark her out as a modern soul diva that never fails to baffle, mesmerise and divide in equal measure. A natural performer who grew up singing in her mother's theatre group from the age of four, she changed her "slave name" of Erica Wright, taking Kah - meaning inner self - and Badu as a reference to the jazz-skat sound. She was working as a teacher when she got her big break opening for D'Angelo, who spotted her talent and recruited her to duet on a cover of Marvin Gaye's Precious Love for the soundtrack to comedy film High School High. Drawing comparisons with Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, debut album Baduizm (1997) shot to Number 2 in the US on the back of the Grammy Award-winning hit single On & On, and is regarded as a landmark soul record for its smooth, rootsy experimentation, bassy grooves and impassioned social conscience. Part of the musical collective Soulquarians, which includes The Roots, Mos Def and Common, Badu suffered from writer's block before reaching Number 3 with third album Worldwide Underground (2003) and dissecting the plight of African-American society on the experimental and political New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) (2008) and sister album New Amerkah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) (2010). She has also collaborated with Macy Gray, Wu Tang Klan and Stephen Marley and has a child with Andre 3000 from Outkast.