Picks and Pans Review: Catching Up with ... Erykah Badu

UPDATED 03/31/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 03/31/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT

The neo-soul priestess, 37, returns with New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War), her first full-length album since 2000.

ON HOW SHE SPENT HER TIME OFF I started a [supplementary] school in my home based on home-school principles. The school has seven children [including son Seven, 10, and daughter Puma, 3]. I became a second-degree Reiki practitioner. I worked on my herb garden, and I harvested so many herbs that I started an herb lab, and I [got] a holistic health practitioner's license.

ON BECOMING COMPUTER-SAVVY My son saw me singing songs into my phone and putting them on my voice mail. He goes, "Mom, you don't have to do that. All you have to do is use a microphone on your computer and open up this program GarageBand." I began doing that and wrote songs so quickly.

ON HER SON'S MUSICAL TALENT Seven and I practice our electric guitars together. He plays upright bass in his orchestra at school. He took piano [lessons] for four years. And he has a beautiful voice. He probably has the same eclectic tastes that his father [Badu's ex-boyfriend André 3000 of OutKast] has. I would say his father is all in his DNA!

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