♫ Ledisi – Pieces of Me
After captivating many of our hearts with beautiful albums and inspiring tunes like “Alright” and “Higher Than This”, Ledisi dropped her latest album Pieces of Me and is getting ready to headline her very own US tour. Since the beginning of her 16 year career, she has released two albums before joining forces with a major label, performed at one of President Barack Obama’s birthday celebrations, received four Grammy nominations and has performed during many tributes including the 2009 Soul Train Awards Icon Tribute to Chaka Khan.
With her US tour starting later this month, CONCRETELOOP.COM had the opportunity to briefly sit down with the soul singer and talk about her journey, who she admires most musically as well as what we can expect from her upcoming performances.
Concreteloop: What was your first reaction when you heard that you’d be performing for President Barack Obama?
Ledisi: I was really shocked. I was excited at the same time. I was able to bring my entire band and perform a couple of song. There was a room full of people. They were awesome! And he loved it! So I’m happy. I’m very happy about that.
Concreteloop: How do you feel about people telling you how you should look or what you should sing as an artist?
Ledisi: This journey has not been easy. It’s been rough, but I’m not going to change to fit what you want. I have to be me or it won’t work. And if it sounds stupid or looks stupid, it won’t be natural like, ‘That was great, Led. Next!’ (laughs) That’s why I’m able to sing. People can relate. What you see now is what you’ll see on stage just with more make-up, a nicer outfit and some heels.
Concreteloop: How long did it take you to complete your album?
Ledisi: It took 8 months to start writing and six months to finish. The last two songs were “Pieces of Me” and “BGTY (Be Good to Yourself)”. All the writers were really important. I opened up to different writers which was fun. John [Legend] gave me a song. I worked with Claude Kelly, Chuck Harmony and myself, we wrote “Pieces of Me”. “Shine” was Johnny BLK, Claude Kelly & myself. Salaam Remi and I wrote “BGTY”…John Legend…Rex Rideout, who I’ve worked with on all my albums. KayGee (of Naughty by Nature) and Buelah were on the track “Coffee”.
Concreteloop: What would you say is your favorite song from the album and why?
Ledisi: I love “Hate Me” because it’s celebrating the other woman that’s more confident. She’s strong, she knows it! She knows he’s gonna keep calling and see I love that! But I think we [women] are not always brave to be that all the time. When I wrote it, I asked Rex, ‘What would a man say?’ I wanted to say what a man would say and be that. I started on the verses but he helped me restructure it. I wanted to envision what would be powerful where a man would like the song and women would the song. I think on tour that’s gonna be a big song and a big moment of the show.
♫ Ledisi – Coffee
Concreteloop: Which singers do you admire most, both old and new school?
I love Luther Vandross’ phrasing and singing and his stage presence. I love Tina Turner’s voice. I love the energy that she gives out to her audience, her female audience in particular. Patti LaBelle. I love her freedom. She’s never intimidated by anybody standing next to her. She’s going to sing out every second. Chaka Khan. She’s like the black version of Stevie Nicks, who I love. I love Yolanda Adams, she’s fearless in gospel music praising. She doesn’t have to do much…Bettye LaVette. Out of the new folk I love Beyonce. I love that she does what she does. Who else do I love? Jasmine Sullivan, Fantasia…Fantasia’s one of my favorites because of the church thing. Love that! Out of the guys Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra…there’s so many old school. Out of the new, there are so many!
Concreteloop: Lastly, how would you like to be remembered
I want to be remembered as a singer who enjoyed her work. She gave back and she loved and live – her work ethic was really hard and she never gave up on her dream. And she just sustained herself very strongly and very gracefully.
Right on, Ledisi! Her fifth studio album Pieces of Me is in stores now! As far as her tour goes, her Pieces of Me Tour kicks off on October 20th at the Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, NC.
MUSIC VIDEO: “SO INTO YOU”
Check out the visuals for Ledisi’s latest video for “So Into You”. In the Erica D. Hayes-directed video, the songwriter keeps it classy in her man’s white shirt as she sings about the undying joy she has whenever she’s with him. Cute video for such a feel good song!
VISIT LEDISI.COM/EVENTS FOR MORE TOUR DATES!