Review of R&B charts of late boasts an alarming diva deficiency. A circumstance all the more alarming when just a few years ago so many showed promise. Arguably, none more than LeToya Luckett. The comeback kid, whose tale (reportedly) told of triumph, tragedy, betrayal, and rebirth, seemed to finally have the stars aligned in her order when suddenly, it seemed no more.
Such is a circumstance the young singer is no means unfamiliar with. For, some say it was luck or maybe destiny that this Houston-bred beauty would find her star initially rising with the most successful girl group of all time. As fate would have it, Luckett aligned with Pop megastar Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Latavia Roberson to ascend to the top of charts as Destiny’s Child – a fierce R&B foursome with heavenly looks, voices, and moves to match. But, as the 2000s rolled on, the very rocket that launched her into stardom ultimately left her behind in what came as an unceremonious ousting from the group. Accompanied by a host of headlines citing tension, contention, and Matthew Knowles‘ interventions as the cause of dissension, the remaining group members still rose above to find themselves topping charts again while Luckett and Roberson stayed behind.
Trying their hand as the group Angel – the two later disbanded finding Luckett at square one yet again. That is, until 2006 when Lady Luck tore up the charts with ‘Torn’ – the ‘You Are Everything’-sampled R&B groove that obviously struck a chord with listeners as it propelled the singer’s debut solo album ‘Letoya’ to the top of the charts. Critics hailed the underdog the champion as she made her rounds performing the hit single. And, while its follow-up ‘She Don’t’…well…didn’t, Ms. Luckett’s debut was still widely received as a success, earning the singer her first (solo) platinum plaque.
On the other hand, her 2009 sophomore album ‘Lady Love’ didn’t receive much love from record buyers. Despite boasting an all star collaboration list (Ludacris, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo) and a more mature sound, Luckett’s gamble at “refined” showed promise but quickly fell on deaf ears. And though shortly reigning at #1 on Billboard’s R&B charts, the singer, who at the time was very vocal about her label’s mishandling of the project, also cited the length of time between albums as the blame for its failure. The past weeks have seen the singer work her way back into the spotlight, taking promotion into her own hands. And, with album #3 reportedly due this year…
That Grape Juice wants to know – who (or what’s) to blame? Are the shortcomings a musical misstep or a mix of marketing mishaps? The talent is certainly there and, unlike so many artists, was clearly being cultured. The growth in vocal showings alone from album 1 to album 2 was noteworthy. Add on an all-star team for production (on album 1 and 2) and killer looks, one would think the ‘Regret’ singer had the perfect recipe for success. But alas, such was not the case.
Now you weigh in: Has Luckett’s luck run out or will destiny see her on top again? In other words:
Product vs. Promotion? What’s to blame?