Few voices have earned the reverence rendered to R&B/Soul maestra Ledisi and, after one listen to those powerhouse pipes, it’s easy to see why.
As if garnering praise from industry contemporaries and even legends like Patti Labelle, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, and The Clark Sisters wasn’t enough, the 12-time Grammy nominee has also thrilled audiences across the globe for over 20 years with hits like ‘Pieces of Me,’ ‘Goin’ Thru Changes,’ ‘I Blame You,’ ‘High,’ and more.
Now, nearly three years after ruling R&B charts with her last album, ‘Let Love Rule,’ the Urban A/C Queen is royally blessing her legion of fans with ‘Anything For You’ – the kick off single from her yet-titled, soon-to-be-released ninth studio album.
Ahead of its arrival, Ledisi exclusively sat down with That Grape Juice to dish on the new project, venturing into acting, and so much more.
*Ledisi Shouts Out That Grape Juice*
Look inside to see the interview:
That Grape Juice: How has quarantining been going for you?
Ledisi: Well, it’s been great. I’ve missed performing, but other than that it makes you look at what you have going on and finish those projects. It’s what’s necessary right now.
That Grape Juice: Absolutely. Also, we recently learned of the passing of legendary Soul singer Bill Withers [click here to read more]. We know you had a special connection to him. Do you mind sharing a fond memory?
Ledisi: I honestly would rather keep those memories to myself.
But, I will say he was funny and loving like an uncle. He was also a big philanthropist and helped a lot of youth. That’s what I think of when I think about him – all the stuff he gave to others.
That Grape Juice: We certainly understand. Let’s talk about your new single – ‘Anything For You.’ Can you tell us why you felt like it was the best single to kick off the next project?
Ledisi: I wanted to do it the right way, meaning bring back that old soul sound that Prince courted. You know, that 90’s D’Angelo feel but still be myself in it.
I really love Soul music and wanted [my new music] to look and feel the ways that would make people feel good. It’s [conceptually] all the people I love in one song and it works perfectly.
That Grape Juice: With the upcoming project being your 9th studio effort, how would you say your creative process has evolved?
Ledisi: I have less worry about wanting to be on the radio or seen as popular. I just want to make quality music that reaches everyone. It has to reach me first and be authentic, however.
I’m okay in my lane and the choices I’ve made and I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone.
That Grape Juice: What was the personal or professional turning point for you to begin feeling that confidence? Was there a specific incident that catalyzed it?
Ledisi: No, it wasn’t. It was just different experiences and seeing the response of the fans. I realized I have seen the different age groups of my fan base. It’s not just one fan base like I thought it was.
It’s broader than that. The kids love me, but I didn’t know that at first.
That Grape Juice: Now, as with many interviews, we have a segment called “Five From Fans” where we’ve received five questions from our readers for you.
- TGJ-1: Over the course of your career you’ve done tributes to some amazing artists (i.e. Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Teena Marie, Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, etc.). Who among today’s artists do you think could tribute you?
Ledisi: That’s hard to say for today. There are some great singers out there, but if I had to choose I’d say Cynthia Erivo, Fantasia, Jazmine Sullivan, and Jennifer Hudson.
- TGJ-2: Do you feel you are underrated?
Ledisi: I don’t get into that because I like my position. God planned it that way. I’m where I’m supposed to be. Plus, underrated is just a matter of what one feels is “success.” That’s the individual opinion about what success is and I have my own.
- TGJ-3: Who are some artists people would be surprised to know you listen to?
Ledisi: Too $hort (laughs)! I really like Chris Brown and Rihanna, of course. I love Rihanna!
- TGJ-4: Have you ever heard a song by another artist that you wished were yours?
Ledisi: I wish I wrote ‘I Want You’ by Marvin Gaye because he keeps it simple.
- TGJ-5: You’ve done so much in your career, but what is one thing you feel you have left to accomplish in the industry?
Ledisi: I never stop dreaming. I want to write more books, act more, even write [TV show] pilots. Anything in entertainment, anything that inspires, I want to do more of that.
That Grape Juice: Thanks for playing! Finally, beyond the album, what else does 2020 have in store for you?
Ledisi: Well, I’ll definitely be doing more acting on television, which is going to be cool. I don’t know what else, but I know, it’s endless. Even in this “new normal,” I still feel it’s infinite possibilities.
Ledisi’s latest single, ‘Anything For You’ is available on all platforms now!