Singer Ledisi has been through her ups and downs in the music business, at one point considering leaving the business altogether. But on her seventh studio album The Truth, Ledisi says she’s feeling great about herself, her music and her life. The album is almost a concept release, a tight 10 tracks about love, heartbreak and acceptance.
“I had a big breakup and instead of doing sad slow songs I wanted things to be uplifted,” she told Skip Murphy, in for Tom Joyner this week. “I wanted people that its sometimes better to let go I didn’t want to live in denial I wanted my life to be greater and I had some great things going on but I wasn’t enjoying it and the truth was I wasn’t happy in my personal life. So the album became my audio journal.”
Ledisi, whose given name means ‘to bring forth’ in the Yoruba language, is noticeably slimmer and has changed from shorter red locs to a longer, blonder style. She says that after her breakup, she started checking things off her personal “bucket” list and that one of those things was getting in better shape.
“I decided I wanted to do some working out. I like heels and I like hip-hop and I decided I wanted to take this ‘Heels and Hip-Hop’ class that I’d avoided for three years I went and there were girls curvier than me in there getting it. I was like, whoah! Other women inspired me to do it.”
“I’ve always been into dancing since I was eight years old and I went back to that all that bucket list of things that I loved. I hate the treadmill, I hate working out but that was a great workout for me and I incorporated it in my show. I started looking in the mirror, got a nutritionist and started figuring out why am I emotional eating, all that stuff. I started letting go. People think I did it for the album but I didn’t. You have to fix the inside before you can fix the outside.”
Ledisi started out more in the jazz vein but has moved into soul, R&B and even pop in the last several years. She’s become much more visible, performing regularly on awards shows and picking up several Grammy nominations along the way. Her last release Pieces of Me was her highest-selling project yet. Although her career has been a steady climb upward, she’s happy with the way things have turned out.
“I wanted to quit [at one time] but now I’m happy. I know my lane. I’m not just supposed to be old school, I’m supposed to be new school, too. l love the way I look. I love my body now I’m having fun just showing off all my sides. I think every woman should. I sing life and I sing songs that are relatable. I just want to thank my audience for growing with me and wrapping their arms around me. Whatever box you want to put me in, that’s great. That’s what albums are for.”