Ledisi is all about growth and bringing back the sound that made fans love her on her new album, Turn Me Loose.
With critics and fans buzzing about its soul-stirring lyrics and lush production, Ledisi’s latest album, Turn Me Loose, opened at her highest ever on the Billboard charts. But, no one is happier about its success than those whom the singer affectionately calls “Ledheads,” the core followers who have been supporting her since her underground days in the 90’s.
“They were mad about Lost & Found, child,” she told S2S, referring to her 2008 Grammy-nominated CD. “You didn’t see all those e-mails. They were like, ‘This sounds all smoothed out.’ It was a mess. They’re now so happy about Turn Me Loose; it’s not even funny. They’re like, ‘Now, you sound like you.’”
Although her previous effort catapulted her into the mainstream, the singer admits that its introspective yearning was more a reflection of her feelings at that time than her true personality. So, at the behest of her label, she switched things up this go-round by enlisting a new stylist and marquee producers like Raphael Saadiq and Carvin & Ivan. Take one glance at several of the resulting song—“Everything Changes,” “Love Never Changes,” “Goin Thru Changes,” “Them Changes”— and a theme quickly emerges.
“Saying the word over and over again, I don’t know. Sometimes people need to hear things over and over again until they get it,” Ledisi explained with a laugh. “I’m like everyone else in this world where we don’t like to change, but I’ve learned if I open up to different ideas, I’ll learn more about myself. So, I went ahead and kept changing. Tried it and found out that I love it. It’s me.”
Yet, this is still Mrs. Young’s daughter, the one with Oakland and New Orleans roots who once slept on friends’ floors while struggling for visibility. Fortunately, that type of grinding often makes for the best concerts, and Ledisi’s church-service-meets-juke-joint live performances have been known to precede her. A recent show at Washington, D.C.’s National Harbor brought out over 5,000 people in the rain.
“How I am on Turn Me Loose is exactly who I am all the time, but no one ever hears that unless they go to a show. If you see the cover, I have a microphone. That’s me being on stage. You remember hearing people say, ‘You gotta go see her live, though.’ I get that all the time,” she said.
It’s true. These words could never compare to that voice. To find out when you can experience it live and in person, visit Ledisi.com for upcoming tour dates.
— Donya Blaze