*Are you a Ledisi fan and ever wonder what’s on her mind? What’s she up to? Well, in this exclusive interview, with EURweb associate Zon D’ Amour, the 8x GRAMMY Nominee discusses her sixth studio album The Truth, her recent Hello Beautiful Interludes concert special for TVOne as well as advice for being your best self.
EUR: You’re known for your amazing live performances. What made your Hello Beautiful Interludes concert different from past performances? Why film this show in particular?
Ledisi: TVOne invited me to be apart of their Interludes series which was a complete honor because it’s vey rare for artists these days to get an hour long show to be able to display their talents and give the back story behind their music. It was filmed in Philadelphia and it was an intimate stripped down setting; just my microphone, my band and me. I was able to share parts of my life that I rarely discuss like my childhood. It was an amazing way to showcase my latest album.
EUR: In addition to your eight Grammy nominations, you’re written a book and performed several times at the White House for the Obama’s. How do you continue to raise the bar and feel fulfilled as an artist when you’ve had such successes?
Ledisi: Success to me is having longevity and making my parents proud. As well as being able to naturally grow into myself and gain new fans every album and every performance. It’s never ending; there’s always more to learn and more to gain personally and as far as my music catalog. I’m always adding to the history of who I am and working towards earning my “legend” status one day.
EUR: What are some of your personal and professional goals for the New Year?
Ledisi: One of the things I want to continue to do is mentor upcoming artists. I’ve had the honor of doing master classes and teaching students at the Berkley College of Music and The Duke Ellington School of the Arts. I’ve also been doing plays in LA. I want to continue expressing my self as an actress. I may write more books. There’s always something on the horizon but I love holding it in until it’s done and ready for the world. I’ll be using social media to make more announcements. To tell my fans thank you and to share more pieces of myself for them to explore, critique and enjoy.
EUR: In your recent performances, music videos and even on your album cover we’re seeing a more sensual side of Ledisi. On The Truth you open up about ending a relationship and evolving as a woman. What’s your advice for your listeners who believe they have it together professionally but are longing for a relationship?
Ledisi: What I’ve learned about myself at this stage in life is that I have to be accountable for who and what I allow in my life.
When you focus on you and your confidence, whatever you desire will eventually come to you. Maybe you haven’t seen it yet but God will reveal it in the right time. You also have to look at your standards; are they too low or too high? Sometimes when you like someone and you want to be in a relationship you may have to make the first move.
I’ve found the friendships and relationships that I wanted came to me when I was focusing heavily on me. I wasn’t looking for it at all. But I constantly have to remind myself to stay in that mindset.
Oftentimes when you get into a relationship you loose yourself and you don’t want to do that either. Focus on what makes you happy, have standards but be open to what comes your way.
EUR: Many artists like to maintain a level of mystery. By allowing yourself to be so vulnerable with your fans in your music, have you ever thought such openness could hurt your brand?
Ledisi: I don’t focus on the negative aspect of things; I let other people do that because criticism is inevitable. I’m always focused on the positive. People love sincerity. The only thing I struggle with is making time for me so that I can do the things that make me happy. I have a life beyond music that includes my friends and family. I don’t feed into the negative aspect of the industry. People may not like a lipstick that I have on, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to wear it! I don’t have time to please everyone that takes too much energy. I can only do what I’m called to do then say this is why I did it but sometimes I don’t have to explain myself. I can just release music because that’s what I’ve chosen to do. These days, I think we explain too much. We should let the listeners have their own opinions because it’s art and everyone’s interpretation is different.
EUR: In an interview with Tavis Smiley, you said “You have to look in the mirror and dissect where the pain is coming from and heal from that.” Can you elaborate on how that practice helps you to become a better person?
Ledisi: I journal and read stories of other people that have been in my line of work. I’m always looking for powerful women to look up to, I study their journeys. I try to look outside of myself so I’m not in my own head all the time. Prayer is the meat and potatoes for me. It helps me deal with whatever I’m going through. As well as having a great mom, she usually has the right answers. I also have friends who put my life in perspective. They remind me that I’m doing something I love and that I can’t give up on it.
When you look in the mirror, you have to love yourself. You have to find the good things about you. The first thing we all do is pinpoint the bad things about ourselves and that’s exhausting. You have to give yourself some credit for all the good things you’ve done.
Of course I’m not perfect, there are some things about me that I want to change but I make it happen instead of talking about it. You have to make lists, create a vision board; write it down, post it some where that you can see it everyday then work towards accomplishing your goals.