*LeToya Luckett, a former member of Destiny’s Child, is back after a 7-year music hiatus, and her “Back 2 Life” – the title track to her new solo LP – reached an audience of more than 5 million on radio last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” says Luckett of being back on the promotional circuit after a seven-year hiatus from music. “But I’ve missed being on the road, so this is fun for me.”
The Grammy Award-winning singer and actress just released her third studio album, and the 13 track “Back 2 Life” project has already given Luckett her first top 10 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs tally with the title track, now at No. 6 on the chart.
Luckett recently spoke to Billboard’s Gail Mitchell about her new album, and she dishes on playing Dionne Warwick in an upcoming biopic.
Take a look at some of the takeaways from their chat below.
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Her mindset while recording the new album: I wanted people to get to know LeToya in a different way. I’ve always been very safe, laid-back and chill. Now I wanted to be more personable and relatable, more honest. Of course, I wanted to keep it R&B, but the production is very open, not a whole lot of clutter with various instruments. That’s different than my first two albums. “Back 2 Life” is probably something I would have never thought to do before. In the lyrics, I sing about having a hard time moving on from a relationship — and come right out of the gate saying this might be my problem, not yours. We’re quick to blame others a lot of times in those situations but this time I wanted to do some self-reflecting. I was willing to try everything. I didn’t want to be stuck to one thing.
Inspiration behind the project’s movie miniseries: I felt that people needed a visual. Remember the old-school days when Michael Jackson would come out with a video? He would do like a whole world premiere. And it would be a movie, not just a regular music video. I wanted to get back to that. This was a story that needed to be told; something that I had gone through and knew people could relate to. Nobody had seen that side of LeToya before: angry, upset, vulnerable and emotional. I prayed on it and went for it.
The miniseries’ third and final episode: It will be the song “In the Name.” And that’s what the whole series is about: the good, bad and ugly of love. Both of the people on-screen in this relationship love hard. Are they on the same page about everything all the time? No. That’s the other thing I wanted to showcase in the miniseries: communication and how vital it is to work through tough situations. I don’t want to give anything away about the new episode, which comes out next month. All I’m going to say is that we do the craziest things in the name of love [Laughs].
Her special chemistry with Ludacris: That’s my brother. I played him the record all the way down and asked him to get on whichever song spoke to him. He chose “Grey,” telling me this is the one I can’t stop listening to, I love the vibe. And man, when he sent his verse back I was like what? Yes! He always kills it.
You can read the full interview here over at Billboard.com.
Being hand-picked to portray Dionne Warwick: Dionne reached out to my team, saying she wanted to meet with me. So I flew to New York — because who doesn’t meet with Ms. Dionne Warwick when she calls for you? You just come. So I sat down with her and she offered me the role right there on the spot. I’m honored she would even think of me and so excited about portraying such a phenomenal woman and icon. We’ve already been working one-on-one in the studio on her songs. Just being in the studio with her, I was like am I here? Is this real life? But she’s so cool.