Ledisi

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One of the most prolific, beautiful vocalists in the urban R&B genre, Ledisi blesses time shared with Terrill about her new release “Lost & Found” & the many various projects in the mist of her growing career!! 

TERRILL:     Hey guys, check it out! This is the Urban Music Scene in the house or better yet, on Cyberspace – this young lady brought to us an album that most of you should have heard about , “Lost and Found.” Given to you courtesy by the one and only R&B powerhouse vocalists – Ledisi. What’s up girl? 

LEDISI:          What’s up, how are you doing? 

TERRILL:     Oh I’m doing alright. Just trying to keep it going. What’s happening with you? Where are you at, are you in Los Angeles? 

LEDISI:          Yes, I’m still hanging out here, doing some extra work on the side, promo stuff.  

TERRILL:     You know what, on behalf of the Music Scene, the Urban Music Scene – congratulations for hitting the top 10, R&B Hip Hop Billboard’s chart. And uh, how do you feel about that?  

LEDISI:          I feel good. I just want it to stay there. (laugh). It’s a great, great, great thing with no video, just total word of mouth. It’s just a beautiful thing. I’m very excited about it. I never thought that it would ever happen. 

TERRILL:     Why don’t you talk to us about “Lost and Found,” what influenced you to put together that project? 

LEDISI:          “Lost and Found” – I put together, I guess, you know it came together on it’s on, it found me and um without. It took three years to make and without Rick Rideout having seen my work, I probably would not have ever finished another record because I had, my plan was to quit the business all together, after doing it independently so long and not really seeing the fruits of my label other than the fans being so sweet. It still wasn’t enough to keep me afloat, and I think I wasn’t strictly together back then. So having all these little lessons come along the way, it really put myself back in the limelight and that why it took me three years to make this record and I really took my time. And I let all the producers come to me, meaning I would find them and I’d go oh yeah we oughta hook up and uh just make it happen. So, it the process was wonderful. A wonderful process.  

TERRILL:     Good good. And altogether that album is the bomb, girl. I mean…. 

LEDISI:          I’m glad you like it! 

TERRILL:     I’m digging it, oh I’m digging it. Definitely, we have a review of it on the site and it’s getting a lot of love too. It’s refreshing, because you’re coming with real music. And a couple of times I hear you talking about a little bit on some other outlets. But how would you compare this one to the likes of your two previous albums?  

LEDISI:          Well, it’s completely different and so to compare it, the only that I would say is that it is still me. The other albums are a little more raw and organic. And kind of in your face – you’re gonna love me kind of thing (laugh). Or just full – out in your face. But this record, I’m just much more calmer and secure in myself and I feel like a grown woman on this record. 

TERRILL:     Right. Grown lady, huh? Well I tell you what, let me take you to the grown lady aspect. You took back a track in tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, that just blew the minds of a lot of our readers at the Urban Music Scene. We presented a video, ah a video but you s
ing a song on that tribute, girl that was a powerful song. Do you want to talk to us about it?
 

LEDISI:          Yes, I mean all the tributes or records that you hear me on – They would just fall in my lap. Someone was supposed to sing that song “Devotion” and the other “My Sensitivity” and they were just asking me to do it. Ron Goldstein and Bill Ramon thought it would be a great idea if I came in to finish the song. I had never heard the song before other than on the cartoons. To come in and so I’m like ok, what am I going to do with this and I felt it was too low. So I on the second half of the song, I went to an octave higher and put my own stamp on it. And I had to study it in two different keys – Ella’s key and the key they already recorded it in. So, it was a complete nightmare to learn that song, (laugh) but it was fun when it finally came out and then to be a part of the PBS special was amazing. You had Patty Austin. Quincy Jones is announcing me as his god-daughter and I’m back stage freaking out, “Am I not going to fall in these heels” and just all kind of things going on. But to be able to record it and then to be visually a part of a event like that on PBS was amazing. I still feel that’s one of the highlights of my career. I’m still floored by that and then I can’t believe that I pulled it off so well but inside I was so nervous. (laugh). 

TERRILL:     That’s awesome. That’s very awesome! You know one of the things we all thought was strong is the Ella Fitzgerald tribute album and this latest release “Lost and Found.” But you have this awesome talent to just take a song and just croon it out! You have such a powerful voice and we have many others who suggest that you be comparable to the likes of Ann Nesby, Aretha Franklin, I mean you are a very powerful vocal R&B vocalist. Which of these artists have been an influence to you in your career? 

LEDISI:         Without Aretha – you wouldn’t have Chaka. Or the Sara and Ella and I really love instrumentalists. They’ve inspired me a lot. Miles, Donald Byrd, and Thelonious Monk had huge influences on me but the singers definitely! I mean Dinah Washington, whom I love. Nancy Wilson, I love. Carmen McCray, those women are the people before me who has big influences on me and really truthfully, the biggest influence for me is my mother. Without her listening to all those different things, I would not be introduced to another form of singing or instrumentalist. I didn’t know how much my mom loved these singers until I went back and listened to their records and studied my mother and watch her on stage. To watch her from the outside of a club, anything, I mean my mom – she never gave half of her energy. She always gave 110%, even at rehearsals. She always gave there too, so I learned that from my mother. Like everybody is like your energy is so big. I never half do it, I can’t. There’s no other way around it! 

TERRILL:     I know. I mean it’s just right straight from your voice. The way you carry a song and just how much you put energy into it passionately. You know very passionate singer and we’re just thankful to God that you are just in the game hopefully you will continue to stay I the game. But now you have more than just a singing game, you have an acting game. Tell us about that. 

LEDISI:          (laugh) Yes… I love acting. On stage, it’s not acting except when I do the Broadway. I’ve done Broadway, which of course I’m working with George C. Wolfe and Tommy Kuschner.  “Carolina Change” was my first big tadoo professionally. Oh not really, but on a big level, it’s called “Carolina Change” and that was in New York and there I understudied that show. And then I had a part in the workshop of building the Color Purple, working with Brenda Russell and Gary and Steven Bray and Allen Willis. That was beautiful! They even made a part for me and wanted me to be a part of the show, but I focused primarily on my singing and I auditioned out the blue. I was auditioning a lot for Dream Girls when they were looking for Effie. I was one of the people they kept calling. The casting director referred me to another audition and I found out that I got the part for a George Clooney film, being a blues singer and that was amazing because that was my first film – ever! And it comes out December of this year, 2007! I heard he was looking for someone for that for a year, so I’m very happy about that to start off with George Clooney as my director. (laugh).  

TERRILL:     Wow, that’s awesome. 

LEDISI:          (laugh) Yes! I have a small part and then a big film. 

TERRILL:     That’s right, so you got both worlds rocking right now, the acting.  

LEDISI:          Hello!!

TERRILL:     You know what I’m saying – you’re acting, you’re singing and you’re very charismatic. You know one of these days when we do
another interview, we got to do a face to face because I know just seeing you is a very vibrant but definitely, TUMS – TUMS is The Urban Music Scene. TUMS wishes you the best girl, God bless you, we hope that….
 

LEDISI:          Awe, thank you. 

TERRILL:     Keep it going! 

LEDISI:          You’re such a sweetheart. Thank you for the outlet. Without you, you know – we couldn’t tell the rest of the world, so thank you. 

TERRILL:     Oh anytime, anytime. And you know we’ll definitely keep the noise out there about that “Lost and Found” album. But again, based on the people coming to the site and checking it out. It looks like they’re doing it for us. You have a beautiful publicist, and she’s doing a good thing and uh you know we’re definitely go on and do you have anything else going on in the future? Do you want to talk to us about. you want to get it out?  

LEDISI:          Yes. I’m working on a tour for “Lost and Found.” I’m excited about what is going on with the Count Basie Orchestra, the new Yoshis in San Francisco coming up at the end of the year to bring in the new year around Christmas time. So I’m working out. I want to do more films. There’s some things funneling through and I’m just excited about being in the business and I’m so happy that people are responding to the record greatly. It makes me go, ‘man I am so happy that all the questions, I followed my first mind and trusted’, So it’s working out great. I wouldn’t ask for anything – if something else comes up I might faint!  

TERRILL:     Ain’t nothing wrong with that right? You can’t turn down anything good. If it’s good, you know you got to take it now! 

LEDISI:          I know, I know. It’s just so exciting. 

TERRILL:     That’s what comes from blessings sometimes. You know when blessings come – they come like that, and you’re just that blessing in your voice. they just come right out of the sky 

LEDISI:          Hello! 

TERRILL:     You’re just that beautiful. That’s just your talent. We wish you the best.  

LEDISI:         Thank you! 

TERRILL:     are we going to do a part 2 down the line? 

LEDISI:          I would love to and in person would be even better. ‘Cause I need a hug! You know you got to give me a hug!!

 

TERRILL:     You need a hug? Here, here’s my way of giving you a hug (A big snuggly grawl!!)– ah there you go! 

LEDISI:          Oh, I can feel it! 

TERRILL:     Hey, sweetheart. Thank you so much Ledisi, it’s been an honor. 

LEDISI:         Thank you! 

TERRILL:     I’ll stay in touch
and you better stay in touch, too!
 

LEDISI:         OK! 

TERRILL:     I’ll holler at you later. 

LEDISI:          Alright, you take care. Thank you! 

TERRILL:     You got it baby!

The Urban Music Scene

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