Ledisi gains self-confidence with new album

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — If there’s any message Ledisi wants her fans to take away from her latest album, “Pieces of Me,” it’s about gaining a sense of self-confidence and self-worth.

“This project is very personal to me,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “I want women to hear themselves in the music and find a way to celebrate and embrace who they are.”

It’s something that Ledisi has finally been able to accomplish in her own life. Early in her career, when Ledisi struggled to make inroads in the business, the New Orleans native started to have doubts about whether she’d fit in, or whether she had what it took to make it as a recording star.

But after the breakthrough success of 2007’s “Lost & Found,” which garnered her a Grammy nomination for best new artist, and 2009’s “Turn Me Loose,” which earned her additional Grammy nominations and more success, she’s finally feeling confident. The title track, which is the album’s first single, gives her audience a glimpse at a woman who’s confidently tackling issues of love, intimacy, relationships, respect and empowerment.

“This is a reflection of me as a person, of the person I’m becoming,” Ledisi said. “I hope it shows that Ledisi is funny. She is sad. She is spirited. She is very complex. It’s about no longer wondering whether I’m worthy of being in this business.”

Vocally, she can reign supreme in the R&B world; her stylistic tones also hint upon her penchant for jazz and opera. That versatility has helped draw acknowledgment from fans (who reach as high as the nation’s first lady) as well as from peers, and helped her recognize pieces of herself that had been long-buried.

“All of the producers wanted me step back and look at what I’d done, to really see eight months later what we had,” she recalled. “I was always asking, ‘Did I do good?’ and for the first time, I was able to look back and say ‘Wow. That is so good.’ This project reminded me to stop and smell the roses, to look around outside and really see what I’d done.”

Ledisi, who recently wowed at the BET Awards with a masterful tribute to the late Teena Marie, has said that recording the album was therapy for her.

“I’ve been so happy with the response so far,” she said. “I’m hoping that the project will draw younger audiences into the fold with the mix of old and new. It’s fiery and uptempo and exciting. It’s just great to know that someone out there is listening while in turns builds confidence and reminds me that ‘Hey, I’ve still got a little swag.”’

Asked what else might be in her future, Ledisi said she’s working on a book, but wouldn’t give any details, saying it’s still early in the process.

“I’m just nurturing all the different sides of me,” she said, laughing. “I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

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Online:

http://www.ledisi.com/

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