Ledisi Using the gift of song to uplift and share truth

admin | 3/15/2012, 5:30 a.m.

It may take a few tries to correctly pronounce her name which means to bring forth in Yoruba, but after hearing her sing its a sure bet that you will never forget Ledisi. This writer was introduced to the music of Ledisi after a relative brought back a recording they had picked up during their travels to Europe. That was almost five years ago right about the time that the singer/songwriter signed her first major record deal with Verve Forecast and released her third album, Lost & Found. She has since proven that she can sing with the best of them performing jazz, neo-soul, R&B and gospel with ease. She has recently been on tour with the incomparable Kem and celebrates the fact that she just garnered several Grammy nominations for her sixth recording, Pieces of Me. But not so long ago, she almost gave up on her dream. People wanted me to fit a certain way but in both my imagery and my stage presence I like to be natural when it is forced it just wont happen, she said. My mother is one of the major influences in my life and she told me not to quit. Ledisi will soon release a book, Better Than Alright, that chronicles her amazing ride. I cant identify any one breakthrough moment, but this has been a wonderful journey. One of the greatest moments has been completing every one of my goals and acknowledging them. Whenever I sing, I employ the element of surprise and I give my very best. More than anything I want to uplift people and get them involved. If I only reach two people, then I am happy. If I reach a lot more, thats fantastic. Singing at The White House President Barack Obama and the first lady have invited Ledisi to the White House to perform three times and she says they share a mutual admiration for one another. I love how they treat people and their taste of music is truly eclectic, she said. I was amazed that they even know who I am and that they were able to offer their advice on music. Its been an honor to part of their journey and to have them join me on mine. Ledisi has scaled many mountains since entering the industry in 1995 and certainly deserves all of the attention and accolades that have come her way. But she says one thing will never change about her: I use my voice to uplift people and I seek to share truth through my songs. Thats all Ive ever wanted to do. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com