R&B singer Ledisi gets introspective on new album

Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:32pm EDT
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By Sabrina Ford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - R&B singer Ledisi, a multiple Grammy nominee with the seal of approval from first lady Michelle Obama, is finally baring her soul on her fourth album in five years.

The New Orleans native has just released the aptly titled "Pieces of Me," a follow-up to her genre-defying outing on 2009's "Turn Me Loose."

That album -- boasting blues, rock, hip-hop and funk elements -- yielded a pair of Grammy nominations, as did her 2007 breakthrough "Lost & Found."

"'Turn Me Loose' was an expression of just wanting to express that I loved all music. I wanted to show that soul music is in everything," said Ledisi, who counts Chaka Khan and hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest among her influences.

After several months trying to decide on the musical direction of "Pieces," Ledisi decided to focus more on what she was going to say rather than how she was going to say it.

"My executive producer Rex Rideout kept saying, 'Don't think about writing a hit song. What do you want to say on this album?,'" she recalled.

On the new track "Hate Me," Ledisi taunts a frustrated lover, singing, "I know you hate me but you can't stop loving me." Another track, "Shut Up," is directed at "all the people that thought I'd never be anything," says Ledisi.

Not surprisingly, Ledisi found the creative process to be therapeutic. "I have a new level of confidence I didn't know I could. Now I have my own walk and my own journey. I'm not worried about being something that I'm not or competing with others. I'm competing with the last album that I did."   Continued...