With a catalog that boasts of nine studio albums, Lesidi continues to captivate listeners with her humble energy and dynamic vocality. Since the release of 2007’s Lost & Found, the New Orleans native has easily become one of the most celebrated contemporary R&B artist of our time. Her live shows speaks to her natural born talent while her musical stylings of jazz, R&B and gospel, speak to her passionate nature. Let Love Rule arrived as her latest offering and sees the nine-time Grammy Award nominee on a journey of evolution. Driven by new vibes with the same ol’ soul, Ledisi takes us on a trip of living for today, fresh starts, and loving even in the face of adversity.
In an exclusive interview with EBONY, Ledisi shared her thoughts on the makings of Let Love Rule, moving with passion and evolving in her own lane.
EBONY: As your ninth studio album, how does Let Love Rule differ from your previous work?
Ledisi: All my recordings are different from one another. The common thread is me. I think it’s another moment seeing and hearing me evolve.
Your single “High” shows you experimenting with new sounds, what inspired the change in pace? What other sounds do you play with on the project?
I think “High” is going with the times, what’s happening now but has old school sangin’ on top and it matches my energy. There are live elements as well.
You have a song that was influenced by current events. Do you think it’s necessary for artists to use their platform or art to shed light on today’s political climate?
I think ARTISTS should do what they want. I always do what I want. I do things behind the scenes, through my music or I am actively out there lobbying for causes I believe in. I don’t force things on people. I move by example and hope it inspires them. Being the change you want is better than posting about it.
Let Love Rule is definitely a philosophy the world could stand to internalize. How do you incorporate that in everyday life?
I try to move with compassion. Even when someone is dead wrong. I move with compassion. That’s choosing to move through life with love. Not everyone will move like you but being nice to someone may change their thoughts or some people can’t be changed through you. It’s not your job to change them. It’s someone else’s job or something else that will change them. We have to know when to move out of God’s way.
As music continues to evolve, some say there’s a distinct difference between new and old-school R&B. And I know you’re a fan of H.E.R (I am as well!). Do you think the two sounds can co-exist and is there a need to note the difference?
Yes, there is a difference and yes we can co-exist. We already are. As long as the old school continues to be more open and new school respects the old way by honoring where the music comes from. We can all get along. Music should never divide it should always bring us together. Like, I love that Solange had the Legendary Verdine White on stage with her and understands where she gets her inspiration from. Or Pharrell always honoring Legendary Nile Rodgers in his music environments. Fantasia and I honoring Patti, Tina Turner and Queen Aretha Franklin in our musical settings. Then there are Soul purists that refuse to change with the times.They love one thing one way. I get it. Meanwhile, Music keeps evolving and I evolve in my own lane. I love it all. I don’t chase, I just am.
Being active for over two decades, what advice you can give to other artists who strive to have such longevity?
Stay true to what makes you happy. You can always say no and wait for what you want. And don’t come into the music business to make money. Loving your artistry has to surpass everything. Do it because you love it.
How has it been working with former first lady Michelle Obama’s Turnaround Arts Program?
It’s changed my life and reminded me of what is truly important, “being of service.” There is another little Ledisi out there waiting for a donation so they can get a scholarship to study music or music education. That’s why I love helping to change someone’s life for the better.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you, Ebony Magazine for giving me a chance to have a moment to shine. I grew up daydreaming…one day I’ll be in that magazine. So I see myself getting closer. Any recognition by this brand always makes me proud. Thank you.