"-> Ledisi almost gave up her singing career **AP swipe**" Thu Feb-07-08 12:44 PM by Airbreed
....this is interesting.
Hit singer almost gave up career
NEW YORK (AP) -- The title of Ledisi's breakthrough album "Lost & Found" is also an apt description for her career path.
Just before recording the disc -- which has earned her a nomination for best new artist as well as best R&B album -- the singer felt as if she was floundering. Although Ledisi had released two critically acclaimed albums independently and worked on Broadway, she remained an underground buzz act, unable to garner much mainstream attention.
With her chocolate skin, full figure and dreadlocked hair, she recalls being told consistently that she didn't have the "look" necessary to be a star. In addition, while her music could be classified as R&B, she also sang with jazz inflections that left some confused about how to categorize her, or to market her.
Fed up, Ledisi -- who declines to give her age -- was about to quit the business until she met a friend and producer who encouraged her to give her recording career one more try. So she took a leap of faith -- and was rewarded.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Ledisi talked about how her new success, reconnecting with her long-lost father and finally finding herself.
Q: How have your Grammy nominations changed your career?
LEDISI: For me, I can get into doors a little easier (laughs). I've seen people change a lot, which has really amazed me. ... I haven't changed. I think I feel more confident. You know how you have your nose up a little bit? I think I feel (sighs) "OK, I am doing good work, it's OK to be me, like totally settled in." I was settling in but now really like, "It's OK to be Ledisi."
Q: You've said you were ready to give up recording. When was that?
LEDISI: Right before starting on the (new) record. I felt like I was going around in a circles over and over again, and not sure if this was really my purpose ... I'm thinking I should be a teacher and just sit back and teach someone else the things that I learned, because I don't look the industry look. I didn't know where I fit in, I didn't see a lot of people who looked like me. At that time, you had Beyonce, full out, and I don't look anything like her -- love her to death, but I didn't know where I fit in to that style of music. I just like a certain traditional kind of R&B music, and I love jazz, so everyone I love they're not around anymore, so I didn't know where I fit in.
Q: What made you stick to it?
LEDISI: When I started to say I belong is when I wrote "Lost & Found," because it made sense. It was my call, calling out to say, "I'm here, notice me, notice me and every way." Personally I was going through drama, breaking up with a boyfriend. And then going through different spiritual things, trying to figure out where I belong spiritually, just musically. All of it was going on at the same time. And then I found my father. It was a lot of things going on, and when I got into alignment with my faith, knowing that I belonged, everything just started making sense. Then the record companies started calling.
Q: You said you didn't have the Beyonce look. What made you think you needed that?
LEDISI: I was told you need to lose a certain amount of pounds, you need to straighten your hair, you don't have a look. From my first record on to the middle of finishing the second one, and toward the end of the second one I was just beat up (laughs).
Q: Some people are so desperate to be famous that they would have gone on a diet. Why did you stick to your guns?
LEDISI: It took forever. I was always the darkest one, real skinny with big eyes. I've heard it all my life, that I don't fit in, or I'm not pretty enough like everyone else with the long hair -- even my sisters look totally different from me, so I've always been the oddball. And that's OK, and I was always comfortable with myself until I got into the industry. ... (But) my reaction is to rebel and stay me. If I'm not true to myself, there's no point in doing the music. That's why just wanted to leave gracefully, and continue to hold to what's real, what's me, and that's what people like about me. I'm honest, I'm real.
Q: You reconnected with your father, who left when you were very young, as you made your record. What made you want to reach out to him?
LEDISI: I don't care what anyone says, you need your parents. Bad or good, love them as they are, forgive them completely, and I embraced them all the way. We had our little arguments about it but he's here now, so I'm going to enjoy him now, and that's just how I look at it. Everything about him is me, I'm looking at a male version of myself. I need my bookends. I need my dad as a woman. ... I feel complete.
Q: You have a small role in George Clooney's upcoming movie "Leatherheads." What was that experience like?
LEDISI: My first time being on a movie set, doing a movie period, and it's a George Clooney film! He was the sweetest guy, incredible actor, incredible director. (He) made me beautiful on camera. That's really when I began to see myself.