Eight-time Grammy nominee Ledisi has such an amazing vocal gift that many of the greats — Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Rachelle Ferrell, and even First Lady Michelle Obama — sing her praises.
Ledisi, who released her seventh album "The Truth" in March, blew Yahoo Music away when she visited our studio and performed three powerful examples of her sonic talents. "Alright" is the song her mother inspired her to write when she was considering quitting the business; on "Pieces of Me," she reflects on the many aspects of womanhood; and "I Blame You" credits a special man for her glow.
The singer-songwriter from New Orleans and Oakland, who released albums as an independent artist before signing with Verve, said it took some time for her music to catch the attention of the major labels.
"I'm different," she told Yahoo Music. "I look different, I'm a different kind of performer. At the time [that I started] it was all Destiny's Child; we didn't have Jill Scott yet, and they didn't know where to put me. But I guess I never gave up."
Ledisi caught Verve's attention when producer Rex Rideout enlisted her to record a cover of Luther Vandross's "My Sensitivity" for the tribute album "Forever, for Always, for Luther." Her Verve debut, 2007's "Lost & Found," earned her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. In 2010, Michelle Obama told People magazine that Ledisi was one of the artists in her iPod. Ledisi freaked out when she heard the news.
"'Whoa, our First Lady knows me!'" she recalled of her reaction. "She could have picked all these other people. I've been [to the White House] seven times. I love them, they're great people. They love music. They're from Chicago. Chicago is the port of music."
During her interview, Ledisi also talked studying opera, "The Truth's" many tributes to Michael Jackson, why she decided to showcase her dancing in the video for "I Blame You," and what she has in common with rap stars Master P and Too Short.