Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi is currently on her first nationwide tour in support of her sixth album Pieces of Me. The tour has already sold out venues in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.; and she pulls into Houston Thursday. "I feel great about this tour we have been selling out shows and I'm really having fun with it," she told Rocks Off.
The New Orleans native has always had a love for R&B and hip-hop music and has been performing since she was a child. Before embarking on her solo career, Ledisi helped form the group Anibade, but the struggle of trying to get them signed motivated her to create the LeSun Records label with along with fellow R&B singer Sundra Manning.
She released two albums on the label including her 2000 debut Soulsinger: The Revival. But, after only moderate success, she took a five-year hiatus and considered leaving the music business. "I was just tired and exhausted of the rejection from major labels and I had serious doubts about my career," she said. "During my break from music, I hid out in Broadway and my mother was the person who motivated me to stay in the music business."
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The experience taught her she needed a thicker skin, especially in today's social media world where the credit and criticism are impossible to ignore. "When I see negative feedback, I take it for what it is. I see more positive than negative comments on Facebook and Twitter," she said. "I think it always better to filter out constructive criticism and learn from it."
In 2007, Ledisi signed to Verve Forecast and released her third album Lost and Found followed up in 2009 by Turn Me Loose, each earning her a pair of Grammy nominations. The success led her to tours with soul singer Kem and three invitations to perform at the White House to perform for President Obama. "It was a really great honor to sing at the White House, the Obamas are really nice and genuine people," she said.
Ledisi's latest single and title track "Pieces of Me" has been on the U.S. Billboard charts and has received frequent radio play. "This song is about celebrating being a very intricate woman which means I can be complex, change my mind and still be a strong and happy individual." she explains. Her newfound confidence comes through on the new album. "With this project, I did lots of writing to figure things out," she said, "I laughed, smiled and cried through the entire album process and I want people to know that this is who I am."
Ledisi will be at the House of Blues, Thursday, November 3.