LeToya Luckett become a household name from the moment Destiny’s Child stepped foot in the public eye, and considering today marks the official release of her latest album “Back 2 Life”, we had to sit down with the beauty to catch up.
Your upcoming album is titled Back 2 Life; where did the title come from and what does Back 2 Life symbolize for you?
Back 2 Life means back to what makes me fulfilled; back to what feeds me, fuels me, and doing what’s best for me. I’m in that space now. I feel like I’m coming into my own. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been and I’m not afraid. I’m also open and ready to share more with the rest of the world.
How has LeToya grown personally and as an artist since her last album, and how is that going to be portrayed on this album?
I’ve grown in so many different ways both as an artist and as a woman. As a woman, I’m more confident than I’ve ever been and that’s due to life’s experiences. I’m more sure about what it is that I’m here to do and I feel like I’m walking in my purpose right now. God has given me several gifts and I’m so blessed to be able to share them with the world. Before, I spent so much time overthinking and staying in that safe zone that I never got to really experience things in their fullness because I was always so worried and conscious of me and my own moves. I’m in a great place, and as far as my music goes, I’m taking life’s experiences and sharing them through my music. It’s almost like therapy for me and I’m blessed to have a platform where I can do that.
What would you say has been the biggest misconception people have of you?
I think it had a lot to do with that safe place. People see me one way and that’s it. I’m the cookie cutter, good girl next door. I am a good girl but that doesn’t mean that life hasn’t happened. I think because I walk around with a smile and I’m always trying to be positive about everything people don’t realize that I hurt and go through things just like everyone else.
Do you feel it is harder to become a success musician in today’s day and age?
I think it’s easier only because of social media and you can create your own platform. Whereas before, we had to depend on trying to get a record or production deal. It was harder to be heard. Nowadays people are taking advantage of YouTube, Soundcloud, and other social media platforms.
How has social media changed the game for you? And how would 16-year-old LeToya react if she stepped into this social media era?
I would definitely take advantage of Instagram – making one-minute clips of me singing my favorite songs and killing it! My grind would be so crazy just trying to get my material out there. I think it creates more opportunities.
What advice would you give to a young girl who is newly pursuing a career in music?
Stay true to you! Don’t do anything that you’re not comfortable with and protect your gift. If you don’t want to show your body or sing about certain things, then you don’t have to do it. At the end of the day, your works represent you. Everything you do is a part of your brand. Build your brand the way you want to build it.
Is there one career move you’ve made that if given the opportunity to do so, you would do differently?
As a solo artist, I wish I would’ve been more prepared in that moment. I was so uncomfortable and afraid. If the LeToya today, would’ve come out with “Torn” it would’ve been a different situation.
Did your experience in the music industry help prepare you for acting?
Absolutely! I think going out touring and becoming comfortable with myself helped to prepare me for being an actress. I also think the experience of becoming a solo artist after being so afraid helped me with pursuing acting. I’m so glad that I was able to step out on faith to pursue an acting career.
What types of roles would you like to tackle as an actress in the future?
I like roles that challenge me. I’ve been blessed and am honored to play Dionne Warwick in her biopic but I do want to play a role where I’m completely transformed and unrecognizable. I’m also getting into producer mode, so I want to produce content and come up with my own show ideas. I love family shows! I was raised on The Cosby Show, A Different World, Full House, Family Matters, Living Single, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I love shows about family and think we need to see more of that on major network TV so I want to come up with an amazing show idea.
What was it like to portray songstress Dionne Warwick in her self-titled biopic? How did you prepare for the role? Were there any insecurities you had to overcome?
I’m calling her and getting advice directly. I’m blessed to be able to do that and learn from her. I’m learning from her even outside of this one experience. I’m learning from her as an African-American woman who did it when it was probably the hardest to break through. I’m learning from her as a musician, actress, and creative. Of course I had to overcome insecurities; Dionne is an icon, but I’m going to have fun with it. She handpicked me for this role because she saw something in me.
Do you consider yourself successful? If so, at what point did you realize your success?
I feel like I’m successful because of the love that I’m surrounded with. The support of my family and friends is what makes me feel successful. I’m successful because I challenge myself every day. I set goals and I accomplish them. I continue to step out on faith and do things that take me out of my comfort zone. Because of my platform, I’m able to share my testimony and experiences, and when a fan comes out and says, “that song you put out inspired me to finally get out of an abusive relationship.” That’s what makes me feel successful.
Has racial inequality affected your career and how did you, as a black woman, overcome that?
I’ve been blessed to not experience it directly. I think God has definitely protected me from that, but we all know it exists. It’s something we definitely need to keep working on. Being an actress, we have limited roles and we’re just getting to a point of being more visible in movies and television. Shows like Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder are opening the doors for more diversity in Hollywood.
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve received while growing up that you would give to young black individuals in 2017?
Be proud of who you are. Be proud of your melanin. Know that it comes with challenges, but walk with your head high and be confident in who you are and the way that you were created. I’m proud that I stand out. I’m proud to be an African-American woman. The majority of my yeses are a result of the no’s that women before me received.
What is your definition of beautiful?
I think it’s inner beauty for me. I always pray for people to see God’s light when I walk into a room. I think that’s what beauty is, when people are able to see your light and confidence. Radiating positivity is beautiful. Being comfortable in your own skin is beautiful.
Your favorite physical feature on yourself?
Favorite beauty product?
Anything by AJ Crimson.
Your favorite article of clothing?
A good pair of jeans.
Favorite song on the new album?
I can’t choose one! It’s too hard. My favorites are “Disconnected,” “Back 2 Life,” “I’m Ready,” “Used To”. Those are my top four!
One thing you hope fans will take away from this album?
I want people to see a different side of LeToya. I think that I’ve accomplished that based off of the feedback that I’m receiving thus far. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. From the blonde hair to my album packaging, it’s way different than it’s ever been. I’m OK with my grown and sexy and I’m showing it off a bit. I’m learning to become more and more fearless every day.
Album out Friday, May 12.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Cesar Balcazar
STYLIST: Brendon Alexander
HAIR STYLIST: Johnatan Rendon
MAKEUP ARTIST: Raoul Alejandre
STYLISTS ASSISTANT: Clinton Rodgers
INTERVIEWED BY: Alexander Jamall & Aliecia Brissett
EDITOR: Jaimee Jakobczak
Post expires at 8:27am on Friday January 12th, 2018