On Oct. 5 The Recording Academy Washington, D.C., Chapter hosted Up Close & Personal with Ledisi at local jazz/blues nightclub Bohemian Caverns.
Moderated by GRAMMY-nominated producer Chucky Thompson, the event featured a lively and candid discussion with the four-time GRAMMY-nominated R&B artist, touching on topics such as Ledisi's creative process, her journey from an indie to a major label, future goals, performing at the White House, and balancing roles as an artist and entrepreneur, among other topics. Following the discussion, Ledisi took questions from the audience.
"I said, 'If I can't be myself and create freely, I don't want to sign with a major label,'" she said. "But Verve [Music Group] let me be free and creative."
Born Ledisi Anibade Young in New Orleans, Ledisi began singing with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra at age 8. After relocating to Oakland, Calif., with her family, Ledisi started performing with San Francisco-based cabaret "Beach Blanket Babylon." Ledisi later formed Anibade, a jazz fusion band featuring Sundra Manning (keyboards/songwriting), Cedricke Dennis (guitar), Nelson Braxton (bass), Wayne Braxton (saxophone), and Tommy Bradford (drums).
In 2000 Ledisi released Soulsinger, an independent album she produced by with Manning. Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue, a jazz album, followed in 2002. In 2007 Ledisi released her major label debut, Lost & Found, which peaked in the Top 10 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. That year Ledisi earned her first pair of GRAMMY nominations for Best R&B Album and Best New Artist. Ledisi released Turn Me Loose in 2009, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 and spawning two more GRAMMY nominations for Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Goin' Thru Changes." The album featured collaborations with GRAMMY-winning producer and Recording Academy Chair Emeritus Jimmy Jam and GRAMMY winner Raphael Saadiq, among others.
Ledisi's latest release, 2011's Pieces Of Me, features a cast of producers and songwriters, including GRAMMY nominees Ivan Barias, Carvin Haggins, Chuck Harmony, and Claude Kelly, among others. The album peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and shot to No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Ledisi is currently on tour throughout the United States.
Up Close & Personal With Ledisi will be available as video on demand beginning Oct. 11 exclusively at GRAMMY365, The Academy's member-only website. For more information on Academy membership, visit www.grammy365.com/join.