Ledisi credits former Jimi Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles, and specifically his 1970 hit “Them Changes,” with helping her break her writer’s block and forge ahead with her fifth album, “Turn Me Loose.”
“I was kinda feeling low because I couldn’t write anything and I didn’t want to hear anything,” says Ledisi, who acknowledges pressure to follow-up 2007’s Grammy Award-nominated “Lost & Found.” “And my friend said, ‘Let me play this for you. This is one of my favorite songs ... and it was (‘Them Changes’).
“I heard it and I thought, ‘Gosh, that’s exactly how I feel. I’m going through changes’ ... I kept playing that song over and over and over again. I couldn’t get it out of my head, y’know? It reminded me of how I am on stage. I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to do this sound. I’ve got to be like this.’ ”
That spark led to a livelier, funkier sound for “Turn Me Loose,” which debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard 200 when it was released in August. The New Orleans-born Ledisi — whose full name is Ledisi Anibade Young — knew there was a danger of losing some of the audience that had glommed onto the more sedate “Lost & Found,” but she felt it was worth the risk.
“I wanted to do every style I love and be every person I am with music,” she explains. “I didn’t think about if people were gonna get me or not this time. That’s why I called it ‘Turn Me Loose,’ so I can just be all over the place and hopefully they’ll go there with me.”
The “Sexy Soul Tour” featuring Eric Benét, Ledisi and Mint Condition plays at 8 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 7) at the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $49.75 and $79.75. Call (313) 887-8501 or visit www.musichall.org.
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