With nine studio albums under her belt—and a few acting cameos to boot—Ledisi has learned that the best way to navigate the business is to take it all in stride.
ESSENCE: The single "High" from your new album is about you being in an elevated place. What inspired that?
LEDISI: We were talking about how 2016 was weird—there was all this change and people dying. But, personally, I had a great year even through all that. I feel good about the woman I'm becoming and not caring about what people think.
ESSENCE: How has acting in projects like Selma influenced you as a performer?
LEDISI: Working on The Tale of Four with Gabourey Sidibe [who directed the short film inspired by Nina Simone's "Four Women"] helped make me a better storyteller. I think that probably helped my songwriting.
ESSENCE: What would be your dream role?
LEDISI: I would love to play Dinah Washington or Sarah Vaughan. Those two are my favorite singers.
ESSENCE: Nine albums in, how would you compare the Ledisi on your first LP with the Ledisi on your latest one, Let Love Rule?
LEDISI: I was hungrier when I was younger, but now it's not so serious for me. The Led back then wanted the success of being a star. The Led now is content with just, Did I wake up today? Hallelujah.
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of ESSENCE.