When it comes to flaunting lush, gorgeous locs, Ledisi’s star style stands above the rest. The ESSENCE Music Festival performer is one of a handful of stars in the limelight rocking locs nowadays, and every time we see her out and about, the girl looks like a million bucks.

As we gear up for the ESSENCE Music Festival, we sat down with the soul singer to find out exactly how she keeps her locs fresh and fabulous 24/7.

ESSENCE.com: How long have you had your locs?
LEDISI: I’ve had my locs forever. I kept cutting them and cutting them. I wanted them shorter because my mohawk was getting too big. With natural hair you have to let it do what it does. If you try to force it to do what you want, it will battle you back.

ESSENCE.com: What inspired you to grow locs?
LEDISI: Nothing really. It wasn’t a deep thing. I had it in bantu knots and twists and it would naturally start locing. When I wanted it to loc it wouldn’t loc because I have really soft, wavy hair. It’s not as coarse as I would like it to be so it took me a little while to get there.

ESSENCE.com: You’re always wearing such amazing hair color. What has been your favorite hair color over the years?
LEDISI: My favorite one is when I had a mixture of all these different fire colors. It was yellow, orange and it had an auburn color all mixed together. My mohawk at the end had all these different colors. I like that but you can’t wear it with everything. I really like my hair black because I can wear it with everything. The red really makes my face pop out. It gives a nice soft dewy thing when I wear it down and when I wear it up it’s edgier. I wear the red all the time.

ESSENCE.com: How do you do your signature updo?
LEDISI: Oh, I can’t do that myself! [Laughs] My hairstylist Michelle London in Philly does it. She’s a great hairstylist and she really cares about the hair and what you’re doing with your hair. She cares about that first before the actual style and I love that about her. When I want to just wear my hair curly, I use the really skinny foam rods from the beauty supply store. If I don’t pack the rods, I will do bantu knots. I also carry a portable hair dryer that I can sit under when I’m on the road.

ESSENCE.com: What are some of your favorite products to use on your locs?
LEDISI: I use the Carol’s Daughter Tui Moisturizing Oil to keep my hair very moist. Sometimes I also use the Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey or Loc Butter on the ends. I do use a little gel because my edges will get a little wavy and crinkly like a little afro. I will grab the roots and twist them with it because sometimes with the weather and the rain changes everything. I also use olive oil gel.

ESSENCE.com: How do you maintain your hair at night?
LEDISI: I do have a doo-rag. [Laughs] It is what it is. It’s an ugly little wrap but it lays my hair down! It’s a satin wrap but it is really doo-raggish but it works!

ESSENCE.com: What is your advice for someone who wants to grow locs?
LEDISI: With natural hair you have to let it do what it wants to do. Be patient and think of new styles. Add accessories or fun things. And don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about what other people think about your hair. I get a lot of that. Wear it up. Wear it down. No, I wear it how I want to wear it and it has to be what I’m comfortable with. When I want to wear it down, I will wear it down. When I want to wear it up, I will wear it up. Walk in your own walk. Don’t worry about what other people think about your hair.

Join us as we take a look back at the soul songstress’s natural hair journey, from her pre-natural days through her current crimson locs. 
See Ledisi at the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival. Click here to purchase your tickets.