R&B singer Ledisi tells ‘The Truth’

Ledisi is touring for her new album, "The Truth." Credit: Universal Music Group
Ledisi is touring for her new album, “The Truth.”
Credit: Universal Music Group

What do Beyonce, John Legend and Ledisi have in common?

They all performed at Michelle Obama’s birthday party in January. For Ledisi, who has just released a new album called “The Truth,” it was — and it wasn’t — just another day at the White House.

The R&B singer has performed there multiple times.

“It’s always the same feeling where I have an ‘A ha!’ moment — whoa, I can’t believe I’m here,” Ledisi says. “[The President and Michelle Obama] make you feel so comfortable, it’s like talking to friends or family members and they love music and people. They look you in the eye when they’re speaking and you might be calm on the outside but inside, you’re freaking out — they really appreciate my gift!”

The Obama-Ledisi connection became public in 2010 when Michelle Obama told People Magazine that “she’s got that really pretty voice.”

The voice, which has racked up eight Grammy nominations so far, should get broader appeal, thanks to “The Truth.” The tracks have a bit more contemporary, poppier feel than the sultry ballads and jazzy excursions of her previous albums. The lead single, “I Blame You,” is an appealing mid-tempo R&B jam which showcases the soaring power of Ledisi’s pipes.

“It’s about wanting to open up to different audiences that I think I have been closed to,” Ledisi says. “I wanted to open it up to younger audiences — if I’ve been ignoring them, it wasn’t on purpose.”

Ledisi, full name Ledisi Anibade Young, is a New Orleans native who moved to Oakland in her teens. She started out on the indie route with 2000’s “Soulsinger: The Revival” and her major-label debut was 2007’s “Lost & Found” on Verve.

Now, it’s time for “The Truth.”

“There are songs that will make you feel upbeat and songs about relationships that didn’t work,” Ledisi says. “I’m embracing who I am and who I’ve become.”

Upcoming shows:

Ledisi with the Robert Glasper Experiment

New York City
April 30, 8 p.m.
Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway
$70-$123, 866-858-0008

May 1, 8 p.m.
Tower Theater
69th and Ludlow, Upper Darby
$34.50-$60, 215-922-1011


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