Although introduced to the world as a songstress in a hugely popular girl-group, today LeToya Luckett can be considered an all-around entertainer. Working hard to dominate in more industries than one, Luckett is currently juggling a handful of projects: A new BET series entitled Second Generation Wayans, the upcoming film Note to Self, and of course the Life, Love & Music webseries that is her very own.
Expounding on the promise to soon deliver her third as yet untitled solo album, SoulTrain.com caught up with Luckett who discussed her thoughts on today’s R&B, acting roles she won’t take at the moment, her soundly formulated musical direction, and more.
SoulTrain.com: We’ll start with what the fans want to know most. How close are you to completing your album?
LeToya Luckett: It’s crazy because it’s been a very stop-and-start type of thing. I’m about to start again in the next couple weeks and I’m looking forward to it. So, we have a while to go. You never know, you might find a song that makes the songs you’ve done in the past make sense, if you know what I mean. Or, you find a song that just makes you want to redo everything so we’ll see.
SoulTrain.com: Have you come across that song yet that made you want to switch everything up?
LeToya Luckett: No, not yet.
SoulTrain.com: In a recent interview it was said that your album title is It’s Personal. What’s the story behind that?
LeToya Luckett: That’s not the title. That was somewhat of a joke. Somebody asked me a question in an interview at one point and I said I wanted this album to be personal and they said something about possibly naming it persona, but that’s not the name of the album.
SoulTrain.com: Oh, okay. Do you have a title yet?
LeToya Luckett: No, not yet. I only pick titles when I’m halfway through the album.
SoulTrain.com: I know you said you have a ways to go, but do you plan on doing something sonically different this time around?
LeToya Luckett: Yes, definitely willing to try something different. After talking to the producers and writers, I’m looking forward to just trying some new stuff.
SoulTrain.com: As far as the writing goes, what types of things do you do to keep your mind focused?
LeToya Luckett: The great thing about writing or being an artist period is being creative, and a lot of times we write based off of life experiences. I think that’s what helps me. When I go through stuff, one of the best things to do — or a release for me — is to write about it. It’s a creative outlet.
SoulTrain.com: You’ve done quite a few acting projects thus far. How did the opportunity to do Note to Self come about?
LeToya Luckett: My agent brought it to my attention and gave me the script. I think the script is what made me want to commit to it. After meeting with the cast and going into production the wheels started turning and it was nonstop. It turned out to be a great project. It’ll be released sometime this fall.
SoulTrain.com: How did this film in comparison to others challenge you more as an actress?
LeToya Luckett: I play a mom and I’ve never done that before. It was great and it made me want to be a mommy one day.
SoulTrain.com: Right now your album doesn’t have a definite release date. Do you think if another acting project came up you’d take that on first instead of focusing on your album?
LeToya Luckett: I would try and do both. I really want to get something out for my fans on the music side because they have been on me. I definitely want to hurry and get something out. I don’t want to rush and I don’t want to give them a rushed product, but I am very excited for them to hear some new stuff.
SoulTrain.com: A lot of artists for the most part focus on music and acting. Can you elaborate on why the two arenas are such the perfect balance?
LeToya Luckett: I think — even in the booth — when you’re coming up with a song you’re becoming a character. You’re playing the role of whatever girl or guy. I go into character with every song I do, so I use that with music and acting. Both of them involve emotion and a lot of you; you’re putting a lot of energy into it. You have to commit to both of them.
SoulTrain.com: Have you ever been introduced to a script that you were kind of wary about?
LeToya Luckett: All. The. Time. Everyday (laughs).
SoulTrain.com: What’s the weirdest one that they wanted you to do?
LeToya Luckett: Ummm, it might have been some sexual stuff that I wasn’t ready for. Yea, so…..(laughs).
SoulTrain.com: We’ve also seen you do lots of philanthropic work and speaking engagements by way of your webseries. If you were to ever create a foundation what cause would it support?
LeToya Luckett: Cancer and dementia. I just recently lost a family member to cancer and I have a lot of family members with it, so I am all about finding a cure for it. My grandmother has dementia, so I also want to be part of finding a cure for that.
SoulTrain.com: Okay, and the fans appreciate what they’ve seen about that on the webseries so far. Looking back on the first episode, what motivated you to keep it going?
LeToya Luckett: They did. Originally it didn’t start out like that. I didn’t know what I planned on using the footage for. I was just out in Vegas with of couple friends at the time preparing for the Hoodie Awards. One of my friends started filming stuff, went off by herself and put together this small teaser and it looked so good. I was like, “I want to use this!” She ending up coming to LA and getting some footage of me in the studio and I said let me put together a webseries. The fans are always asking me what I’m doing because they haven’t heard anything, so this is what I’m doing! I wanted them to feel involved and the first one got great feedback so that’s why I kept it going. Now we’re doing webisode five. It’ll be coming out very soon.
SoulTrain.com: Has anything ever been filmed that you didn’t want people to see?
LeToya Luckett: No, nope. I’m the editor, director, camera girl, and I’m open so I want them to see what’s going on. I don’t have crazy stuff going on in my life that I wouldn’t want them to see.
SoulTrain.com: Well, that’s good. And a lot of what is seen happens where you live in LA, but we all know you’re a Houston girl. What do you miss the most about living down south?
LeToya Luckett: The food and my family. I’m a foodie girl so I miss going to my spots in Houston and getting good barbecue. All my family, everyone is in Houston so I miss spending time with my mother, my grandmother and brother. I don’t get to see them that often anymore. And my dog.
SoulTrain.com: The webseries kind of just started, but is there anything substantial you learned about yourself from looking back at the footage — or through feedback from your fans?
LeToya Luckett: Yeah, they want to see more studio. It’s crazy, but I used to be nervous about singing for people so it was kind of hard for me to let people in. When I went back and looked I was like, “Okay, it’s not so bad.” It’s actually making me more comfortable in the studio, so I’m going to give you guys more of that. I do see how goofy I am and I make really funny faces.
SoulTrain.com: And people mention your rapping or the freestyles as something they like, too.
LeToya Luckett: Oh yeah, my freestyles! You ain’t ready for that! That was a lot of fun. That was one of my favorite webisodes.
SoulTrain.com: Currently, what are your thoughts on mainstream R&B? Are you happy with where it is and where it’s going?
LeToya Luckett: I love the new Frank Oceans of the world, and Marsha Ambrosius; there are so many great R&B artists out there that deserve ears. They really do, and I think we’re getting back to that. I heard that Ginuwine, Tank and Tyrese are forming a group–that’s gonna be R&B right there. That’s gonna be crazy, the ladies should get excited now! You have Usher’s song “Climax” that still has that Euro-sonic thing going on, but it’s still R&B to me. I’m glad that — and I think that — we’re starting to get back to R&B.
SoulTrain.com: Definitely. Even with yourself–you’re real R&B, but you have bangin’ beats. How do you stray away from being influenced by outside R&B music?
LeToya Luckett: I’m a southern girl and I think that’s just the southern girl in me. I love 808s, I love hard beats and I listen to a lot of hip-hop. I think that has a big influence on the production side of it. But of course I’m a soft, emotional R&B girl. You team that with some great lyrics and there you have it. It’s not that I try to keep myself or get away from listening to other people’s music because I do. But I listen to a lot of old school R&B like Luther, Sade, Anita Baker and Lalah Hathaway. I listen to everything so that’s why I think I sound a little different. Oh, and I listen to Barbara Streisand!
SoulTrain.com: A lot of your songs [such as] “Good to me” and “Take Away Love” tend to dissect relationships and talk about them from unique angles. Have you come up with anything specific like that for this album yet?
LeToya Luckett: The sound is going to be very open and like I’ve said in other interviews, very personal. I’m going to definitely come from all sides. Ladies, a lot of the time, don’t like to admit they’re wrong. I’m going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about the heartbreak, the makeups, the “Oh my God I’m scared to love again” — that whole thing. I guess I’m going to be real. I’m going to talk about things I’ve gone through or watched my friends and family go through.
SoulTrain.com: Every so often you’re teamed up with rappers. Is there anybody you’re looking forward to working with this time around?
LeToya Luckett: 2Chainz. A little bit of Future won’t hurt (laughs). Those are some of my favorites I’m listening to right now. I love Drake, of course my brother Ludacris–I love him. We’ll see, I really don’t determine that until the song is done. Then I go, “Oh such and such would sound great on this.” So, I don’t want to say who I’ll feature too early.
SoulTrain.com: Lastly, in your webseries Michelle Williams pointed out that of all the Destiny’s Child members, you were one of the first to make a big impact on your own. Given your experienced journey, what would you say is most rewarding about being a solo artist?
LeToya Luckett: Getting the chance to express yourself and your creativity; stepping out of a shell. Because I started so early, being part of a group was the only thing that I knew, it was second nature to me. Getting over that fear of stepping out by yourself I think is the most rewarding thing.
Makula Dunbar is a journalist covering music, entertainment, business and community. Founder and editor of digital culture magazine Cognizant Measure, her work has been featured in print and across the web via UPTOWN Magazine, The Atlanta Post, Sister 2 Sister Magazine, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Hiphopruckus.com and many more. Follow her on twitter @Kules.