Literary Dopeness :: Ledisi Dishes On Penning ‘Better Than Alright’

Soul singer Ledisi is known for creating music that connects with her listeners, poetically describing situations that anyone can relate to. Just recently, Ledisi partnered with Essence magazine to release Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love and Power and we had the opportunity to discuss with her what the journey was like to create such a revealing account of her life. Check it out!
On the inspiration behind the book:
Well I wrote it because someone told me I couldn’t. When you tell me I can’t, I want to show you I can. A friend of mine saw it and fell in love with it and she started a book of affirmations and she saw it and read it and wanted to send it off to Essence and she did and the next thing you know I’m talking a book deal with Essence. The way we wrote it was a 176 pages about my life and little pieces of my journey with affirmations and grew to my life is pretty interesting and inspiring, we need to those things down and who else inspires you and wow you take photos too, that’s great and it started to lay out like a journal. It looks like a journal and it was Essence’s idea to be interactive because I’m so interactive with my audience when I’m on stage so we felt it necessary to do it in the book. That’s why at the end of each chapter in the hard back there are blank pages where people can write their own journey as well.
On whether writing  has always been her passion:
I’ve always been an avid reader and avid journaler. I love journaling, I’ve kept a journal since I was a little kid. I love book and I love words and I was inspired to write after reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she journaled and wrote all her thoughts out and was ok with expressing so much of her journey, it empowered me as a little girl. I didn’t ever think I would write a book people would want to hear about but I knew I was going to be a writer in some way, whether it be  just songs or a book, I knew I would write something.
On how long did it took her to write the book:
Well the actual affirmation book only took a month or less than a month and about 8 months to finish the whole book that you see in front of you because it was pretty much laid out we just added to it and made it better than what it was. It was a lot going on last and this year for me so we included all that and we took stories from my past, journaling, everything and we put it all together.
On the obstacles she faced while writing:
There weren’t really any obstacles because all the stuff I had already dealt with these things by the time it was time to write it and it was just what to tell and I needed my family to be inclusive in that. So I had to speak to them and make sure it was ok with me telling so much because I really care about my family. That was the only challenging part and how to say it but sure  I say it in way that people get it. There weren’t really any obstacles, it was just ok how do you do this and keep the reader and not be so graphic because I am very descriptive.
On the emotional journey she experienced while she was writing:
Of course. This is harder than a song, you can hind in a song but in a thing that’s about you and your life and your people and the things around you, you feel a certain way. I felt more empowered more than anything. You know how you say something out loud and you feel like, ” yeah, I said it.” I like this was ok to write this out and I hope this save lives and empowers others.
On whether or not she had any regrets about the book and it’s content:
No not at all. I moved naturally and with prayer and with support so when I do something, I do it all the way and fully so never any regrets. My only regret is if I made someone upset, that I always feel like I wish I had have said that differently but we are what we are at that time/. And I’ve grown up since then so I feel really good about it. I’m just glad I was able to express where I come from and the people that inspire me. It really feels good. Where I’m standing didn’t take overnight.
On her feelings about The Be Good to Yourself tour  and the release of her book:
What I’m most enjoying is that I will be on the main stage for the Essence music festival, I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve played at the Essence music festival 4 times so it’s just great to be on the main stage. This is my second time headlining a tour with my special guest Eric Benet so I’m looking forward to doing another show. We had great success with Pieces of Me and even better with this one so I’m looking forward to it and I hope people enjoy what I have to offer and feel inspired when they leave just like when they read the book or hear the music live. That’s where it all began for me
On whether or not we can expect more literary work in the future:
I sure hope so. Right now I’m just enjoying this small step and hoping that I can continue to inspire others. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity. I’m inspired beyond measure, this lady sent me a note on Facebook that she read my whole story and she wanted to be a doctor and al the things that happened to me happened to her and she explained how she wanted to be a doctor and everyone was against her about it. That one story had me in tears, that’s inspiring.
New projects in the works:
Right now, there has been talk about doing things but I’m into the element of surprise so I never give stuff away, I like to sneaking up on people with stuff. I’m working with producers that I love like Q-tip is someone I’m supposed to work with so I hope that happens and I’ll be getting back in the studio at the end of the year but right now it’s just the tour and the book and making sure I kick butt everywhere I can and just have fun. I hope more great things happen.
I mentioned to Ledisi that it would be great to see her come out with a book of poetry, she loved the idea so let’s hope that’s a work in progress.
K. Nash-Jones