“People just don’t know what I’m about/ They haven’t seen what’s there behind my smile/ There’s so much more I’m showing now,” sings Ledisi on her new single Pieces Of Me from her forthcoming album of the same name. Last night at the Samsung Experience in the Time Warner Center Ledisi sang “Pieces” with a conviction that made her lean hard on the mic stand towards the audience all awhile her eyes remaining wide open. It was as if she wanted to see us and wanted us to fully take her in. Kinda like how Hawaiians greet folks new to their homeland by placing a lei around visitors necks, last night’s private showcase, and for that matter her new record, was Ledisi’s lei in a way. It’s her way of saying, “Hello, please get to know me now.” It’s her coming out party on wax, which you may think unnecessary considering she has already released four other records
including Turn Me Loose and Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue, but because of the power of timing Pieces is being leveraged as her breakthrough CD.
You see I was in the audience last November at The Paradise Theater for BET’s epic production of the Black Girls Rock Awards Show. I watched Ledisi pull, pump and puncture the heck outta Nina Simone’s Four Women. Although the performance also featured Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius and Jill Scott, it was Ledisi who brought that brown baby home with her resounding exclamation, “My name is Peaches.” It was Ledisi who everyone was asking about and raving about at the end of the night. That night Ledisi had her Ricky Martin Grammy performance moment. She had arrived.
So it was no surprise that the large room was packed last night with old and new fans, media and music industry heads. Black Thought from The Roots, legendary singer Betty Wright, journalist Esther Armah, and BET exec Stephen Hill were all in the house to see this newly re-blossomed flower have her day in the sun. Along with “Pieces Of Me,” which is a midtempo steeped in traditional R&B and taken right out of Fantasia’s songbook (listen below), she also performed a few other new songs including “Simple”—a jazzy joint brimming with scats; “Shut Up”– a funky up-jump-the-boogie blast to all her naysayers and haters; and “Shine”—a bright uptempo reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s feel good classics about showing pride and repping for your lover.
But it was “Hate That You Love Me” that shut that bad boy down. This song is on some knee deep pop your collar type funk. The flow was pompous and Ledisi knew it and sashayed and pimped it out to the fullest. This was my favorite song and if the label plays its cards right, it will be this summer’s hit song. Check the video below for proof and on June 14th act like you know and get “Pieces Of Me.”