Nina Simone released me to Ledisi. I’ve been performing on a undertaking devoted to Ms. Simone’s audio, and from the very commencing my producer has been telling me about Ledisi’s tribute album to Simone. It sounded intriguing — a powerhouse R&B and jazz singer spending homage to an artist whose music provided her a lifeline in a time of crisis. And then, previous thirty day period, Ledisi Sings Nina came out. As before long as I read the to start with riveting notes of the opening observe, “Experience Fantastic,” I realized that Ledisi is an artist totally herself, who states what she demands to say, in her individual way, no subject what it usually takes.
Simone fought a lonely, unrelenting struggle to be herself. It was unimaginably difficult, exhausting and finally self-harmful. But her combat improved the earth and still left guiding a legacy that proceeds to transform any listener who encounters her seem, the uncooked, electric power of her voice and her musical choices. Extra than nearly anything, her wrestle designed way for her musical descendants, for a lineage of artists like Ledisi who are extremely hard to outline, to predict or incorporate.
My discussions in this movie collection have persistently circled two central themes: lineage and neighborhood. In this time of reckoning and reimagining, Black artists have been leaning into gratitude for the musical ancestors who birthed us, recognizing the electrical power of our family members ties with our fellow artists, and pulling together to welcome a brighter new working day for the future technology.
It is really by no means straightforward to be oneself. But when you come across your men and women — the types who see you, know you, keep you up and fly with you on this journey — at least it really is not so lonely. For Ledisi, Nina Simone is a presence at her back, and at the identical time a guiding mild on her journey.