Known and loved by fans for her honesty, the multiple Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi has always focused on a sense of self, purpose and peace. “Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power” (Time Home Entertainment Inc.,$16.95) is an innovative writing debut filled with the singer’s personal photos, quotes, lyrics and richly detailed stories of the musician’s journey to acceptance of her beauty, talent and power.
Published in collaboration with Essence magazine, “Better Than Alright” is chockful of meditations, musings, poetry and deeply personal essays. Ledisi also contributes many of the dazzling images that illuminate the text.
“Before I started working on this album and book, I had to figure out what I wanted to offer, not only musically, but also spiritually, emotionally and intellectually,” explained the songstress. “That meant I had to finally embrace the totality of me. Now, I see the greatness in me and that I have much to offer this world.”
Born in New Orleans and raised in Oakland, Calif., (where she says she developed ambition, drive and an appreciation for the opera, gospel and R&B), Ledesi struggled for years. After constant rejection from various record companies, she and a partner formed their own label and released two independent albums, both of which garnered national attention and landed her a major label deal with Verve in 2007. Her success continued with her sixth studio album, “Pieces of Me,” was released on June 14, 2011. It debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 Charts, selling 38,000 in its first week. The album’s title track served as the album’s lead single. Ledisi’s sixth studio album, “Pieces of Me,” debuted last year at number 8 on the Billboard 200 Charts, selling 38,000 in its first week. The album’s title track served as the album’s lead single.
Described as having a mix of Tina Turner’s energy, Nina Simone’s brilliance and Ella Fitzgerald’s range, Ledisi has performed at the White House three times at the behest of President and Mrs. Obama. Fans of the singer’s anthems such as “Pieces of Me” and “Bravo,” Ledisi’s recently-released single, will enjoy the uplifting and colorful tone of “Better Than Alright.” Over the years Essence has introduced a wide range of African American authors from Bebe Moore Campbell to recent National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward (“Salvage the Bones”).
“Ledisi is a rare jewel to us,” said Constant White, Essence editor-in-chief. “She first wowed us with her incomparable voice during our Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon a few weeks back and hasn’t stopped since. We then realized there was so much love and power in her lyrics. it was a natural progression for us to collaborate with her on this project. ‘Better Than Alright’ captures Ledisi’s heart, soul and truth. we know that our readers will find peace, love and power in their own lives inspired by this new literary voice. Ledesi can write. She’s a gifted storyteller.”
Readers searching for rich personal tales enveloped in vibrant prose will also enjoy this beautiful book’s meditations, musings, poetry and deeply personal essays.
“Better Than Alright” hits bookstores everywhere on June 5. For more details or to pre-order a copy, visit essence.com/betterthanalright. The Literary Cafe presents Ledisi on June 6 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.