LETOYA LUCKETT


It’s not always easy to break away from a celebrity pack, especially one as well-known as Destiny’s Child. As one of the original members of the girl group, LeToya Luckett found fame with the release of its first two albums, but in 2000, as their sophomore album “The Writing’s on the Wall” went multiplatinum, a management dispute led to Luckett and fellow member LaTavia Roberson being replaced by Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin.

While that may not have been Luckett’s chosen path to becoming a solo artist, it has informed her third solo album, “Back 2 Life,” out today. (Her first solo effort, “LeToya,” released in 2006, went platinum.)

It’s been seven years since Luckett has recorded music; after “LeToya” she began acting and has appeared in films “Killers,” “The Best Man,” the HBO series “Treme” and “Baller,” and Fox’s “Rosewood.”

“I’ve been trying to find a balance between all things in my life — personal, singing, acting,” she said. “I’m glad I took my time with this album because I did something different this time. I was able to talk about things I may not have felt comfortable talking about on my last two.”

Of singing about her fears and insecurities of being out on her own, Luckett said, “I’m not in that safe zone anymore. Stepping out my comfort zone has really paid off.”

The title single is currently number seven on the Billboard R&B charts and the first video in a three-part series with actor Thomas Q. Jones of “Being Mary Jane” already has four million views on YouTube.

“I wasn’t as confident before, but I don’t think God gives you anything you can’t handle, and if you have this gift, how dare you not explore it and share it,” she says. Luckett grew up singing in her church choir in Houston, where she met Beyoncé in elementary school.

“I’m such a team player, and I love being in a group setting. You’re used to looking to your left and right and someone being there. When you’re out there on your own, you’re like, ‘Oh, boy.’”

Luckett will soon be taking on leading lady status in a new Dionne Warwick biopic that begins filming this year.

“I’m so honored that she chose me,” she said of the legendary singer. “I’ll actually get to pick up the phone and call her if I’m wondering what went through her head during a scene.”

Luckett will also be singing and recording all of Warwick’s songs for the soundtrack. “I listened to her albums and tried to copy her a little bit. It’s like acting but for singing. That woman is a vocalist, so this is going to be a task.”

Today, she sees her role as that of advice-giver for a young generation. “My purpose is to share in any way what I learned, like, ‘Girl, I went through this, so now you don’t have to go through the same thing.’”

She also advises, “Don’t try and be like someone else. There is already a Michael Jackson, a Janet Jackson, a Beyoncé. You be you. And take advantage of the social media platform you have to share. That wasn’t around when I started out.”

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