LeToya Luckett | Southern Strength and Sass

Luckett was the star basketball player and I was definitely her personal cheerleader on the sidelines clapping, crying, and rooting for her.




Being from the South, I’ve realized that Southern artists exude a certain type of style, grace, and sassiness only gotten by growing up in that rich culture. I don’t know if it’s the food or the outpouring of Southern hospitality, but something I can’t quite put my finger on makes artists from the South that much more special. This one hails from Houston, Texas. A part of the original Destiny’s Child line up, she has since returned to the music scene bringing all that Southern sass to the public. Yes, I’m talking about LeToya Luckett.

When she released her 2006 debut LP, LeToya, featuring the well-received singles “Torn,” and “She Don’t,” I knew Luckett was about to change the game. I remember watching the making of her video on BET’s Access Granted, which took the viewer backstage for behind-the scenes insight on the artist. “Torn” told the story of a woman stuck in that icky gray area of a relationship where you want to leave but can’t—every time you think it’s over and done, he does something to make you fall back in love.

Of course, we’ve heard all the millions of break-up and “he did me wrong” songs, but it’s a rare occasion that a woman admits that she has one foot on either side of the fence and her decision keeps fluctuating. I adored Luckett’s songwriting skills, the way she could say all the right words to describe the moment and create the emotions and story around it. Listening to her voice, I just felt a difference; it wasn’t powerful, but it wasn’t weak either. It was a soft yet strong soprano with the right amount of range and variety in tone to keep me enthralled.

She had me hooked with “Obvious,” track 11 on LeToya. Maybe it’s because I love the story of a true struggle told through a song and its arrangement. This song was so great. She began with the question, “Have you ever felt like you’re the only one in love in your relationship?” And although I had no significant other or love interest when I initially heard this song, I found myself in that exact predicament three years later.

“See there’s a part of me that doesn’t want you here with me,” Luckett confessed. “There’s a part of me that wants to stick right with you / But it seems like you don’t want to put up a fight / And why should I even try ‘cause sometimes / Sometimes we want things that may not seem right for us / But when you’re in love you seem to look over the obvious / You’re not changing and I know that you love me / But this thing ain’t going the way I planned.”

I don’t know if she called God and asked for my personal history specifically, but her follow up LP, Lady Love, was so applicable to my life. The relationship previously referenced had ended and if there was a soundtrack to describe how I was feeling, this was definitely it. She led with one of my favorites, “Not Anymore,” then followed with “She Ain’t Got Shit On Me,” then finally “Regret.” At this point Luckett was the star basketball player and I was definitely her personal cheerleader on the sidelines clapping, crying, and rooting for her.

Lady Love was the perfect album that told the story of watching the one you love walk away and find another, knowing that replacement could never measure up to you and that the day would come when your former lover would want to be with you again. Of course by then it’ll be too late because you’ll already have moved on with somebody who will be good to you; you’re tired of being on that “Love Rollercoaster,” feeling “Drained,” and constantly shedding “Tears” over someone who just doesn’t “Matter”. Then after entirely walking away, you discover that you didn’t need him/her anyway. Yes, Luckett’s fire was blazing.

“Baby, I stayed with you so long that I lost myself / Now who would’ve thought someone so independent would become so damn submissive / And sometimes in the back of my mind I’ll be missing you, missing you / But I can get through this cause I do better, so much better,” she sang. “I’m ’a keep smiling, I’m ’a keep it moving / ‘Cause I don’t need you, don’t need you, don’t need you, don’t need you no more.”

How many times do we get into relationships and become completely consumed by them? Speaking for myself, it’s only happened once and I vowed to never do it again. I don’t hate him for what I became through the relationship but I wish things had been different. That I had set limits, had boundaries—but I didn’t, and I have no one to blame but myself for that. As Brian Keith Jackson said in his book, Queen of Harlem, “The most damaging wounds are self-inflicted.” And like Luckett chants, I learned how to be better, baby, because, “This heartbreak ends today / I’ll be moving on, and I won’t give up on love / I’ll keep on smiling.” That perfectly exemplifies how she has lived her life.

From her heartbreaking split with Destiny’s Child to her own solo success, LeToya Luckett is brown suga, simply because she knows this fact of life: that the only thing constant is change, and whether you move with it or not, life will go on. LeToya—for your musical brilliance, your Southern humility, and all that honest sass you’ve brought to my life and others, I thank you. I’ve heard your third album is in the works and trust; I will be waiting and watching as your greatness reaches the world.



I’ve shared my love affair now I want you to share yours. Email me at intern@playbackstl.com and tell me your story of how you fell in love with music.



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