It seems like only yesterday that four girls from Houston stepped onto the music scene and No, No, Nod their way right up the charts with Wyclef Jean. LeToya Luckett was one of those girls. She was in the group for seven years, but as fate would have it, the pop spotlight with Destinys Child was short-lived for LeToya. After the split, she was left to mature and learn all too quickly about life's lessons, friendships, and the often ugly side of the music business.
In speaking with LeToya, there is not even a hint of animosity about the cards that she's been dealt. With a successful promotional mixtape, What It Do!, bumpin' in the "dirty" streets, and a self-titled debut album due out this Spring, Lady Luckett has been smiling in the face of destiny, making a name for herself as a solo artist and entrepreneur. After an attempt at a new girl group that didn't get off the ground, LeToya performed on the debut albums of Slim Thug and R&B singer Houston. Between the opening of a successful clothing boutique, moves to Atlanta and Los Angeles, modeling and acting coaches, and her new single and video "Torn" gaining momentum, there is simply no time to feel resentment this girl is grinding!
Since the time she was handed a microphone at the age of five, LeToya belted out her first solo, and as fate would have it, this Grammy-award winner has come full circle and is once again a solo act. There's a lot riding on the H-Town Chick - then again, "luck" is in her last name. AllHipHop.com Alternatives had the chance to kick it with introspective former "Child" about her musical journey past, present and future.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: Your first solo album is due out this Spring. Destiny's Child first broke up in 2000. Why such a long hiatus?
LeToya Luckett: Really, I was still working in between that time. A couple months after the incident with the "chiren," I formed a group along with [former Destinys Child member] LaTavia called Anjel, and we were working in a studio out of Atlanta. Unfortunately [with] the production company we were working with we weren't able to get the album out, so I decided to take it upon myself to move out to L.A. and basically shop a deal on my own. I went to some modeling agencies; I got an acting coach. I was just trying to get my hands in everything, girl. I was still in the studio. Then I met up with the production company out of Atlanta called Noontime, and we started working. We ended up coming up with five great songs and we shopped them around, and that's how I got signed to Capitol.
AHHA: You and LaTavia are very good friends still to this day, so what prompted you to go solo?
LeToya: She didn't want to do anything else in the entertainment business, and I wasn't going to pressure her to do anything else, so I just took it upon myself to go and get a solo deal. I mean that was never in my plan, it was nothing that I was excited to do but I was like, you know what I always loved music. I've been singing since I was five so why stop now? [Before] that I was able to open up a boutique in Houston; we're going into our third year, Lady Elle boutique, so I haven't stepped down.
AHHA: The mixtape is off the hook - I love the concept.
LeToya: Thank you!
AHHA: What made you decide to go the mixtape route instead of releasing the first solo project?
LeToya: Well, I wanted to start off with something in the streets and it just so happened one of my good friends, Brandi Garcia from Houston, who is one of the deejays on 97.9 The Box so we kind of got together and was like, Mmm let's do a ladies mixtape. You know the fellas always doing mixtapes, freestylin' and stuff like that. So we decided to come up with a mixtape of our own and we call [ourselves] The H-Town Chicks.
AHHA: As far as music, this is a great time for Houston, and I noticed you got a gang of hometown support for your new album. Tell us a little bit about who's on the album and your experience working with these H-Town superstars.
LeToya: You know I got my representatives Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Bun B, who I'm great friends with - they're like big brothers to me. They're always lookin' out. We would see each other of course in passing in Houston - it's a big city, but it's a small city. They were always checkin' up on me, and they were like, You coming out with your new album, I gotta get on it, let's do some collaborations, - and that's how they ended up being on the album. I was so excited [because] I'm so proud of them and the whole movement that they have going on. As far as producers, I have Jermaine Dupri, Scott Storch, Jazzy Pha, Teddy Bishop, who did my first single, and Just Blaze.
AHHA: Back in the day it used to be just the R&B group H-Town and The Geto Boys reppin' for Houston. Now you have artists like Mike Jones, Lil Flip, Slim Thug, Paul Wall - what kind of affect would you say music has had on the city of Houston overall?
LeToya: I'm so proud of it. I've been listening to this music since I was young. We had those young teenage clubs where you can go to the club at 14, 15 years old, and it was all about dancing; there was no violence and nobody was acting up in the street. It was all about sweating out the hair in the club, listening to the new music, so that was something that I had been doing since I was younger. I decided to make it a part of my album, and I am so glad that they're now getting their voices heard worldwide. That is just amazing to me. Of course The Geto Boys have been representing for so long, and it's Bun B, Pimp C they been in the game for a minute. Slim Thug's been representing for so many years now. And I'm glad that y'all are getting a taste of some of the new things that are coming out of H-Town.
AHHA: What about the vibe of the city has that changed?
LeToya: Yeah! It's kind of like a little Hollywood! The thing is I'm glad that H-Town has their own style. They don't copy. They still have their southern drawl. They're really representing for their hood. Like we have the north side, the south side; Lil' Flip being from the south side, Slim Thug being from the north side. It's like they're really giving y'all a taste of what really goes down in H-Town. They're not trying to be like somebody else. Everybody's doing things and I'm proud of it.
AHHA: Speaking of Slim Thug, he's been quoted as saying that you two are an item. Is there any truth to that?
LeToya: We were. Not any more.
AHHA: Good breakup? Still friends or what?
LeToya: You know we from the same city, were gonna see each other in passing. There's no hatin.
AHHA: You were a founding member of one of the most successful girl groups in music, but here you are back on the grind, kind of starting all over. In terms of your career, what goes through your mind on the way that your destiny went down?
LeToya: God works in mysterious ways. He does things for a reason, and I think that everything that took place was the way that He wanted, of course, for it to take place and I don't argue with that. I do miss the friendship, but at the same time He has blessed me with my own: my own gifts, I have my store and my album coming out. I never would've thought these things. You know you don't know His plan, and I never would've thought I could never have seen this coming. It's something that I'm glad happened to me; at the end of the day I've been able to grow as a person. I've been able to learn things at a very young age. It was a good experience all the way around.
AHHA: You own a clothing store in Houston, Lady Elle. Ironically, you carry [Beyonces line] House of Dereon, which makes me think everything is all good. What exactly is the relationship between the four original members, if there's a relationship at all?
LeToya: Well we see each other in passing. We congratulate each other on everything. Like I said, Beyoncé and I have a business relationship; I do carry House of Dereon in my boutique. Me and Ms. Tina [Knowles] have done interviews together. I go to MAGIC [in Las Vegas], and they show me all the new things. As a matter of fact Ms. Tina, Beyonce's mom, is who showed me the line. I didn't even know it was coming out. I was walking through the Pool Show in Vegas and I ran into Mathew and I'm like, What are you doing here? And I started to see all these pictures of Beyoncé and I'm like, Is her line about to come out? And it was. So Tina showed me all the line, they had some great stuff, and Lady Elle carries a few things.
AHHA: So it's pretty amicable between the four of you, you would say?
LeToya: Definitely! That was so many years ago. Everybody's doing their own thing. It's no hatin'.
AHHA: With this new project, all eyes are definitely on you and the expectations are pretty high. Do you feel like you have something to prove with this project, and if so, what?
LeToya: I think I do have something to prove, and that's just that people and things might try to get in your way, but as long as God is in your life, and you have a strong prayer life, you will always be able to fulfill your destiny. I think that I am definitely an example of that. I kept working, I kept my head up, and though people thought it was the end for me - but, you know, if I held my head down then I'd get the total opposite. I don't think I'm out here for, Oh yeah, I'm better than somebody. I can do this all by myself. Look at me. It was never like that. It was always something that I've always been in love with - I love music. I love singing, so I was just gonna keep on doing what I do.
AHHA: If you could change anything that's happened to you in the last 10 years, what would it be?
LeToya: Losing friendship. I think at a young age we didn't realize how important communication was, and I think if we would've been able to pull each other aside and kind of get things off our chest, I think a lot of things would've happened different. But at the same time, things happen for a reason. Beyoncé and Destiny's Child, they were very successful and I wish them all the success in the world. They've definitely been blessed. LaTavia and I have been blessed at the same time. So things happen for a reason, but I did regret not having the communication that we should've had.
AHHA: Tell us something about you that we don't know.
LeToya: Me? I'm a goofball! That is it! I'm not this little Ms. Thang with the attitude. I'm not that. I am goofy as they come.Watch LeToya's New Video "Torn"