R&B and jazz singer Ledisi portrayed gospel legend Mahalia Jackson in the movie "Selma." In the film, she comforts an anxious Martin Luther King Jr. with an arresting version of "Take My Hand, Precious Lord." Ledisi has been out on tour for her new album, "The Intimate Truth," and speaks with Here & Now's Robin Young.
On her start and influences in music and singing
"You know, a lot of people think because I sing gospel music - I’m not a gospel artist, but because I know gospel music - that I grew up in a church and I didn’t. I grew up around church people. My mother was a hippie, more so. She sang rock and folk and R&B music. So I grew up listening to the complete opposite, more secular music. But I had a great aunt that sang just like Mahalia Jackson and she would play her music. Her song was ‘Walk Around Heaven All Day,’ that was her spiritual that they would call my Great Aunt Gussie to sing, and that’s how I was introduced to Mahalia Jackson, through Gussie."
"I’m in my purpose and I’m understanding my power."
On how she feels about her career
"I’m so elated that every year something amazing happens every time I put out an album, and it lets me know that I’m on the right track and I’m in my purpose and I’m understanding my power and I’m living in it and I’m having a great time."
"I’m so comfortable in my own skin. People are accepting my diversity and music. I have nothing to complain about, and I’m able to just be me. I’m happy. I’m self aware. I understand my power, and I’m having a fun time. I can’t complain about any of this, whether it went my way or it didn’t go my way, it’s a way."
Songs In This Segment
- Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" performed by Ledisi
- Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" performed by Mahalia Jackson
- Ledisi, "Like This"
- Ledisi, "The Truth"
This segment aired on April 13, 2015.