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Letoya

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Letoya

LeToya Luckett
Luckett in 2009
Background information
Birth name LeToya Nicole Luckett
Also known as LeToya
Born (1981-03-11) March 11, 1981 (age 33)
Houston, Texas, United States
Genres R&B, soul, neo soul, hip-hop soul, hip-hop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, actress
Years active 1993–present
Labels Columbia (1997–2000)
Capitol (2002–present)
Associated acts Destiny's Child, Tank, Michelle Williams,Anjel
Website www.letoyaonline.com

LeToya Nicole Luckett (born March 11, 1981), known professionally as LeToya, is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She was an original member of the R&B group Destiny's Child, with whom she won two Grammy Awards and released many successful commercial recordings.[1][2][3]

She began her solo career after signing a record deal with Capitol Records. Her solo debut album, LeToya (2006), topped the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart in July 2006, and was certified platinum by the RIAA in December 2006. The single, "Torn", achieved records on BET's top ten countdown show 106 & Park. She was also named "One of the Best New Artists of 2006" by AOL and the "Top Songwriter of 2006" by ASCAP.[4] Luckett released a second solo album, Lady Love on 25 August 2009, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and also as No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Luckett has also made a name for herself as an actress. She was the star of the movie Preacher's Kid. She's part of the cast of the feature films Killers and From the Rough and had a recurring role on the second season of the HBO TV series Treme.

Music career

1981–1993: Early life and career

Luckett was born on March 11, 1981, in Houston, Texas. She grew up singing in her local Brentwood Baptist Church. She also took vocal lessons to become an opera singer. Her father, who was also a singer, was very proud of his daughter's vocal talents and tried to get her in the music business. Luckett is the oldest of two children. Luckett was given the chance to sing her first solo at the age of five. "The lady just gave me the mic one Sunday and I sang," she recalled.[5] Shortly thereafter, she joined the children's choir and began performing in plays at her elementary school. One day, she walked to her desk in class to find a girl sitting in her seat. Luckett asked her teacher to remove the girl from her assigned seat, who turned out to be Beyoncé Knowles. They later became friends, and she was invited to join Beyoncé's singing group.[6]

1993–2002: Destiny's Child and departure

Main article: Destiny's Child

In 1993, LeToya Luckett joined Beyoncé Knowles, LaTavia Roberson, and Kelly Rowland to complete the Houston-based R&B group, Destiny's Child. After being signed and later dropped by Elektra Records, the group eventually signed with Columbia Records in 1997, but not before signing with Matthew Knowles the group's manager (and also Beyoncé Knowles' father). According to the E! Television Special, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Knowles forced the girls to sign with him before they could sign with the label. Luckett's mother requested the contracts be reviewed by an attorney, but Knowles denied the request. However, Luckett eventually signed with him and joined the group.[7] After graduating from the Houston club scene, the group opened for established acts such as Dru Hill, SWV, and Immature, and released their 1998 self-titled debut album Destiny's Child. The album spawned two singles: the platinum "No, No, No Part II" (featuring Wyclef Jean) and "With Me". The group was featured on the Why Do Fools Fall in Love soundtrack with the song "Get on the Bus" (featuring Timbaland), and later toured as an opening act on TLC's "Fanmail Tour" and Christina Aguilera's debut tour.

In 1999, the group released their second album, The Writing's on the Wall. The album became one of the biggest selling albums released by a female group, and was certified eight times platinum in the USA. The album spawned four hit singles: "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Bug a Boo", "Say My Name", and "Jumpin' Jumpin'". In late 1999, in the midst of the group's rising success, Luckett and Roberson advised their management that they wanted their own manager because of the increasing lack of communication with the group's manager Matthew Knowles. The pair said they never wanted to fire Knowles, but they wanted to secure outside management to represent them. Soon after, Luckett and Roberson found themselves ostracized by the Knowles family and the group they helped create.[8][9] When the "Say My Name" music video debuted in February 2000, they were replaced by two new members, Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. Luckett and Roberson filed a lawsuit against Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, charging them with breach of partnership and fiduciary duties, and sought unspecified damages. Luckett and Roberson withdrew the case against Beyoncé and Kelly, but continued to sue Matthew Knowles. The case was eventually settled, with Luckett and Roberson receiving royalties for their contributions as founding members of the group. Shortly following the release of Destiny's Child's Survivor, Luckett and Roberson filed another lawsuit against the group in March 2002. They claimed that the album's lead single, "Survivor", violated their previous settlement due to its lyrics.[10]

After several months of media speculation, it was announced via the MTV News website that Luckett and Roberson had created a new group called Anjel.[11] After several auditions, Naty Quinones and Tiffany Beaudoin were selected as members. The group recorded a 22-song demo in Atlanta, Georgia, with the help of R&B group Jagged Edge.The group also appeared in Jagged Edge's video for "Where the Party At (Remix)". Unfortunately, their production company (581 Entertainment) which handled the group collapsed and all the members of Anjel went on to pursue solo projects. However, the recorded tracks were leaked onto the Internet.

2003–2007: Solo ventures and LeToya

After the Angel project fell through, Luckett joined with Noontime, an Atlanta-based management/production company. Along with Noontime, she recorded a five song demo and eventually signed with Capitol Records in 2003. Soon after, she began working on her debut solo album. The first promotional song, "You Got What I Need", was released in 2004, followed next year by "All Eyes on Me". She was featured on "My Promise" with her label mate Houston on his debut album It's Already Written, "What Love Can Do" on the Coach Carter soundtrack, and on "This Is My Life" with former boyfriend and rapper Slim Thug on his album Already Platinum. LeToya's self-titled debut album was released on July 2006 and debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, outselling the compilation Now That's What I Call Music! and Pharrell Williams's debut album. The album was certified gold after one month and by December 2006, the album had been certified platinum. Luckett and Beyoncé Knowles are the only members of Destiny's Child to have an album debut at number one on the Billboard 200 and achieve platinum status in the U.S.[12][13][14] With Luckett being marketed as "The H-Town Chick", the album featured hip-hop inspired R&B production. Producers on the album included Jermaine Dupri, Scott Storch, Teddy Bishop, B. Cox, and musical guests Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Bun B. "All Eyes on Me" was originally chosen as Luckett's debut single, but she selected "Torn" instead. Luckett stated she "had to go against the grain" to get the single released, but it proved to be a good move. The ballad (produced by Teddy Bishop) was released March 2006 and became an R&B hit. The song climbed the Billboard charts, peaking at number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and became the number one song on urban radio.

"Torn" (2006)
noicon
LeToya's most successful single to date.

"She Don't" (2006)
noicon
LeToya's second single from her self-titled debut album LeToya.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Although Torn was still receiving major airplay, her second single, "She Don't" was released to radio, and the video premiered on BET's Access Granted in July 2006, featuring Luckett's ex-boyfriend, Slim Thug. The single received moderate success, reaching number 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. In November 2006, "Obvious" was selected as the third single. According to Billboard, the song had a 94% chance of becoming a hit, but due to the merger of Capitol Records and Virgin Records, all promotional money was frozen, therefore the single was never officially released.[15] Luckett was also named "One of the Best New Artists of 2006" by AOL Music, number two on Rap-Up magazines' Top 5 Breakthrough Artists of 2006, and had received multiple nominations from the NAACP, the Soul Train Music Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards. BET promoted Luckett heavily on 106 & Park, The Center, The Black Carpet, and with a three-part reality series special called The H-Town Chick which aired from May to July 2006. The series chronicled Luckett's experiences during her summer promotional tour and insight about her life since Destiny's Child. BET also hosted a contest that gave fans the opportunity to decide the final outcome of the "Torn" video. Cingular hosted a lip-sync contest that awarded those who best performed "Torn" in an online submitted video.[16] In addition to a nationwide radio tour, club performances, a brief European and Asian appearances, Luckett participated in the 2006 "Pantene Total You" Tour, the "Cingular Live in Concert" series, and was invited by Mary J. Blige to join her summer tour, The Breakthrough Experience Tour, as her opening act.[17][18][19]

2008–2010: Lady Love

Main article: Lady Love (album)

In July 2009, while opening for a Mary J. Blige concert, Luckett announced that her upcoming album was going to be named Lady Love, she then introduced and performed two new songs "Lady Love" and "Don't Let Me Get Away". On 10 December (?), a buzz track, Swagger, that features rappers such as Slim Thug, Killa Kyleon and Bun B leaked onto the Internet. In 2008, Luckett was featured on Webbie's single "I Miss You" which was a moderate success. She did not appear in the video because she was busy acting in the nationwide play Rumors.

Luckett's second solo album was released on 25 August 2009[20] Production for Lady Love originally began in 2007, with a release scheduled several times in 2008. However, due to the fusing of Capitol Records and Virgin Records, funding for many artists was frozen until the completion of the merger, affecting not only the release of Lady Love but also the release of "Obvious", the third single from Luckett's self-titled debut album.[21] In early 2009, the release date for Lady Love was announced to be May 19, 2009, then pushed to June 16, and finally set to August 24, 2009.[22][23] Amidst much anticipation for the album release, Luckett released a five-track sampler on May 19, 2009.[24] The sampler features first single "Not Anymore" and 1 minute 30 second snippets of "Regret", "She Ain't Got...", "Lady Love" and "Matter".[25] The album was released to CD and music download on August 25, 2009, in the US and worldwide a day earlier. An explicit version of the album is also available and bears a Parental Advisory label. To celebrate the album's release, LeToya hosted an album-release party at Cain in New York on August 27, 2009.[26] "Not Anymore", the lead single, was produced by Bei Maejor and co-produced and written by Ne-Yo. Released in February 2009,[27] it became the most added song at urban radio, debuting at number ninety-eight on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart before peaking at number eighteen and just missing the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at number 107. A music video for the single was shot on February 13, 2009. Directed by Bryan Barber, the music video is set in the 1960s and is split into 3 sections/time periods - 1961, 1964 and 1968. The sets, costumes and props change accordingly in each section to show the trends, fashions and styles of those particular years.[28] The video was released on March 10, 2009, and peaked at number three on the 106 & Park video countdown. "She Ain't Got..." the album's second single, was produced by Cory Bold and written by LeToya, Andre Merritt, Chris Brown and Bold. Chosen by fans,[29] it became the first LeToya single to carry a Parental Advisory label, though a "clean" version was also released. It became the most added song on rhythmic radio, thus peaking at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart, while peaking at number seventy-five on the Billboard Pop 100 Airplay chart and number twenty on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. However, the single was most successful in Japan where it peaked at number forty-nine on the Japan Hot 100. A music video, directed by Bryan Barber was shot on June 3, 2009 and premiered on Yahoo Music on June 30, 2009, featuring guest star Major League Baseball players Orlando Hudson and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as Baseball Hall of Fame member Dave Winfield.[30][31] "Regret", featuring rapper Ludacris, was produced by Tank and Jerry "Texx" Franklin and written by Tank, LeToya, Franklin, K. Stephens, J. Valentine, R. Newt and C. Bridges. Released as the third single - based only on downloads and airplay - "Regret" peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and debuted at number one-hundred on the Billboard Hot 100, making it LeToya's first single since her debut; "Torn", to enter the US Hot 100, peaking at number seventy-eight. It also peaked at number forty-two on the Billboard Radio Songs chart and was listed at number six on AOL Music's "Top R&B Songs of 2009" list.[32] The music video for "Regret" was premiered on BET's 106 & Park on November 11, 2009 before being ranked at number twenty-three on BET: Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2009 countdown. "Good To Me", produced by Tank and Jerry "Texx" Franklin and written by Tank, Franklin, K. Stephens, R. Newt and J. Valentine, was released as the album's fourth and final single. Though the song failed to chart, a music video directed by makeup artist AJ Crimson and co-starring model-actor Keston Karter was released on February 11, 2010.[33][34][35]

Lady Love received generally positive reviews from critics. Samantha Greaves of Examiner.com described the album as "very diverse", listing "Take Away Love" as "One of the gems on Lady Love" and praised "LeToya's ability to think out the box and to bring to R&B music something different than the vast majority".[36] Meanwhile, Timothy Michael Carson of About.com praised LeToya's "versatility" and "soft soprano vocals", but wrote that "many of the songs tend to sound alike" and so "Lady Love can quickly become a tiresome listen". Carson commented that "LeToya's vocals are what kept [him] replaying the album over", lending particularly praise to the tracks "I Need a U" and "Don't Need U" - which he named "LeToya's best recording to-date" - before describing the album as a "great listen".[37] Nathan S. of DJBooth.net also gave a particularly favorable review of "I Need a U", which he described as a "breathy and burning track that should set the sheets on fire". Nathan also lended praise to LeToya's "fierce personality" on the "remarkable" "She Ain't Got...". However, he noted, "Lady Love isn't a perfect album" and, "at times it feels uninspired and overly deliberate" but wrote, "it's clearly the work of a woman coming into her own as an artist" and so promised that he is "not going to attach a “formerly of Destiny's Child” onto LeToya Luckett's name. She will finally be, simply, 'LeToya'. She's earned it".[38] Andy Kellman of Allmusic gave a more mixed review however, describing the album as being "just as scattered and uneven as LeToya's self-titled debut", but noted that there are no "shortage of high points", listing; "Regret", the "pummeling, startlingly brash" "She Ain't Got..." and "the melancholy" "Take Away Love" as particular stand-outs.[39] On the contrary, Diana Ayok of SoulCulture rated the album 3.5 out of 5, noting it as "better and stronger than [LeToya's] first self titled album" and heralded it as "a genuinely impressive album" that she "would recommend" "to any R&B lover".[40] In the US, Lady Love opened with first week sales of 32,900 copies, debuting at the top of the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, replacing Ledisi's Turn Me Loose, on September 12, 2009, where it spent a total of thirty-two weeks and number twelve on the Billboard 200, where it spent a total of twelve weeks.[41][42] Though fairly successful commercially, the album failed to match or better the sales or chart performance of its predecessor and did not chart outside of the United States. As of April 2010, the album has sold 133,000 on US.[43]

Webisodes

LeToya has had two Series of herself on YouTube, In 2006 she did H-Town Chick and in 2012 she is doing Love, Life & Music.

2006: H-Town Chick

Three episodes of herself in 2006 about her explaining about herself in Destiny's Child and also about her first Self-Titled album LeToya

2012: Love, Life & Music

In 2012, LeToya has been doing episodes on YouTube called Love, Life & Music while working her third album.

Acting career

Luckett's first role on television was on the WB show Smart Guy in 1998 with Destiny's Child.[44][45] She also had an appearance in the movie Beverly Hood in 1999.[46]

Since 2008, Luckett has been acting in plays and movies. She was part of the cast of JD Lawrence's stage play Rumors, as the character Michelle. She hit the road from January 31, 2008 to March 2, 2008.[47]

Luckett was the star of the movie Preacher's Kid, which was released in January 2010.[48]

She appeared in the movie Killers, released 4 June 2010, along with Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck and Usher.

Luckett finished shooting the movie From the Rough along with Taraji P. Henson and Tom Felton.

For the 2nd season, Luckett was cast in the HBO drama series Treme.[49][50]

Luckett has been a student at Tasha Smith's acting workshop.

Luckett has landed a recurring role on VH1 television series Single Ladies

Filmography

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Smart Guy Herself "A Date With Destiny" (season 3, episode 10)
2011–Present Treme Alison (season 2-3, recurring, 9 episodes)
2013 For Richer or Poorer Kya (TV movie, Star) (6 episodes, TV gospel-play series)
Second Generation Wayans Rochelle (season 1, regular) Single Ladies Felicia Price (season 3)
Film
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Beverly Hood Girl # 3 Minor
2010 Preacher's Kid Angie Star
Killers Amanda Supporting
2012 From the Rough Becky Supporting
Note To Self Paula Whittaker Supporting

Personal life

Endorsements

In 2010, Luckett became the new face of Keyshia Cole. She appears on the product line's boxes, billboards and commercials.

Lady L Boutique

Luckett is the owner of Lady L Boutique. She originally opened this successful clothing boutique in 2003 in the Uptown Park shopping center in her hometown of Houston, Texas as "Lady Elle Boutique" but renamed it to "Lady L Boutique". The store is an upscale women's boutique. She has opened a second location in The Galleria in Houston, Texas.

Philanthropy

During the post first solo album era, Luckett also became involved in philanthropic activity. She has been participating in various events like the "Women in Entertainment Empowerment Summit".[51] She was part of the national tour of the "Hip-Hop Summit Action Network ‘Get Your Money Right’ a Financial Empowerment Summit."[52]

She visits schools to motivate and encourage kids to study and to further their education after graduation. She also speaks on the subject of violence and domestic abuse.[53]

Discography

Albums

Awards and nominations

1998-2001 Solo:

  • Celebrities' Choice Award
    • Best Music Video: "Torn" (nominated)(2006)
  • Groovevolt Music Awards
    • Best R&B Female Performance: "Torn"(2006)

References

External links

  • Internet Movie Database


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