Stars have come and go, risen and fallen, made history and opened the doors for many. LaDeana Michelle became inspired and was taught life lessons from two of soul/R&B’s pioneers. She used their success and down falls as an example to help strengthen her music career’s foundation and humanitarian work. With her soulful voice and songwriting skills LaDeana is now paving her own way to success. SayWhatNews had the pleasure getting to know this strong, intelligent artist/businesswoman:
SayWhatNews: Good morning LaDeana. Thanks for waking up early this morning and speaking with SayWhatNews. Tell us who is LaDeana Michelle?
LaDeana: LaDeana Michelle is a knowledge-thirsty, natural-born leader, who marches to the beat of her own drum, with great compassion for fellow man. She was a 10+ year vegetarian, but is now a full vegan; ecstatic to boost self-improvement up yet another notch.
Many know her as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, arranger, composer, actress, screenwriter, print model, designer, poet, author and savvy businesswoman. However, LaDeana Michelle is an avid youth sports supporter, volunteer, and humanitarian, pushing towards the ultimate goal of helping the homeless, abused, underprivileged youth and starving children worldwide. Her other true passions besides music, are the writing/production of films and building businesses.
SayWhatNews: Now, LaDeana, you “unofficially” started your professional music career roughly three years ago. What made you finally decide to get out there and make it happen?
LaDeana: The rise of Barack Obama as President actually launched my series of EP releases. My song, “Keep Your Faith, dedicated to Obama, was originally leaked and just happened to gain mass popularity. We “officially” released it, per public demand and it ended up becoming the official Inauguration Song. My forthcoming debut album will truly mark what we call the “official” release.
SayWhatNews: So at what age did you discover you had the gift of song?
LaDeana: I was about 5 years old, on a local TV show for kids. I was in my room alone, after that, when I figured it out – but I wouldn’t tell anybody else. Why I wouldn’t say anything right away, I will never know!
SayWhatNews: You are the prodigy and relative of the great Sam Cooke and Eddie Kendricks (Temptations). Tell us how these two music legends inspired you to become the artist you are today?
LaDeana: Eddie Kendricks, was most definitely not born rich, but rose to success with one of the greatest singing groups of all time. Sam Cooke was not only one of the greatest founders of soul music but he was a businessman. He was one of the first black performers to own the rights to his music and to form his own recording and publishing company. I feel if they could do it, what should stop me? I have the blood of true leaders! With humble pride, I strive to be a strong businesswoman and a unique pioneer. If people are walking in through the front door, I’m walking in through the back, or from some trapdoor in the floor. Either way, I’m determined to get in, independently.
SayWhatNews: LaDeana, you are a singer, songwriter and composer. Have you had any professional training?
LaDeana: Not other than on the flute and a bit on the clarinet. Otherwise, I am pretty much self-taught on nine different instruments and on singing, songwriting and composing. I have a photographic memory and I learn best by watching, imitating and jumping right in and attacking something. I don’t let fear get in my way – I just go for it! You’d better keep a set of earplugs when you are around me with a new instrument – that is – until I get it going.
SayWhatNews: Songwriting is not easy to do. Tell us how you, as an artist, get in the zone to write and what inspires you?
LaDeana: See, that’s what’s weird. Life inspires me. I don’t even have to be thinking about anything. It’s not just lyrics that show up; entire songs sneak up on me. For instance, last night, at 4am, an entire song literally woke me up out of my sleep. I am not a morning person. However, I had to get up and not only write down all the words, but hum what the music should be into my cell phone. Luckily I did, because when I woke up hours later, I had no memory of what I recorded!
SayWhatNews: Your 5th CD Baby release “Glaze” is all about love and is part of your “3rd Annual Love Quarter” campaign. Tell us about the album and what inspired this campaign that promotes love, social awareness and unity.
LaDeana: The “Love Quarter” campaign was inspired by my humanitarian efforts that began years ago, with saving the life of a very broken homeless man. This man became a successful business owner, after literally living on the streets. Everyone who passed him on the streets merely gave him a fish to eat for the day. I was the one who taught him HOW to fish so he could eat for a lifetime.
The campaign yields positively; purposely set for the beginning of each year (January through March) to serve as a New Year’s reminder to people that all is not lost. Love indeed still exists! It is further required to unify, unleash selfishness and become more socially aware in order to help others. My slogan, “Changing Lives One Day At A Time”, is my exact endeavor. With the release of “Glaze”, I wanted people to remember love. If any of the songs from the release helped somebody do that, I’ve met my goal!
SayWhatNews: LaDeana, you are known for your slow jams but have recently switched up the tempo and recorded some dance/club music. What inspired the change?
LaDeana: Actually, this is not a change. This is merely a beginning to show the rest of the world! When Tupac Shakur was alive, the reason he branded me “Worldwide”, was because I began writing and producing hardcore rap songs for others, while my “version” of R&B was more hip-hop. I just happen to love slow songs, which work well with my “Love Quarter” campaign. However, I haven’t even scratched the surface on what I want the world to hear!
SayWhatNews: LaDeana your music is being played all over the world. For example, your single, "More Than Friends" is currently spinning on the radio in the U.S., U.K. and Germany and was rated #1 on two top Urban/R&B Charts and placed you as a top 25 overall artist out of 4 million. How does it make you feel as an artist that people are enjoying your music?
LaDeana: It is truly a great feeling to know that somebody out there is listening and relating to my delivered messages.
SayWhatNews: It just doesn’t stop at making hit singles. You have done jingles for Coca Cola, Pepsi, American Express, Mastercard, Budweiser, Burger King and more. Tell us about that process of getting the job and making the jingle.
LaDeana: Jingles have always come easy to me; mainly because of my strong background in sales and marketing. I also write full advertising commercials, as well. I have spent many more years as a consumer than as a commercial advertiser, so I know how to “think outside the box” and weight out both spectrums. I usually complete anywhere from 2-3 jingles per day during a busy schedule and up to 5 per day, depending on complexity.
SayWhatNews: LaDeana you have been nick-named “The Female R. Kelly” because of your sexy, sweet, sensational sound. What goes through your mind when you hear that?
LaDeana: I can only be honored, as R. Kelly’s sound as a producer and overall artist is distinctive. He is phenomenal at what he does. My production and overall sound being compared to his is a very good thing!
SayWhatNews: You are partnered with Universal Music Group. How did that partnership come to be?
LaDeana: That was a rumor. Not sure how that got started. However, I was thinking of partnering with them for the release of my debut album. I am still kicking that around. (wink)
SayWhatNews: Your single “Believe” received the most hits recorded by Urban Scene online magazine. Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with in the future and why?
LaDeana: I would love to collaborate with R. Kelly and again, separately, with John Mayer on several of my upcoming movie soundtracks. I love music with feeling. All write music that comes from a place within. I know we’d have strong production chemistry from beginning to end. Rap artists I’d add would undoubtedly add are Eve, Ludacris, Missy Elliott and Eminem – all favorites of mine for years.
SayWhatNews: After the tragic death of Michael Jackson, you wrote the song, “Rare” a memorial tribute to the legend. Why did you as an artist feel the need to pay homage to such an icon?
LaDeana: Years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael. I am very perceptive when it comes to people. Even though millions loved him, who truly understood his pain of being “alone” in a crowded room? Unshakable focus and unyielding determination leave many behind, almost naturally. The title “Rare” described Michael perfectly. His many years of dedication to excellence earned him that title. I was very happy to give it to him with the gift of song!
SayWhatNews: Your music has spiced up genres from R&B, Neo-Soul, Pop, Gospel, House, Hip-Hop to Adult Contemporary music and more. What’s next for LaDeana Michelle?
LaDeana: On the business front, I am looking forward to the worldwide release of my debut album, several feature films, a new book series, various real estate development projects and the launch of a new store. On the humanitarian front, I am looking forward to working on foundation-based programs to assist the youth and the elderly, while partnering to speak out against domestic violence.
Will I be changing lives one day at a time? You can bet on it.