Lea Talks Life After Lil Flip, Advice From 50 And Unleashing Her Real Vocals

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John Kennedy / October 13, 2011

Did you witness anything wild happening on the tour bus with Lil Flip?
Typical girls throwing themselves at everybody. There wasn’t really a lot of parties on the tour bus, but I was young then too, so I just tried to stay away from it. You know, like panties on the I doorknobs, girls hanging outside the hotel rooms, all that crazy stuff.

Okay, let’s talk present day. What would you say is the best thing about being on G- Note records?
I think it’s great. I’m working with somebody that has such a drive. The fact that [50 Cent] believes in me is great. To have me be apart of this brand’s new label and be the first female artist on the label feels really good. Everybody that I work with is so humble and starting together feels good rather than being on a huge label with eight million artists and you get lost in the cut. This is great. It feels like it’s a family. You’re able to speak to people one-on-one. 

So you’ve you met everyone from the other G-Unit crew?
Yeah. I travel with them. When we travel together it can be hard because people are always following them. It’s like the last situation where I’m surrounded by a bunch of guys, so I try to stay with my little team. But it is pretty cool [that] they look out for me. 50 is always looking out and making sure that I have everything that I need. It’s like having big brothers around. They’re hilarious, they crack you up [and] it feels like a family party.

What’s the relationship between you and 50? Is there anything that he has taught you that stands out?
Actually we spoke a lot, like backstage at shows, and he knows what I’ve been through because he’s been through it himself. If you watch any interview or videos of the past, he’s been in label situations where he couldn’t get out of. He had to pay his dues, and he had to wait—it looked very defeating. So he knows where I’m coming from, and that’s comforting that they know exactly what I’ve been through.

Is there anything specifically that he has said to you that you remember?
It’s little tidbits of advice here and there. What I do learn is not by speaking but by watching him. You can see that he is such a humble person. When I first met him I was really really nervous, cause this guy is huge. He has millions of dollars, and he’s a huge rapper and you have these preconceived notions. Then you meet him, and he’s a completely regular person. You would have never expected it. I just learn by watching him how someone in his position should act. If I were in that position I would want to follow in his footsteps and be the type of person that he is.

What sound can we expect from you now? Will it be the same “Sunshine” sound, or is it going in a different direction?
It’s probably a different direction. In “Sunshine,” I really wasn’t singing much. If you listen to “Sunshine,” my vocals are very breathy and airy. Now, I’m actually being pushed to sing the way I grew up singing. My inspiration was Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and people with big voices. With all these years that have passed, and I’m a little older, I’m able to be a little bit more confident in my voice. I’m singing a lot more now, so I’m trying to have a powerful balance to show off that I can actually sing.

Are there any particular songwriters that you’re working with now or that you want to work with?
Right now I’m working with a lot of up and comers, and I really like that. I’m working with Ken Lewis; he did “November Skies.” He’s a very talented producer and songwriter.

Is your sound pop or R&B? How would you try to categorize it?
I’ve been having trouble with that question. I’m trying to make a sound that’s comfortable, and I don’t want to make it too crazy because then people will be like, ‘What the heck is this girl trying to do?’ I’m trying to experiment but also put this whole sound together probably closer to the pop side.

Do you have any dream collaborations in mind that you’d love to work with?
Ne-Yo is a really amazing songwriter; he’s really talented. I’m not going to lie: Marc Anthony. I really love him! If I did a Latin or Spanish song, I would do it with him. I’ve been listening to him since I was little. I also really like Ryan Tedder from One Republic.

Is there anything you want your fans to know or get from this album?
Just to expect something different. I’m hoping that they will like it, it’s not going to be urban or have any rappers on it, It’s just going to be me. It’s kind of nerve-racking because it will be just me. I’m just hoping that they can take it for what it is and understand and like it. I am just happy that I have some people who waited six to seven years and asking where I have been and what I’m have been doing. That’s what I’m thankful and grateful for.

Do you have an idea of when the album will be out?
Probably sometime early next year. That’s just me talking off the top of my head. That’s what I hope.

Can people follow you on Twitter?
They can follow me on Twitter, it’s @LeaQSunshine.