You probably recognize Queens, NY singer Lea as Lil' Flip's Latina "baby girl" from his catchy 2004 single, "Sunshine." Seven years later, she's all grown up and ready to step on the scene under 50 Cent's G-Note Records. Since being pulled from her spotlight, she was shoved back into reality—the working world. Daunting? Of course. But like a true sun ray, Lea bounced back. Luckily, a chance meeting at her nighttime waitressing gig led to a call from the G-Unit camp and a deal with the softer-edged subsidiary.
With her new big-voiced single "November Skies" debuting today, Lea is prepared to reintroduce herself under the G-G-G-Note umbrella and, well, shine. —Niki McGloster
VIBE: Tell me about you new record "November Skies."
LEA: It has a couple of meanings. It can be able losing someone or just an ending of a relationship and the feelings that come along with that. And how to get through it.
"Sunshine" was a breakout track, and it's been while since then. Catch us up on the last seven years.
A lot has been going on. Within that time of the song, a lot of label politics happened, and unfortunately it played into me not being able to continue with my situation at the time. [It] also led me to wonder if I really should pursue music any further because it was a little bit defeating. I ended up taking up cocktail waitressing jobs and trying to figure out what my next step was going to be in life. I was hoping that with music, God would steer me in the right direction. I was kind of stuck in contracts at the time also, so trying to take care of that. When I was finally was able to get out of that, I had gotten a random phone call from a friend that someone from G-Unit was trying to locate me. It was like seven years later, and I hadn’t even spoken to the guy. He was one of the promoters from the clubs I worked at. He got me in touch with them, and that’s how the whole situation came about.
Was it specifically 50 Cent that was seeking you out for G-Note?
Not really. It was the A&R of the label. They have an artist named Hot Rod, and they needed a female for one of his songs. They got in touch with the promoter to find me, but after they met me and heard some of my old music, they were like, Let’s try to pursue something further, which was great.
To go back a little bit, you mentioned that your time away from music was defeating. Expand on some of the more difficult moments.
I guess the most difficult part was with "Sunshine." I was traveling a lot and going to all these great events, and people knew who I was because of the song. Getting use to not doing that was really hard. Having to go back to work after traveling was really defeating. Like, Now I have to go back to doing something what I hated doing.
Did you maintain your relationship with Lil Flip after touring with him?
No, because there was a lot of politics involved with a few of the people that we work with. We just didn’t speak immediately after.
That’s odd, it’s kind of strange that no relationship developed. You two probably spent a lot of time together, but there was nothing afterwards?
No, nothing. We kind of did spend a lot of time together, but I was also the only girl on the road. I kind of kept to myself. Here I am with all these rappers and his whole entourage, and it’s just me. It was more work than anything. It was like two co-workers working together.
Did you witness anything wild happening on the tour bus with Lil Flip?