No matter how many years she has been in this industry, Syleena Johnson always stays fresh.
“I don’t feel dated,” she says. “As I write songs, I grow lyrically [and] the stories of my life are current with the times. I just can’t control how people view them.”
The R&B songbird first left an imprint on the music industry in the early 2000s, aligning herself with big names on wax early in her career such as Kanye West and R. Kelly. Though it has been a decade since “Hypnotic” and “All Falls Down” ran the radio rotations, Johnson is game for a reunion. “I’m open to it,” says Johnson. “No bridges have been burned and I would go back [and work with them], especially Jermaine Dupri, too.” She also approves of Yeezy’s recent Cruel Summer compilation. “I heard it in a club somewhere and it was off the chain!”
Though the duets are in the past, she has kept herself busy with her family, fitness DVDs and TV One reality show R&B Divas. Johnson reveals that she had no hesitations about doing the show, given the negative connotation that reality TV has portrayed women of color. “TV One is not about [that]. I was optimistic and you can’t put on TV what I don’t give you,” says Johnson. “Some of these [stars] use the shows as a platform. They act a fool and use the cameras to get as far as they can.”
Johnson continues to delve into unchartered territory, especially after releasing her first Acoustic Soul Sessions (Live) album (available on iTunes), featuring live renditions of her Chapter V cuts (which features an appearance from Tweet on “Angry Girl”) and a new single, “I Cut My Hair” off her upcoming project, Chapter VI.
Not only does she stay vocally fit, but the “Boss” singer stays physically sound too with her line of Mommy Got Soul workout DVDs for mothers. She dished her number one fitness tip: a daily tablespoon of MCT oil to burn carbs.
The entrepreneur is also getting ready to unveil her R&B group Lake Shore. Though she busies herself with an endless itinerary, her own music comes first and she guarantees she is not doing it for the fame and relevance. “Whoever likes it is who likes it,” says Johnson. “It’s music for the soul.”
Catch “R&B Divas” every Monday at 10/9c on TV One.