Your third and latest album, Back To Me did very well its debut week on the charts. What are some of your favorite songs?
I love all of them. ‘Even Angels,’ ‘I’m Here’ from The Color Purple—I don’t listen to it too much because it makes me cry. ‘Bittersweet’ is my baby too, but I really love all of them, I really do. Some of the songs on the album were recorded before I went thru this stuff. That’s when it got spiritual for me. Listening to Even Angels coming out of the hospital and listening to the words, it was just spiritual. We took three years to do this album and it turned about to be a reflection of all I went thru. ‘Teach Me’ reminds me of Tina Turner, because I love Tina Turner. I liked how they recorded her albums. So for ‘Move On Me’ and ‘Teach Me’— we recorded them live in the studio with the background singers and it gave me such a rush, I loved it.
Speaking of Tina Turner, in her autobiography, I, Tina she detailed her failed suicide attempt to get away from Ike. I think there are definite parallels between the two of you. You’re both women performers who chose desperate measures to try to escape dark periods of your life. Is that how you look at it?
I’ve been doing this thing by myself for six years. Been sued by my father, I almost lost my career several times. And when I left out of the lawyer’s office that day [after learning she was being sued by Antwaun’s Fisher’s wife] I turned and looked at my manager and said I feel like I’m about having a nervous breakdown. And his response to me was you got it, you can do it, you’re strong. The same thing I’ve been hearing for six years. For so long I’ve had to deal with that—taking licks, having to swallow them and then go walk out the door and put on a smile like everything was okay and at that moment, that day. I just couldn’t take it anymore—it just became too heavy for me.
But you do realize with the timing of everything there are still people who think this was a trumped up publicity stunt to get sympathy for your side of the scandal, sell records or get more viewers for your show.
I almost messed my kidneys up with my O.D. I had to have all these needles and IVs and now I have to go to the doctors regularly to check on my kidneys. I had to go to a home and meet with a lifecoach. And I have to continue with the lifecoach and speak with to him everyday on the road. I was on suicide watch at the hospital. [For those who think this was all a publicity stunt] the best way to answer that is that I was already getting publicity for the other situation [the alleged affair]. I was on Nancy Grace, CNN, every gospel station, every newspaper, every magazine, every newspaper. At the time I wanted to be away from all of the noise.
And people also wonder after going thru all of that why didn’t you just take some time off.
Guess what? I couldn’t afford to stay out of work right now even if I wanted to. My life right now is fighting my way out of debt that I’ve been in. But music is exactly what I need— it’s the place I go to let go of everything. A lot of people say when I perform I go someplace else and give it my all. And I tell them that’s where I release everything I go thru. When I get on the stage that’s where I let everything go.