Former Destiny’s Child singer LeToya Luckett spent the past six years trapped in pop’s “Whatever happened to ...?” dungeon.
LeToya, who simply goes by her first name, was an original member of the chart-topping girl group, along with Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and LeTavia Roberson, and helped co-write hits like the Grammy-winning “Say My Name.” But she was unceremoniously booted from Destiny’s Child along with Roberson after a conflict in 2000, just before the group had its breakthrough pop success.
While her former best friends went on to conquer the music world, racking up No. 1 hits, multiplatinum albums and Grammys, LeToya’s career foundered after several false starts and disappointments.
Now LeToya is finally emerging from shadows of Destiny’s Child. She already scored a major hit with the ballad “Torn” and just released her self-titled debut album, which features fellow Houston natives Paul Wall and Mike Jones.
The Associated Press talked with LeToya about her musical rebirth.
AP: Are you surprised at the success of “Torn?”
LeToya: Very surprised. It’s been a great song to me. That’s one of my favorite songs on the whole album so I knew it would have some success because, one, people can relate to it. I’ve been through that situation before and I know other people have or know somebody that has. That’s why I wanted to make the single because I knew people would be able to feel that record. But the way they have supported me and everybody’s been like “Aaahhh! This is great and you’ve come back,” I didn’t expect that, so that felt good.
AP: Now that you have to start again in the music industry do you regret leaving Destiny’s Child when they were starting to rise?
LeToya: I never left Destiny’s Child. It was a dispute between myself, LaTavia and management and they decided to do what they did. Instead of me looking at it like, “I hate them and this is the worst thing that could ever happen to me,” I didn’t feel like that. Obviously, God had something else planned for me and I’m not going to worry or fret. The thing that made it difficult for me was the friendships we lost and not having my friends around anymore. I know they have had and will continue to have success so all I can do is wish them well.
AP: What happened with the project that you and fellow ex-DC member LaTavia were putting together?
LeToya: Unfortunately, the production company folded so we went our separate ways. LaTavia and I are still friends but that situation didn’t work out. I think coming out of the Destiny’s Child situation and then getting into this situation I kind of took a hint that the group thing isn’t what I need to be doing.
‘I wanted it to be right’AP: From Destiny’s Child to you and LaTavia not working out, did you ever feel turned off by the music industry?
LeToya: I was turned off by the politics. I’ve never been turned off from doing music. If I got back into a career in the music industry I wanted it to be right. ... I wanted to be a part of it whether it was A&R or doing something like that.
AP: Are you still in touch with the other girls in Destiny Child, specifically Beyonce and Kelly Rowland?
LeToya: Not so much in touch with them but when we see each other it’s cool.
AP: How did you keep busy during your hiatus from the spotlight?
LeToya: LaTavia and myself decided to move down to Atlanta and form a four-girl group that ended up not working out. Then I moved to L.A. and basically was just trying to figure out what it was that God wanted me to do. I met up with a production company called Noontime and they put me in the studio with a great writer, Dave Young. At first I was not comfortable being a solo artist but he just kept pushing me and we came up with about five great records and we shopped them around to different labels. Not to mention I opened up my boutique in Houston, Lady Elle Boutique, and we’re going into our third year.
AP: Do you feel added pressure since you’ve already had the fame and this is your second time out?
LeToya: So much pressure. As a person you worry about other people’s opinions and for so many years I was told what I couldn’t do instead of what I could do and that was very hard for me. At first it was like that, but now it’s not. Now I’m cool.