By Khadija Allen
When Lyfe Jennings steps into the recording booth, you know this soulful singer is going to deliver thought-provoking music that brings us back to life.
His open lyrical style–revealing his emotions and imperfections–has defined him as an artist since his 2004 album debut. His music is full of redemption, intimacy and resiliency. On a nationwide tour promoting his new single, “Statistics,” Jennings will also release his fourth studio album I Still Believe under his own label, Jesus Swings through Asylum/Warner Bros Records on August 31.
We got a chance to talk with the the Ohio-born singer and he dropped some knowledge about relationships.
Madame Noire: How would you describe the musical direction of the album “I Still Believe?”
LJ: It’s definitely blunt, honest and truthful.
MN: You offered some rules women should follow to be with worthy men. How do these rules pertain to women?
LJ: [A woman should have] an idealistic picture in her mind and needs a couple of rules to come forward to that picture. If she’s looking for a husband of course, but if not then she can do whatever she wants to do.
MN: From “I Still Believe,” you have definitely transcended as an artist over an 8-year period. How has your perspective on life changed you as an artist since the first album?
LJ: More optimistic. There is so much that can be done. When people do talk about real situations, it’s more about the bad parts or more about sex than real artistry. So I try my best to fill that void.
MN: The “Change” album had an uplifting vibe that people could relate to. Do you think that that album showed you to be a savior for people?
LJ: I think savior is a big word. People at times feel lost and need a shoulder to lean on. But when you listen to the music, it’s more about the honesty and positive messages really.
MN: How confident do you feel your message will resonate with women?
LJ: I’m confident with the message. I think not a lot of people are open to confronting things in their life. They may not be open to their mama even, but they’re going to get it when its time for them to get it. My confidence lies in that!
MN: What has the past year alone taught you about relationships?
LJ: Defining your character. You can take the measure of a man based on what he does in public, but it’s what he does when people aren’t watching. When you find excuses in people, you can blame him or her for it. But it says more about you than the other person especially when those causes aren’t real. It says more about you than it says more about the person who caused you to do it.
MN: This first single has the tendency to cause people to emotionally react because of its powerful message. Why do you think this is?
LJ: People tend to react to things that happened in their life. We go through ‘real’ situations than ’cause’ situations in our lifetime. That stands out the most.
MN: From a man’s perspective, what rules do you think men should follow in order to have a good woman?
LJ: When infatuation wears off, people think they can show it through their actions. But I don’t think you can actually fall out of love. The hardest part about it is just doing it such as writing a book or going to school, your tired and don’t want to get up. Men have to realize that things you did in the beginning should become your focus. And it’ll become easier once you do those things, even though it seems harder to do later on in the relationship.
MN: What words of encouragement can you give to your fans to make them feel like love is absolute no matter if they’re in relationships or not?
LJ: Love yourself! It seems like a cliché but I believe that love isn’t just an emotion. It’s about action! For example, getting up for school is tough if you don’t want to go because you’re bored with subject. But you know that whatever you do is going to benefit in the future. Life should be spent wisely because loving yourself is loving your environment. So love is absolute because it dictates how your life is going to go.
MN: Yeah. When it comes to love it’s a very tricky situation. Either you make the best or worst of it but it’s all based on your intuition. Do you agree?
LJ: Yeah. From a relationship standpoint, you have to have certain ground rules that dictate what you stand for. If you rely on concrete things that are not going to change– no matter what, we’re going to work it out. If you approach it like that, giving up is not even an option.