Lyfe Jennings, a singer/songwriter/producer, is probably one of the most underrated soul R&B artists of our time. With just one listen, Lyfe’s music captures your attention with his rough, street, ghetto sounding style. His sophomore album “The Phoenix,” picks up right where the first one ended and his single S.E.X is steadily climbing the charts. Singersroom caught up with Life to chat about the new album, upcoming tours and life outside of music.
Singersroom: I heard the new album and it sounds crazy, what would you say is the difference between your debut album and your new album “The Phoenix”?
Lyfe: Thank you! I think I sing more on this album, some people say I was more lyrical than vocal. I did more up tempo stuff than on the last album.
Singersroom: Did you produce anything for “The Phoenix”?
Lyfe: I produced the whole album just like the first, I wrote all the music too. I co-produced two songs with a guy named Romario Weller. Everything else is me.
Singersroom: You sold a lot of records primarily from doing live shows, how important is it for you to perform live in front of your fans?
Lyfe: I think a lot of times listening to CD’s your fans may not feel what you are saying. They are unable to connect the person and message to the music. So it is important to have a great show so that the fans can feel you. A lot of times a person may have heard your stuff, but after a live show they may go out and get the CD or re-buy it live.
Singersroom: It seems like you are always on the road, how do you train for that energy that you give on stage?
Lyfe: I don’t really train, I just blank out. Before I go on tour I put my show together and I try to stick to the show. I tell the band and the background singers don’t do anything new. If they want to do something new, I tell them let’s do it in rehearsal. I don’t like surprises.
Singersroom: So no extra solo’s from the other band members?
Lyfe: (laughing) Nah, none of that. Don’t do that!
Singersroom: What would you say are the underlying messages in your music? “Hypothetically” and “She Got kids” seem to be about options and reflecting on life choices/decisions. Would you classify “The Phoenix” similarly?
Lyfe: Both albums are personal reflective messages. I don’t want to come across as preaching, so I leave my music open, I leave it to the listener to take it where they want, that way they will think of the message as informative and apply it to where it needs to be applied, you know.
Singersroom: Do you have any collaborations on this album?
Lyfe: I have Three Six Mafia, Project Pat, Young Buck and two of my artists that are on my label LaLa Brown and Doc Black.
Singersroom: So you’re getting Crunk on this album?
Lyfe: (laughing) Oh yeah I’m trying to do a little something.
Singersroom: How much creative control did you have on this album in comparison to your debut album?
Lyfe: 100% on both of them!
Singersroom: What have you learned since your debut album? Were you always business oriented or did you have to learn that along the way?
Lyfe: I had to learn it along the way. I am one of those guys that wants everybody to shine. A lot of my life was not based on what others did; but now I’m in situations where people just don’t work out and they may be cool people personally, but they can’t give you what you need, you know!
Singersroom: Since you traveled a difficult path to stardom, what advice would you give to young men who are struggling just to make it?
Lyfe: I would tell them to be prepared to start anywhere, even the bottom. If music is your dream, then you need to be prepared to do anything for it, clean floors, work in a mail room, anything to get in that door. They also need a back up plan. A lot of young artists try to hit the music world hard, forgetting everything else, but you can’t do that. You need a back up plan, nothing here is promised.
Singersroom: It’s inspiring for me to hear about where you came from and where you are now, both musically and personally. Your image and voice manage to remain positive, a difficult task in today’s urban music society. What was your muse? Why write about a woman’s “sex” and the importance of her maintaining her virginity?
Lyfe: When I came home, it was like a growth spurt happened with young women. Young ladies are fifteen going on twenty-five and looking like it too. So I could only imagine the attention they were and are receiving. I didn’t want them to think that it was going unnoticed. I just want them to make good decisions; I had to make sure I gave them some good information, that’s just me.
Singersroom: You gave them just that, I am so proud of you for that message, for real?
Lyfe: Thank you, Thank you!
Singersroom: Will you be doing any tours for “The Phoenix”?
Lyfe: Oh yeah, definitely, definitely! I will probably be going out towards the middle of October on a fall tour. I’ll let the album get out there and get the second single poppin.
Singersroom: Who would you say gives you musical inspiration?
Lyfe: My musical inspirations are Eyrkah Badu, Lauren Hill, TuPac, Biggie, Yolanda Adams. I like a lot of singers, especially those you can feel and keep you interested.
Singersroom: What do you do to relax after a hard days work?
Lyfe: Let’s see, I just sit and watch a movie. I might read a book and I like chillin with my son. I really like putting my son to sleep, that relaxes me more than anything in the world.
Singersroom: Who do you have on your playlist? Who are you listening to right now?
Lyfe: Right now I’m listening to that new Lloyd joint featuring Lil Wayne, “You”. That’s who I have in there right now.
Singersroom: What gives you the strength to be Lyfe Jennings?
Lyfe: The encouragement I get from my fans. People always ask me questions like what makes me stay so positive and I answer, “I’m winning at being positive”. I think that if we encourage other men to just think positive, they may win. Right now we focus too much on negativity, we need to stop that in order to win.
Singersroom: I know you play the guitar. What else can you play and when did you learn?
Lyfe: The Bass Guitar, piano and little bit of drums. I learned the piano when I was little but learned the rest while I was in prison.
Singersroom: Do you have any goals outside of the music industry?
Lyfe: I would definitely want to do something with a script I wrote, maybe something with children’s books and I am working on a non-profit organization, tryin to pop that off.
Singersroom: Do you do any ghost writing for anyone?
Lyfe: No not right now. I would eventually with the right artist though.
Edited By Natalie Marzuka —— By: Interview By Tiffanie Simone