Musician, composer, actress and author, Ledisi will come to Boston for a year as the first artist-in-residence at the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. As Artist-in-Residence, Ledisi will teach, lead workshops, mentor students and, of course, perform!
Born in New Orleans and raised in Oakland, California, Ledisi (Anibade Young) is an artist whose work defies categorization. Known for winning a Grammy Award in 2021 for Best Traditional R&B Performance for her song “Anything for You”, Ledisi also received a Grammy nomination for “Ledisi Sings Nina” in the Best Traditional Pop Album category and has a total of 14 Grammy nominations. His voice has a soulful depth as well as an improvisational quality associated with jazz. “Ledisi Sings Nina” can be understood as a tribute to the late great Nina Simone, but Ledisi also uses these songs to express her own thoughts and feelings. R&B, jazz, gospel, call what you want what you hear from her, this personal and historical approach opens all kinds of musical doors.
Ledisi also has a successful acting career, including the role of Blues Singer in the 2008 film “Leatherheads”, directed by George Clooney, as Patti LaBelle in the hit BET series “American Soul”, and more recently as Mahalia Jackson in the movie “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jacksonn Story,” which debuted at the opening of the 2022 Pan-African Film and Arts Festival in Los Angeles. Upcoming: Ledisi will portray Gladys Knight in “Spinning Gold,” a biopic about Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart. This movie also features Wiz Khalifa (aka Cameron Jibril Thomaz) as musical genius George Clinton.
As for writing, Ledisi released her first book, “Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power,” in conjunction with Essence magazine. His latest book, “Don’t Ever Lose Your Walk: How to Embrace Your Journey”, about the lessons life teaches us, was released in March 2020 through his company Chinweya Publishing.
These many accomplishments attracted the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which was founded by multi-talented musician and songwriter Terri Lyne Carrington in 2018. The institute’s mission is to focus on “fairness in the field of jazz and the role that jazz can play in the broader struggle for gender justice,” as well as to highlight the contributions of women to the development of jazz.
“It’s an honor to welcome acclaimed performer, songwriter, actress and producer Ledisi to Berklee,” Carrington said. “The Ledisi residency marks a historic moment for the Institute. I know his presence here at Berklee will be a gift to students and a greater artistic community on campus.
The Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice offers many events open to the public. On October 6, the students led by Edmar Colón will perform the “new standards” of the Institute’s “101 Sheets of Lead by Women Composers”, as well as original compositions. The event, part of the Institute’s Signature Series, takes place at 7 p.m. in the Red Room of Café 939, located at 939 Boylston Street, and admission is $10.