DIGABLE PLANETS was one of the most promising and creative Hip Hop
groups of the early 90s, with hit songs like Cool Like Dat.
Now, lead female singer Ladybug Mecca is stepping out on her own with
a new CD due this fall. We spoke with Ladybug about her new album and
about Hip Hop and QVs.
How did you get your start? I graduated from high school and I moved to Philadelphia for about a month. I hung out with a group of people there who were very creative. Thats where I met the other members of the group Digable Planets. We moved to New York about a month and a half later. I was just a little girl, so I didnt know anyone in the industry at all. But one of the members took a job at a small label as an assistant A&R and we ended up signing up with that label.
What did you learn from your experiences in being in Digable Planets? The biggest lesson I learned, aside from the ability to grow as an artist creatively, is that your business has to be tight. It is a business. If you dont have that part in check, its easy to allow your career to slip away and for others to take advantage of you. You have to be on top of your business. It is a businessa very big business.
feel youve got yourself more together now in terms of being prepared
for the attention? Now, Im an older, more evolved woman. Then,
I was 17-18 years old and being guided by the universe, but at the same
time I had my trust in people around me that frankly I didnt know.
It became a circle where I didnt feel comfortable or safe. You
start to not trust people around you and you begin to question peoples
loyalty and their intentions. I do feel more in control now. Im
a Virgo and Im very guarded and I protect myself, so I was still
protecting myself an questioning everything around me when I first got
into the game, which is good. That was my protection. Now, Ive
seen life and my experiences have given me a whole different perspective
on the industry and life in general.
What made now the time to do your first solo album? I had a deal on another label in 1997 and it didnt pan out. The label had difficulty with their business affairs. It was divine order that everything has now come full circle.
What can we expect to hear on the new album? Digable had a jazzy funk kind of style, musically. On this album, it incorporates those influences, but it also goes back to my childhood influences. It goes through all the phases Ive gone through growing up. It starts off with Brazilian music, which is like samba. And then bringing in Afro-Beats and bringing in new wave rock. Im really able to go into all kinds of influences across the board. I also sing in Portuguese and in English. I think its diverse musically. I am singing and rhyming and doing something kind of like in between the two. Its very free and open and hard to classify.
What were some of the influences you had in making this album? Did you write the music on it? I wrote all the lyrics. I brought in some of the producers and I also collaborated with some other producers. I did hand pick everything. And I did do all the writing. I guess my influences are just from lifepoint blank, period. All the lessons behind them and the experiences. Thats where I drew my inspiration fromreality.
When Hip Hop first started, many people didnt think it would last. What do you think has made it have the longevity that it has had? Just the fact that it has been embraced by the world as an art form. Everyone can relate to the lyrical content of different artists. Music speaks to everyone, period. Like they say, its a universal language. Those of us who are within the culture and understand it, over stand it, and inner stand it, knew that it wasnt going to go anywhere. And the fans made sure that was true. And it has spilled into other genres of other music. Its not going anywhere now.
What are some of the messages you want to convey with this album? Im not coming from a preachy standpoint. Im just kind of putting my experiences out there for people. If you get something out of it, thats beautiful. One song that I did is about knowing when to let go of the people and things that just arent good for you and being able to say, Hey, change is good. If things or people are holding you back and trying to block your light, youve got to let that go.
A lot of people consider Hip Hop homophobic because of a few lyrics by a few rappers. Do you think that there is a lot of homophobia in the Hip Hop world? I think theres homophobia all within society. Its definitely going to trickle into the Hip Hop world. Its understandable because a lot of people just arent in touch with their feminine and masculine side. People view being QV or lesbian as a personal preference or a sexual choice, when I believe its much deeper than that. Theres nothing wrong with it. People who dont understand it from a deeper perspective will just lash out at it. Its definitely not just the Hip Hop world, but its society as a whole.
What would you say to your QV fans? I dont really separate my fans in that way. I look at everybody as people are people. I dont have a special message for one certain type of people. I just think were all one in the same.
Where do you see yourself going with your music? I would say, just completing this album and getting it out there and being able to connect with the fans. I just want to get on stage and have fun with everybody. That was just the highlight of my lifebeing on stage and just vibin and kickin it and partying with people in an intimate setting like in clubs and stuff. Really, thats the main thing. Im also looking forward to expressing myself on a visual level through videos and so forth. And then, just getting into certain films. Id definitely like take on a really good role. And just helping this label move forward. Its a great place to be and there are great artists here and were collaborating. Then just taking a break and raising my children and schooling them in reality and life. And then jumping back into it and exploring anything that comes my way. Kind of just flow with the wind.
How many children do you have? Four. My oldest is six, the two middle children are three, and the youngest is 8 months.
How is it balancing the music career with the family? Its kind of tough but I have a lot of help. I definitely cant get into the creative process while Im watching them. So I have a lot of help in terms of having someone watch them when Im into that mode.
Anything else on your mind? I just want to thank the fans for being patient with me and anticipating my album. The response has just been incredible, overwhelming, and very humbling. Usually careers are pretty fickle, but its cool that Im getting all this love and anticipation. Im overwhelmed by that.
Have you previewed any of your music? A little bit. Were going to get into a little more of that very soon. Weve been doing a teeny tiny bit. We just have so many beautiful, wonderful songs to choose from, were trying to be very strategic with how Im re-presented into the swing of things.
What would you say to a person who is interested in getting into the music industry as an artist? I would say to remain focused and make sure the people you have around you are real people. They have to respect your creativity and insight. Its tough because there are a lot of vultures out there and a lot labels that want to create their own images and want you to follow the latest trend. Its important to maintain who you are through it all. As long as you stay focused and grounded and real, then I think youll be okay.