R&B/Hip-Hop Briefs: Ledisi, Sly Stone, Nina Simone, Public Enemy
R&B/Hip-Hop Briefs: Ledisi, Sly Stone, Nina Simone, Public Enemy

After penning everything herself and solely working with producer Rex Rideout on her 2007, Grammy-nominated Verve Records debut, "Lost And Found," Ledisi has taken a different approach on her follow-up album, "Turn Me Loose."

Ledisi - "Trippin'"

Only on Billboard.com: Listen to "Trippin,'" which will be on Ledisi's Aug. 18 album "Turn Me Loose."

On the aptly-titled "Turn Me Loose" ("Because I'm free on this album," she says), slated for an August 18th release, the Bay area-bred soul singer teamed up with a slew of hand-picked producers/writers, including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Raphael Saadiq, Chucky Thompson and Rideout, truly exploring new grounds for the singer/songwriter.

"I opened myself up to working with other producers, which was really hard for me because I usually like things consistent and in one way -- I love comfort and I don't tend to come out of my zone," says Ledisi. "But I'm so glad I did it. When you work with others, they bring out different things. They remind you that you're not just one way, you're this way and that way too."

On the lead single "Goin' Thru Changes," which she likens to a "sexy Prince-like ballad," she sings about infidelity; "Higher That This," a spiritual song; "I Need Love," which she penned with intentions for R&B singers Chrisette Michele or Leona Lewis; and "Trippin," which Billboard is exclusively streaming for Ledisi fans here.

To help promote the album, there is already a countdown to "Turn Me Loose" leading up to the release of the set on Ledisi's various social networking pages as well as on her official website, www.ledisi.com. On the site she's also giving fans an early taste of "Loose" by posting streams of two new songs off the album every Monday till August 18th.

Also online, Ledisi will launch an ultimate fan contest on ultimateledhead.com (which is what she calls her fans), on which fans will be asked to answer Ledisi trivia for a chance to win a trip to see her in concert and meet her.

Ledisi is also working with Carol's Daughter, a skin care retailer that caters to women of color, on a promotion that will run through the month of August, and includes a branded sampler available at Macy's, Sephora and Carol Daughter's stores.

"It was definitely worth me going out on this ride and finding out different things about me," Ledisi says. "Now it feels like no one can stop me. I have a stylist now, I have a mohawk -- this album broke me out. Now, it feels like I can really be myself."