Known for her unique style and soulful melodies, singer/songwriter Lalah Hathaway is back on the scene with a new single from her upcoming album “Honestly.”
With her new album set to release this fall, the daughter of legendary R&B crooner Donny Hathaway has been busy promoting her new music after introducing a feel–good summer anthem titled “I Can’t Wait.” So far it has taken over as the most-added record among urban adult-contemporary radio stations since its debut in July.
The five-time Grammy winner is stepping into a new season of her life with the launch of a new label, Hathaway Entertainment, in partnership with distribution company Caroline and a summer tour with the queen of hip-hop soul herself, Mary J. Blige.
But Hathaway says this is just the beginning, as she’s got a ton of other ventures on her wish list. In an exclusive interview with Atlanta Black Star, the songwriter talked about the inspiration behind her new single, the vibe of her upcoming album and even her signature purple locks.
*This interview has been edited for clarity.
ABS: I understand you released a new single “I Can’t Wait” off your new album “Honestly” over the summer. Tell me a little about the inspiration behind the song — how did it come about?
LH: It was one of … the last songs that we wrote [for the album]. We wanted to have something to present for the summer, just for good feelings. So, we wanted to make a record that you could barbecue with, or roller skate with, or wash your car with, or get ready with. Music is such a mood enhancer, and we wanted to be able to use it to uplift folks, and we thought it would be such a great party vibe for the summer.
ABS: Do you feel your new single and album stay true to your sound from records past? Or has it evolved?
LH: It definitely evolved. It’s definitely true to who I am. I think a lot of people will find it as a bit of a departure. There are some people who will find it as a bit of a return to sort of what I was doing in 1990 and 1994. So, it’s going to be interesting to see how people will receive the record. It’s all about you guys’ perception because, for me, it’s all music. And I don’t really think about it in terms of what I did the last time, or how it’s different from what I did the last time. I’m just moving in terms of creativity. So it’ll be interesting to know how people receive.
ABS: If you could describe the vibe of your new album using only one word, what would it be?
LH: Music. I would just call it music. “Vibe” is a hard word; it’s a hard thing to describe, particularly just with one word. So, it’s just super musical.
ABS: Of course, while you’re out promoting your new music you’ve gotta stay looking right and bright-eyed. So tell me a little about beauty regimen; what kinds of products do you use to keep yourself looking good and refreshed?
LH: I’m super kind of simple and no-nonsense when it comes to that. I don’t do a whole lot. I have a makeup artist that generally travels with me and he’ll do some stuff, but I just try to rest, drink water and stay in a good frame of mind.
ABS: Your bright purple locks are definitely hard to miss. What’s the story behind them?
LH: Yeah. You know I’ve done a lot of color over the years, and I decided I wanted to do something really different. So my colorist who lives in L.A. does a lot of cool, kinda bright different sort of technicolor styles. And so I told her I wanted to do that. So we took it up to blond and then deposited the purple, and I’ve been wearing it ever since. I’d like to somehow get back to brown at some point, but I think I’m gonna keep it purple just a little bit longer.
ABS: So what’s next for Lalah Hathaway? What other projects do you have in the works? I heard you recently launched your own record label.
LH: Yes, absolutely! I’m looking forward to just sort of stretching out, having a moment to breathe after we sort of get this record out and launched — a moment to breathe and think about some things I’d like to do. I’ve participated in a couple of things I’m really excited about, like working with Esperanza Spalding on her record. She streamed live on Facebook for 77 hours, really interesting stuff. I look forward to having a moment to think of some really cool, creative things to do like that.
To check out Hathaway’s music video for “I Can’t Wait,” click here.