A DAY IN THE LYFE… By Latima Johnson Editor-in-Chief Gemini Magazine

30 Jul

Work in or around the entertainment industry long enough and you’ll see how easy it is to become jaded and cynical. The lines between fantasy and reality are constantly blurred. Especially in the music industry, behind every commercial artist there is a well oiled machine working to project and protect the brand. Very rarely do you get to see the real person behind that brand. There are very few artists that actually tell their life story in their songs.  Thank goodness for the truth that is Lyfe Jennings.

If you are a fan of real straight from the heart music and enjoyed his previous albums, you are going to love Lyfe’s fourth studio album “I Still Believe” a collection of twelve soulfully transparent tracks, music that fans have come to expect from Mr. Jennings.  In addition to baring his soul through his lyrics, Jennings also produced six of the twelve tracks on the album.

Dictionary.com defines the word griot as a hereditary caste among the peoples of  western Africa whose function is to keep an oral history of the tribe or village and to entertain with stories, poems, songs, dances, etc.. That is the feeling you get when listening to this album. Shying away from his signature interludes, “I Still Believe” tells the story of the everyday struggles of men and women.  The title track, produced by Brian Michael Cox (Mary J. Blige, Jagged Edge, Monica etc) is a testament to the fact that the industry hasn’t colored Lyfe’s view of the way things should be. He sings “I still believe in miracles/I still believe in magic and rainbows/I still believe in miracles/still believe in the principle/of giving back… those old fashion values that he was raised with such as going to church on Sunday and saying prayers before bed.

Even on the commercially sounding track Spotlight, Jennings manages to slip a message into the music. The current single, “Statistics” which is stirring up quite a bit of controversy, was inspired by Steve Harvey’s book “Act like a lady Think like a man.” Jennings says he felt that he wanted to tell the truth to the ladies about the odds they are up against.

Lyfe collaborated with relatively unknown Canadian producer T-Minus on four of the songs on the album (Statistics, Love, Spotlight and Learn From This) T-minus whose credits include songs by Le Toya Luckett, Cash Money’s Birdman, and Ludacris provided his signature beat knock to the tracks which match perfectly with the lyrics for each of those songs.

According to Lyfe “I Still Believe” will be his last album.  Just like he still believes in things like Santa Claus, you can believe that Chester “Lyfe” Jennings will be around to continue to tell our story for a long, long time.

Be sure to checkout Gemini’s Fall Fashion Issue for the full interview with Lyfe.  “I Still Believe” will be in stores August 31, 2010.

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