LeToya Nicole Luckett (born March 11, 1981), known professionally as LeToya, is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She was a member of the R&B group Destiny's Child, with whom she won two Grammy Awards and released many successful commercial recordings. Luckett has sold over 25 million records with Destiny's Child as feature vocalist on the group's first two albums and singles.
She began her solo career after signing a record deal with Capitol Records. Her solo debut album, LeToya ( 2006), topped the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart in July 2006, and was certified platinum by the RIAA in December 2006. The single, "Torn", achieved records on BET's top ten countdown show 106 & Park. She was also named "One of the Best New Artists of 2006" by AOL and the "Top Songwriter of 2006" by ASCAP. Luckett released a second solo album, Lady Love on August 25, 2009, which debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and also as No. 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.
Luckett has since become an actress. She was the star of the movie Preacher's Kid. She's part of the cast of the feature films Killers and From the Rough and had a recurring role on the second season of the HBO TV series Treme, and on the third season of the VH1 TV series Single Ladies.
Early life and career
Luckett was born on March 11, 1981, in Houston, Texas. She grew up singing in her local Brentwood Baptist Church. She also took vocal lessons to become an opera singer. Her father, who was also a singer, was very proud of his daughter's vocal talents and tried to get her in the music business. Luckett is the older of two children. Luckett was given the chance to sing her first solo at the age of five. "The lady just gave me the mic one Sunday and I sang," she recalled. Shortly thereafter, she joined the children's choir and began performing in plays at her elementary school. One day, she walked to her desk in class to find a girl sitting in her seat. Luckett asked her teacher to remove the girl from her assigned seat, who turned out to be Beyoncé Knowles. They later became friends and she was invited to join Beyoncé's singing group Girls Tyme, which later became Destiny's Child.
1993–2000: Destiny's Child and departure
In 1993, LeToya Luckett joined Beyoncé Knowles, LaTavia Roberson, and Kelly Rowland to complete the Houston-based R&B group, Destiny's Child. The roles of the group consisted with Knowles as lead vocalist, Rowland as second-lead vocalist plus alongside Roberson and Luckett as background vocalists with Roberson as alto (and spokesperson) adding the low notes and Luckett as the soprano adding the high notes to the group's harmony, however occasional leads too. After being signed and later dropped by Elektra Records, the group eventually signed with Columbia Records in 1997, but not before signing with Mathew Knowles the group's manager (and also Beyoncé Knowles' father). According to the E! Television Special, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Knowles forced the girls to sign with him before they could sign with the label. Luckett's mother requested the contracts be reviewed by an attorney, but Knowles denied the request. However, Luckett eventually signed with him and joined the group. After graduating from the Houston club scene, the group opened for established acts such as Dru Hill, SWV, and Immature, and released their 1998 self-titled debut album Destiny's Child. The album spawned two singles: the platinum "No, No, No Part II" (featuring Wyclef Jean) and "With Me". Subsequently the group made it on the soundtrack album of the romantic comedy Why Do Fools Fall in Love with the song "Get on the Bus" (featuring Timbaland), and later toured as an opening act on TLC's "Fanmail Tour" and Christina Aguilera's debut tour.
In 1999, the group released their second album, The Writing's on the Wall. The album became one of the biggest selling albums released by a female group, and was certified eight times platinum in the USA. As opposed to the first album, Luckett had more contribution to the second album in terms of co-writing. The album spawned four hit singles: "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Bug a Boo", "Say My Name", and "Jumpin' Jumpin'". The two singles "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Say My Name" were also nominated for Grammy awards, which "Say My Name" won in two different categories. The album had also been released in a "Houston Special Edition" which included a bonus track where Luckett sung lead in alongside all other members entitled "Can't Help Myself". In late 1999, in the midst of the group's success and rise, Luckett and Roberson asserted that they wanted their own manager because of the increasing lack of communication with manager Mathew Knowles. The pair said they never wanted to fire Knowles, but wanted to secure outside management to represent them. Soon after, Luckett and Roberson found themselves ostracized by the Knowles family and the group's management. When the music video for "Say My Name" debuted in February 2000, they were replaced by two new members, Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin. Luckett and Roberson filed a lawsuit against Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, charging them with breach of partnership and fiduciary duties, and sought unspecified damages. Luckett and Roberson withdrew the case against Beyoncé and Kelly, but continued to sue Mathew Knowles. The case was eventually settled, with Luckett and Roberson receiving royalties for their contributions as founding members of the group. Shortly following the release of Destiny's Child's Survivor, Luckett and Roberson filed another lawsuit against the group in March 2002. They claimed that the album's lead single, "Survivor", violated their previous settlement due to its lyrics.
After several months of media speculation, it was announced via the MTV News website that Luckett and Roberson had created a new group called Anjel. After several auditions, Naty Quinones and Tiffany Beaudoin were selected as members. The group recorded a 22-song demo in Atlanta, Georgia, with the help of R&B group Jagged Edge. The group also appeared in Jagged Edge's video for "Where the Party At (Remix)". However, the production company (581 Entertainment) which handled the group collapsed and all the members of Anjel went on to pursue solo projects. Meanwhile, the recorded tracks were leaked onto the Internet.
2001–2008: Solo debut, LeToya
After the Anjel project fell through, Luckett joined with Noontime, an Atlanta-based management/production company. Along with Noontime, she recorded a five song demo and eventually signed with Capitol Records in 2003. Soon after, she began working on her debut solo album. The first promotional song, "You Got What I Need", was released in 2004, followed next year by "All Eyes on Me". She was featured on "My Promise" with her label mate Houston on his debut album It's Already Written, "What Love Can Do" on the Coach Carter soundtrack, and on "This Is My Life" with former boyfriend and rapper Slim Thug on his album Already Platinum. LeToya's self-titled debut album was released in July 2006 and debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. LeToya was certified gold after one month and by December 2006, the album had been certified platinum. Luckett and Beyoncé Knowles are the only members of Destiny's Child to have an album debut at number one on the Billboard 200 and achieve platinum status in the U.S.
The album is a hip-hop inspired R&B production. Producers included Jermaine Dupri, Scott Storch, Teddy Bishop, B. Cox, and musical guests Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, and Bun B. "All Eyes on Me" was originally chosen as Luckett's debut single, but "Torn" was ultimately selected instead. The ballad (produced by Teddy Bishop) was released March 2006 and became an R&B hit. The song climbed the Billboard charts, peaking at number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
Although Torn was still receiving airplay, her second single, "She Don't" was released to radio, and the video premiered on BET's Access Granted in July 2006, featuring Luckett's ex-boyfriend, Slim Thug. The single received moderate success, reaching number 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. In November 2006, "Obvious" was selected as the third single. According to Billboard, the song had a 94% chance of becoming a hit, but due to the merger of Capitol Records and Virgin Records, all promotional money was frozen, therefore the single was never officially released. Luckett was also named "One of the Best New Artists of 2006" by AOL Music, number two on Rap-Up magazines' Top 5 Breakthrough Artists of 2006, and received multiple nominations from the NAACP, the Soul Train Music Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards. BET promoted Luckett on 106 & Park, The Center, The Black Carpet, and with a three-part reality series special called The H-Town Chick which aired from May to July 2006. The series chronicled Luckett's experiences during her summer promotional tour and insight about her life since Destiny's Child. BET also hosted a contest that gave fans the opportunity to decide the final outcome of the "Torn" video. Cingular hosted a lip-sync contest that awarded those who best performed "Torn" in an online submitted video. In addition to a nationwide radio tour, club performances, a brief European and Asian appearances, Luckett participated in the 2006 "Pantene Total You" Tour, the "Cingular Live in Concert" series, and was invited by Mary J. Blige to join her summer tour, The Breakthrough Experience Tour, as her opening act.
2009–2013: Lady Love
In July 2009, while opening for a Mary J. Blige concert, Luckett announced that her upcoming album was going to be named Lady Love, she then introduced and performed two new songs "Lady Love" and "Don't Let Me Get Away". On 10 December (?), a buzz track, Swagger, that features rappers such as Slim Thug, Killa Kyleon and Bun B leaked onto the Internet. In 2008, Luckett was featured on Webbie's single "I Miss You" which was a moderate success.
Luckett's second solo album was released on August 25, 2009 Production for Lady Love originally began in 2007, with a release scheduled several times in 2008. However this was postponed due to lack of funding related to the Capitol Records and Virgin Records merger that had earlier affected the release of her third single "Obvious". In early 2009, the release date for Lady Love was announced to be May 19, 2009, then pushed to June 16, and finally set to August 24, 2009. Amidst much anticipation for the album release, Luckett released a five-track sampler on May 19, 2009. The sampler features first single "Not Anymore" and 1 minute 30 second snippets of "Regret", "She Ain't Got...", "Lady Love" and "Matter". The album was released to CD and music download on August 25, 2009, in the US and worldwide a day earlier. An explicit version of the album (bearing a Parental Advisory label) was also made available. To celebrate the album's release, LeToya hosted an album-release party at Cain in New York City on August 27, 2009. "Not Anymore", the lead single, was produced by Bei Maejor and co-produced and written by Ne-Yo. Released in February 2009, it became the most added song at urban radio, debuting at number ninety-eight on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart before peaking at number eighteen and just missing the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at number 107. A music video for the single was shot on February 13, 2009. Directed by Bryan Barber, the music video is set in the 1960s and is split into 3 sections/time periods – 1961, 1964 and 1968. The sets, costumes and props change accordingly in each section to show the trends, fashions and styles of those particular years.
The video was released on March 10, 2009, and peaked at number three on the 106 & Park video countdown. "She Ain't Got..." the album's second single, was produced by Cory Bold and written by LeToya, Andre Merritt, Chris Brown and Bold. Chosen by fans, it became the first LeToya single to carry a Parental Advisory label, though a "clean" version was also released. It became the most added song on rhythmic radio, peaking at number thirty-nine on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 chart, while peaking at number seventy-five on the Billboard Pop 100 Airplay chart and number twenty on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. However, the single was most successful in Japan where it peaked at number forty-nine on the Japan Hot 100. A music video, directed by Bryan Barber was shot on June 3, 2009 and premiered on Yahoo Music on June 30, 2009, featuring guest star Major League Baseball players Orlando Hudson and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as Baseball Hall of Fame member Dave Winfield. "Regret", featuring rapper Ludacris, was produced by Tank and Jerry "Texx" Franklin and written by Tank, LeToya, Franklin, K. Stephens, J. Valentine, R. Newt and C. Bridges. Released as the third single – based only on downloads and airplay – "Regret" peaked at number eight on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and debuted at number one-hundred on the Billboard Hot 100, making it LeToya's first single since her debut; "Torn", to enter the US Hot 100, peaking at number seventy-eight. It also peaked at number forty-two on the Billboard Radio Songs chart and was listed at number six on AOL Music's "Top R&B Songs of 2009" list. The music video for "Regret" was premiered on BET's 106 & Park on November 11, 2009 before being ranked at number twenty-three on BET: Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2009 countdown. "Good To Me", produced by Tank and Jerry "Texx" Franklin and written by Tank, Franklin, K. Stephens, R. Newt and J. Valentine, was released as the album's fourth and final single. Though the song failed to chart, a music video directed by makeup artist AJ Crimson and co-starring model-actor Keston Karter was released on February 11, 2010.
2014–present: Until Then
In January 2014, Luckett announced the title of her third studio album on The Wendy Williams Show, Until Then, with a planned 2016 release.
On February 11, 2014, Luckett released the first promo single Don't Make Me Wait from the upcoming album "Until Then". A remix featuring rapper T.I. was released on March 10, 2015. On January 5, 2015, Luckett released a track "I'm Ready" on her YouTube channel. On January 16, 2015, Luckett released "Together" inspired to end illegal gun violence in America in recent partnership with the Caliber Foundation.
On December 7, 2016, she had released the single Back 2 Life, with an accompanying music video released on January 10, 2017.
LeToya has had two series of herself on YouTube. In 2006, she did H-Town Chic; and in 2012, she is doing Life, Love & Music.
2006: H-Town Chic
Three episodes of herself in 2006 about her explaining about herself in Destiny's Child and also about her first self-titled album LeToya.
2012: Life, Love & Music
In 2012, LeToya has been doing episodes on YouTube called Life, Love & Music.
Luckett's first role on television was on the WB show Smart Guy in 1998 with Destiny's Child. She also had an appearance in the movie Beverly Hood in 1999.
Since 2008, Luckett has been acting in plays and movies. She was part of the cast of JD Lawrence's stage play Rumors, as the character Michelle. She hit the road from January 31, 2008 to March 2, 2008.
Luckett was the star of the movie Preacher's Kid, which was released in January 2010.
She appeared in the movie Killers, released June 4, 2010, along with Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck and Usher.
Luckett finished shooting the movie From the Rough along with Taraji P. Henson and Tom Felton.
For the 2nd season, Luckett was cast in the HBO drama series Treme.
Luckett has been a student at Tasha Smith's acting workshop.
In 2013, Luckett landed a recurring role on VH1 television series Single Ladies
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1998||Smart Guy||Herself||"A Date With Destiny" (Season 3, episode 10)|
|2011—2012||Treme||Alison Myers||(Season 2–3, recurring, 9 episodes)|
|2012—2013||For Richer or Poorer||Kya Wilson||(6 episodes, based on the Up movie/play of the same name)|
|2013||Second Generation Wayans||Rochelle||(Season 1, recurring) (3 episodes)|
|Regular Show||Jennifer||(Voice, guest star) (Season 5, Eps. 13–14)|
|2014–15||Single Ladies||Felicia Price||(Season 3 - 4, regular-main|
|2015||Ballers||Tina||(Season 1, recurring)|
|Truth Be Told||Charlene||(Season 1, Guest)|
|2016||Here We Go Again||Maddy Walker||(Season 1, regular-main)|
|Real Husbands of Hollywood||Herself||(Season 5, Ep. 3, Guest Star)|
|Rosewood||Tawnya||(Season 2, Guest Star)|
|1999||Beverly Hood||Girl # 3||Minor|
|2010||Preacher's Kid||Angie King||Leading actress|
|Killers||Amanda||Small supporting role|
|2012||For Richer or Poorer||Kya Wilson||(Original Up stage play/movie)|
|Note to Self||Paula Whittaker||Leading actress, love interest|
|2014||From the Rough||Stacey||Supporting|
|Where's the Love?||Rose||Supporting|
|Heavenly Match||Reverend LaRonda "Ronnie" Mason||Supporting|
|Drumline: A New Beat||Dr. Nia Phillips||Supporting|
|Seasons of Love||Kyla Morris||Leading actress|
|2016||Lucky Girl||Selena Jackson||Leading actress|
|2017||Dionne||Dionne Warwick||Leading actress; biographical film|
She got engaged to businessman Rob Hillman in 2015 after dating for a year. They later quietly married in 2016, and divorced later in the year.
In 2010, Luckett became the new face of Luster's Hair Care replacing Karyn White. She appears on the product line's boxes, billboards and commercials.
Lady Elle Boutique
Luckett is the owner of Lady Elle Boutique. She originally opened this successful clothing boutique in 2003 in the Uptown Park shopping center in her hometown of Houston, Texas as "Lady L Boutique" but renamed it to "Lady Elle Boutique". The store is an upscale women's boutique. She has opened a second location in The Galleria in Houston, Texas.
During the post first solo album era, Luckett also became involved in philanthropic activity. She has been participating in various events like the "Women in Entertainment Empowerment Summit". She was part of the national tour of the "Hip-Hop Summit Action Network ‘Get Your Money Right’ a Financial Empowerment Summit."
She visits schools to motivate and encourage kids to study and to further their education after graduation. She also speaks on the subject of violence and domestic abuse.
- LeToya (2006)
- Lady Love (2009)
- Until Then (2017)
Awards and nominations
- Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards
- Best R&B/Soul Single, Female: "Torn" (nominated)(2009)
- NAACP Image Awards
- Outstanding New Artist (nominated)(2007)
- Celebrities' Choice Award
- Best Music Video: "Torn" (nominated)(2006)
- Groovevolt Music Awards
- Best R&B Female Performance: "Torn"(2006)
- Teen Choice Awards
- Female Artist Breakout (nominated)(2006)
- ASCAP's Rhythm & Soul Awards
- Top Songwriter or Publisher (2007)
- Top Song: "Torn" (Solo)(2007)
- Urban Music Awards
- Best Music Video: "Torn"