Ledisi Earns Honorary Doctorate From Berklee College of Music

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Ledisi attends the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Grammy Award-winning artist Ledisi is now Dr.Young.

On May 11, Ledisi received an honorary doctorate for her significant influence on soul and R&B, for her impact on future generations of musicians, and for her work beyond the stage, advocating on Capitol Hill for the rights of writers and performers.

“I’ve been told, you’re not pretty enough, you’ll never make it. “

She opened her speech to the class of 2024 with critical lessons that she’s learned over the course of her career. The key takeaway was staying true to who you are and having unwavering confidence.

“I’m just gonna speak from the heart. I learned a few things along the way of resilience in my career,” she began.

“The entire time I’ve been told, you’re not pretty enough. You’ll never make it. And I’m still here. I almost quit and I used that pain to write a song that gave me my first Grammy nomination.”

Ledisi continued, “But it wasn’t the awards that mattered.”

“I want you to remember as you go along your journey, that there will be people that will tell you who you should be, who you are, and where you should go, and how you should feel about yourself.”

“But what matters is how you, what you think about yourself,” she asserted.

Ledisi won her first Grammy in 2021 for best traditional R&B performance for the single “Anything for You” — the R&B/jazz artist’s first No. 1 on Billboard‘s adult R&B Songs radio airplay chart. Earning her first nomination in 2008 for best new artist, Ledisi has racked up a total of 14 nominations including best traditional pop vocal album in 2022 for her salute to jazz icon Nina Simone, Ledisi Sings Nina. She also currently serves as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy.Among other hit singles that Ledisi has released during her career are “Pieces of Me,” “I Blame You” and “All the Way.”

Renowned A Tribe Called Quest emcee, Q-Tip was also honored with an honorary doctorate alongside the R&B singer-songwriter.

Ledisi’s Commencement Speech at Berklee College of Music