To say Lyfe Jennings has been through some rough times is putting it lightly, but the resilient R&B star has maintained a music career spanning over a decade now. Incarcerated at just 14-years-old, Jennings managed to turn everything around into a healthy lifestyle and attitude, including going vegan, working out regularly, and writing about topics that truly move him.
Now on the verge of releasing his sixth studio album Tree of Lyfe, the Ohio native is focused on the next phase of his career. While he was a man of few words for this early morning interview, Jennings did have some wonderful things to say about why he thinks a woman’s self-esteem is so vital. Read on as Lyfe Jennings also speaks on being vegan, supporting his kids’ dreams and much more…
What are some of the ways you’ve kept yourself healthy?
Lyfe Jennings: I work out and just don’t worry about getting older. I think your mind plays a role in that. If you think you’re getting older, then your body’s going to respond to that, but if you think you’re the same, then your body’s going to respond to that.
Are there any rituals or special workouts you do to stay in shape?
LJ: I mean I don’t have a ritual, I do three-day routines like chest and back, chest and arms, shoulders and back, and my third day might be legs and stomach, but I mix it up.
Have you always been a vegan or is it something you got into later in life?
LJ: It was definitely something I got into later in life. Probably about twenty something years ago. I was reading books about how people say they felt better mentally by not eating meat. You know, it’s all about energy and you take in a great deal of energy ingesting certain kinds of foods. So if you don’t use that energy for [digesting]then it’s more access you have for that energy for something mental, so I wanted to see how that made me feel.
I just needed some discipline. I was in the joint at the time, and there was a lot going on and I needed to figure out ways to control myself. I know one victory is based upon other small victories, and so I started.
What are a couple of tips you would give people about becoming vegan?
LJ: Make sure you’re ready for it. If you start to become a vegan and do it for a while and start back eating meat, that’s shocking your body. When you shock your body, it reacts a certain kind of way. You might be very irritable for a couple of months.
Be patient with it. It’s like anything else. When you stop eating meat, your body is gonna crave that meat even more just because its use to having it, not because it’s good for the body, but it’s normalcy. Give yourself about three weeks or a month, and then every time you think about eating meat your body’s gonna react like it wants to throw up or something. Be patient, it will handle itself.
Based upon what you’ve expressed in your music like the song “Pretty Is”, how important is it for you for a woman to love herself? What does that mean to you?
LJ: To me, love is not something emotional. Actually emotion is a chemical reaction that happens in your body when certain molecules come together and that reaction is the emotion. Love to me is growth. When I talk about that a woman should love herself, you do not love someone all the time, it’s moment to moment, it remembering yourself in those moments. So the music is to help her remember herself in those moments so that she can love herself.
Sometimes when you get [bogged]down with work, those badass kids, sometime you forget yourself. You forget the reason you’re doing this and you forget the purpose even behind why you’re doing it. The music just reminds them of that, that’s all.
Have your kids said that they want to follow in your footsteps in music?
LJ: My daughter has. She’s really more of an actor to me than a singer, but she loves to sing.
What’s the best advice you would give your daughter about the entertainment industry?
LJ: I tend to not give my kids advice unless they come to me. I like to wait on situations to happen, and then we can go through the whole advice column and all of that stuff. I think in the beginning I would tell her to just do what you feel, and if you got some questions about something or I see a situation happening, then I would come in as the situation dictates.
If there is any piece of advice that you can go back and give your 18-year old self at this stage of your life, what would it be?
LJ: That’s hard for me, because that’s like going back in time… Since I’m so great in my life right now and I know one situation could possibly change this moment, I probably wouldn’t even go back. I’m cool on going back, I’m straight.
As far as the Tree of Lyfe album goes, what would you say makes it special or different from any of your other projects?
LJ: Everything that I do musically I put myself into and take personal situations and bring them about, so there’s nothing different in that sense. It’s just more the truth. A lot of people say to reinvent yourself and this, that and the third. I get it, it’s cool and it’s very poetic, but then again I don’t think you can reinvent the truth, the only thing you can do is tell it.
What do you want people to know most about you at this stage of your life?
LJ: That I’m still growing, and they have permission to be human and still be growing too… In reality everybody is still growing. You might be better financially and they might be better mentally. They may be better socially and you might be better physically. There’s really no time line for growth. Just giving permission for people to be human and recognize that there’s still growth to be had.
Learn more about Lyfe Jennings and get the Tree of Lyfe Album at LyfeJenningsMusic.com