ESSENCE magazine has revealed two new cover stars for their 2022 Festival of Culture issue and this time, rising R&B stars Summer Walker and Lucky Daye grace the cover of the digital feature in “Still Over It”/ “Painted” perfection.
Both singers opened up about their undeniably unique sound and their rocky but gratifying journeys to fame. Walker, who is set to headline the ESSENCE Fest stage on July 2 for the first time, shared that after much success from her 2019 album Over It she’s ready to explore new musical territory outside of her traditional R&B realm.
Summer Walker Tells ESSENCE She Wants To Make Soul Music
The sultry vocalist admitted that Soul is her “favorite type of music” and a genre that “resonates” with her the most, but in today’s music industry where ratings, radio plays, and social media determine an artist’s value, she doesn’t feel like industry experts see the genre’s profitability.
“I just don’t get to do it as much because that’s not what you get paid for, you know?” Walker told the publication, noting how music industry execs might be hesitant to put a Soul song on the radio because it doesn’t “give you awards like they used to back in the 2000s.”
Despite how others might receive the genre, Walker shared that she absolutely can’t live without listening to Soul music, a genre that’s closely tied to her familiar roots in R&B.
“It’s just an overall life enhancement. I don’t know what kind of life I would live if I didn’t get to hear it.”
In 2021, the Interscope Records artist’s 2nd studio album Still Over It exploded on Billboard and streaming charts with a number of historic wins. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and became the first R&B album by a female artist to top the chart since Solange’s A Seat at the Table in October 2016. Within its first week of release, the fan-favorite generated 201.1 million streams. Walker now holds the title of being the only female artist in the U.S. to have the biggest streaming week for an R&B album, according to Vibe.
Summer Walker On The Joy Of Motherhood
Interestingly enough, while the talented singer loves belting her sultry chops for fans, she isn’t big on performing in front of large crowds. But one thing that does bring “joy” to her heart and soul is her daughter, Princess Bubblegum. The “White Tee” hitmaker welcomed her daughter in March 2021 with her ex-boyfriend and super-producer London On Da Track. Juggling motherhood with her busy schedule can get “really hard” at times according to the 26-year-old.
“It’s really stressful and it’s really a lot of sacrifice. Sometimes, it’s like, is it worth it? Then they smile and make your day, and the answer is yes,” she told ESSENCE.
Despite all of her success, there’s one thing that Walker wishes she could turn back the hands of time and change.
“I wish that I paid more attention to the person I procreated with,” she told the publication bluntly. If you’re been living underneath a rock, Walker and her ex-London On Da Track were in a difficult on and off again relationship for two years up until April of last year. The former couple has bumped heads on social media over a slew of cheating allegations, parenting differences, and everything else in between.
“It’s still like you never really know anybody. Even how long you can be with people, you just never really know,” the Atlanta native said before adding:
“People be in long-a** marriages, and they just switch up and you’ll be like, “Yo, what the f**k?” So, I guess you can just never really know.”
Walker Is In A New Relationship But Isn’t Totally Healed From Past Trauma
Now, the BET award nominee is in a new romantic relationship, but she’s still doing the work to heal from her past trauma by seeking therapy and leaning on her religion. Fans have connected with the singer over her deep lyrics detailing the hardships of love and those soul-crushing breakups you just wish you could forget, but now that she’s in a new relationship, Walker confessed that she doesn’t “really” know if her new found love will have an impact on her music. According to the star, she hasn’t really “been focused on making any new music,” although fans have been dying to hear her next offering.
Lucky Daye Tells ESSENCE He’s Walking In His Own Lane
Unlike Walker, music seems to be flowingly effortlessly to New Orleans standout, Lucky Daye.
The singer’s Billboard 100 smash “Over” has been dominating airwaves and in April, the star’s Table For Two EP snagged the Best Progressive R&B Album award at the Grammys. The star has also penned songs for R&B titans like Mary J. Blige and Ella Mai.
It’s been a long time coming for Daye, who had been grinding for years in the industry until he was finally signed by RCA Records in 2018.
“I got fed up with people telling me they don’t like my songs,” the 36-year-old explained of his rough beginnings.
“It got to the point where it was like, okay, I’m going to make some fire songs that they never heard, finish them, play them and when they ask for them, I’m going to say, ‘No.’ And I’m going to keep doing it over and over until they talk bad about me and my name spreads and then people start calling me trying to get my songs.”
Persistence and determination are the key ingredients for success and Daye has an endless supply. Now that he’s at the pinnacle of his career, the bubbling singer and songwriter said he isn’t looking for “validation” from anyone on his music.
“No way. I can never do that,” he continued. “Respect to people that can. It’s just, that I’m not that controllable. My heart doesn’t allow me to be. I have to have my own lane.”
Daye, who will also be performing at this year’s ESSENCE Festival, said that he’s in his happy place when he’s rocking out on stage, a very different tune from Summer Walker.
“When I get on stage I’m relaxed. I have somebody to throw all of this energy to and nobody’s going to judge me,” he added.
You can read the full cover story for Summer Walker and Lucky Daye on ESSENCE’s website and don’t forget to catch them rocking on stage at the ESSENCE Festival on July 2, 2022. Janet Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Kevin Hart, and New Edition will also be headlining the event.