Jermaine Dupri

Rap-Up TV: Leah LaBelle Gets Props from Jay-Z, Inspiration from Lauryn Hill

Pharrell discovered her on YouTube. Jermaine Dupri co-signed her. And now Leah LaBelle is gearing up for the release of her i am OTHER/So So Def/Epic Records debut, due later this year. The Seattle songstress sat down with Rap-Up TV in Beverly Hills to chat about her album, love for Lauryn Hill, and her encounter with Jay-Z.

“The album is just a really good, feel-good album,” said the “Sexify” singer, who got her first taste of stardom on “American Idol.” “It makes you happy, it makes you want to dance. It’s gonna remind you of the good times.”

The project was produced entirely by her superstar mentors, who both rap on the J.D.-produced “100%.” “It’s a real talk song, a lady talking about I’m gonna love you and I’m down for you,” explained Leah, who cites Lauryn Hill as her “biggest inspiration.”

“She really set the road for me for who I wanted to be as an artist,” said Leah of the Fugees frontwoman. “Even to this day, I’m still Lauryn Hill all day.”

While she doesn’t get starstruck easily, she was in awe while meeting Jay-Z during his studio session with Pharrell. She witnessed the hip-hop icon record a song and even got his feedback on her music. “He shook my hand and he was like, ‘Congratulations, this is some good stuff.’”

Rap-Up TV: Jermaine Dupri Hosts Austin Brown Listening Party

The liquor was flowing, the sun was shining, and the music was pumping as Jermaine Dupri hosted a listening party for rising star Austin Brown at the El Cartel Tequila mansion in the Hollywood Hills during BET Awards weekend.

The nephew of the late King of Pop previewed music from his upcoming debut Highway 85 including his single “Menage a Trois” as celebrities such as Melody Thornton, Too $hort, and Evan Ross stopped by the poolside soiree.

“He has a fresh new look to this music scene and I think that’s what we need out here,” J.D. told Rap-Up TV of the 26-year-old singer, who he manages.

Brown has worked with Rodney Jerkins, Q-Tip, Ryan Tedder, and Pharrell on his album, and maintains a close relationship with his aunt Janet Jackson, who he calls his best friend. “She’s the one who gives me the most advice,” he said of the pop icon, who introduced him to A Tribe Called Quest.

Leah LaBelle Visits ‘106 & Park’ with Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri, Leah LaBelle, and Pharrell

Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri stopped by “106 & Park” on Friday to introduce their new artist Leah LaBelle. The Seattle songstress, who Pharrell discovered on YouTube, dished about her street chic look, sweet talking her way into an N.E.R.D. show to meet The Neptunes hitmaker, and her 16 tattoos.

She also dropped off the video for her debut single “Sexify.” “We wrote it based on Cosmopolitan cover titles, so it’s very girl-friendly, fun,” explained Leah. “The video’s a day in the life of a girl getting ready for a night out with your boy, your girls, or yourself.”

Justin Bieber even made a surprise appearance, offering some advice to Leah. “Make sure to keep family and friends really close to you because at the end of the day, those are the people that are gonna keep you grounded,” he said.

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Rap-Up TV: Behind the Scenes of Leah LaBelle’s ‘Sexify’ Video

You’ve seen the sexy video. Now Leah LaBelle takes Rap-Up TV behind the scenes of her debut single “Sexify,” with cameos from JoJo and her mentors Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri.

The Seattle songstress was discovered by The Neptunes producer through the Internet. “I connected with Pharrell and J.D. off of the strength of my YouTube videos,” said the former “American Idol” contestant. “Pharrell actually came across my videos two years ago and he felt at one point it was the right time. He reached out to me and showed my video to J.D. and they collectively decided to do the project.”

In addition to the hip-hop hitmakers, she is working closely with L.A. Reid on her I-Am-Other/So So Def/Epic Records debut, due out late summer/early fall. “He’s been an amazing person in my corner and somebody that I’ve learned from,” said Leah.

Video: Leah LaBelle – ‘Sexify’

Leah LaBelle

Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri’s protégée Leah LaBelle makes her introduction in the colorful video for her debut single “Sexify,” directed by Sarah Chatfield. When her girlfriends need relationship advice, they dial up Leah, who tells them how to spice things up in the bedroom. Her phone never stops ringing, whether she’s in the bathttub or going through her wardrobe.

Skateboard P makes a cameo as a pizza delivery boy and J.D. plays the angry landlord, who comes knocking at her door to tell her to turn down the music. In the end, she meets up with her girlfriends including JoJo for a pizza party.

The “American Idol” alum will release her debut in late summer/early fall on I-Am-Other/So So Def/Epic Records. Preview five tracks from the album including “So Hot,” “Make Me Get Up,” “What Do We Got Lose,” and “Mr. Scissors.”

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Leah LaBelle Previews 5 Tracks Off Debut Album

Leah LaBelle

Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri’s protégée Leah LaBelle gives us a taste of her upcoming I Am Other/So So Def/Epic Records debut with a 5-track album sampler. In addition to the seductive single “Sexify,” the former “American Idol” contestant captivates as she coos over beats by her hitmaking mentors. Play and replay the five cuts including “So Hot,” “Make Me Get Up,” “What Do We Got Lose,” and “Mr. Scissors.”

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Pharrell, Jermaine Dupri, & Mariah Carey Welcome Leah LaBelle to NYC

Pharrell, Leah LaBelle, L.A. Reid, Mariah Carey, and J.D.

Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri hosted a coming out party to welcome their new artist Leah LaBelle to New York City last night. Mariah Carey and L.A. Reid showed their support for the Seattle singer, who will release her debut album on I Am Other/So So Def/Epic Records.

Guests dined on crispy rice cakes and herb roasted branzino at seafood restaurant Catch, while catching up with the Season 3 “American Idol” contestant.

“An EPIC moment at my dinner tonight,” tweeted Leah, whose debut single “Sexify” was produced by Pharrell. “I can’t even express my joy.”

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