Imagine this: you’re a Grammy-nominated singer, considered one of the best vocalists of your generation, who has scored major R&B hits and been invited to collaborate with the likes of Kanye West and R. Kelly, yet some folks consider you “underrated.” This has been the plight of Syleena Johnson, acclaimed as one of the finest R&B voices to have emerged during the past decade. Syleena will appear on “Iyanla’s Fix My Life,” which is set to premiere on Saturday, July 27 at 9pm ET.
In the episode, Iyanla travels to Atlanta, Georgia to help mend the volatile relationship between R&B recording artist and reality TV star Syleena Johnson and her family, which consists of her mother, father and two sisters.
Syleena and her mom also wrote an original song for Iyanla during the taping of the episode which Syleena will record. Read my full interview with the star below:
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): How are you?
Syleena Johnson: “I’m doing great.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): How was the reunion of “R&B Divas” for you?
Syleena Johnson: “It was okay…it was like beating a dead horse for me.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): What was one of your most frustrating moments from the reunion?
Syleena Johnson: “When people don’t hold themselves accountable for the things that they have done, that always frustrates me at any given moment.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): What was your favorite and worst moment of the season?
Syleena Johnson: “The best moments for me were the scenes with my mom and my sisters, my mom coming to live with me and trying to work out our issues. The worst moment was the very last episode; it was very annoying to me.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Who would you say you bonded with the most?
Syleena Johnson: “Monifah always, just because of our history from the first season and so, when Angie came on I really bonded with her and I’ve known her for years, I really like LaTocha Scott as well. I’ve known KeKe for years, so she’ll always be my friend.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Were you sad to see Faith Evans leave?
Syleena Johnson: “Some of the ladies were, I wasn’t sad to see her go because I understood why she had to go, family comes first. It’s unfortunate we won’t be able to see her as much, but we can hang out off camera, we don’t need cameras to have a relationship.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): What made you decide to do “Fix My Life?”
Syleena Johnson: “We have a bunch of strong women in my family, including myself…although the bond is very strong, it’s difficult to keep the bond. It’s a lot of misunderstanding that goes on and with everything that my mom is going through; I’m really not qualified to understand her issues. I felt like this was a gift from God because Iyanla is an amazing woman, she’s a black woman, she’s a mom, and she’s been divorced. I felt like if anyone could help us, it would be her. It might be a good thing for me to look at myself from a different perspective. It’s different from when you go to a psychiatrist, because you’ll say certain things to please them. I love Iyanla’s knowledge and I’ve been following her since I was 16 years old, she’s dope way before she even had her TV show and been on Oprah. “
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): How did your mom and family respond to this?
Syleena Johnson: “She was still in denial and very hard to break at first; she did it more for us. I’m just happy she had the courage to do it, and she’s still a work in progress, she will be 65 years old in August, and that’s 65 years of stuff that is built up, and you’re not going to be able to change her over night.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Did you guys make any progress?
Syleena Johnson: “Yes and no…We were already very close, but it gave us tools to deal with certain things better. At this point, it’s about self work, because at times everyone is going to disagree, so if you’re not doing the self work, then the disagreement becomes an argument and then it becomes personal and then just gets worse from there. We are all seeking individual therapy right now; I don’t want all of this to have been for nothing.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Can you tell us about the song you and your mother wrote for this taping?
Syleena Johnson: “My mom inspired me to write it, and I have to go into the studio and record it and it’s called, “Open My Heart” and it was a very touching moment. We were giving an assignment to write a song about each other about opening up our hearts, I will use her lyrics and possibly her voice.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): What do you want people to take away from watching the special?
Syleena Johnson: “That it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes and that people can’t hurt you more than you allow them to.”
Examiner (Anthony Bowles): Lastly, what can your fans expect from you?
Syleena Johnson: “I just released a new single, “Feel The Fire” with Musiq Soulchild and the album comes out September 9th and the rest of the projects that everyone saw on the show will come into fruition, and my fans can expect me to continue moving forward.”