Tony “Elteazee” LeSure’s new album’s title is combination homage to his grandmother and private humor he shared with the lady. He’s cool like that. LeSure was incredibly close to matriarch Lessie LeSure who passed away in 2013.
“The last Christmas card that I got from her was signed ‘Love and Best Wishes,’” he said. “It was an inside joke between her and I because we would always talk about things that people said that sound like they meant the world but they don’t mean anything.”Some folks casually or reflexively use the words ‘sincerely’ or ‘best regards’ rendering those sentiments hollow.
“Love and Best Wishes was something we both knew what it meant,” he said. “I’ve worked in call centers the last few years with a professional life out-side of being an artist. So ‘Love and Best Wishes’ is a journey through navigating life in the corporate world with being an artist. Being racially profiled at work because you’re African-American, losing love interests because you’re paying too much attention to work and music, losing friendships while maintaining the passion for music and also celebrating getting huge accolades.”
In 2014 a Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri chose not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s death.
“That occurred at the same time I had beat my best sales record,” LeSure said. “I was going to receive a huge check, also won Employee of the Month and I made it into Norman Music Festival. Things were seemingly going great for me but emotionally I was not OK because I felt the injustice.
”It was difficult for the 20-something to manage that set of conflicting emotions.
“Love and Best Wishes is a concept album to be consumed as if you are working at a call center with me,” he said.
LeSure’s music career began in 2005 with a group called HAYBI (Holla At Ya Boy International).
“I released two albums with the group then started doing my own thing in 2009,” LeSure said. “It was my first solo project and first time I worked with Chips Kraetzer. He produced on there and then I started working exclusively with Chips in 2001. That’s been my DJ, producer and engineer ever since."
In track number five from the album titled “Direct Deposit” LeSure’s lyrics manage to blend eroticism with getting ready to leave the house on Sunday morning.
“Girl you keep dressing like that you’re fittin’ to make us late for church.”
LeSure explained his Christianity.
“I know with the faith that I have sometimes we’re called hypocrites for good reason,” he said. “We will throw stones but of course live in a glass house. My faith teaches me that my story is not my own. It wouldn’t be valuable to help somebody follow Christ if I didn’t show them that I went through the same struggles that they did. And that I’ve been used to minister and be a vessel the same way they can be. at’s just a true vision of living.”
Another song, “You’re in Trouble,” documents an actual experience of racism in the workplace.
“It’s a true story with names changed,” LeSure said.
Rumors started by on-line conversations suggested some employees were drug users. Three employees pulled in at work for urinalysis supposedly at random all happened to be black.
“I knew it was an African-American thing because we all had just been promoted and somebody else go-ing for the promotion was white and thought smoking would help you sell better. I hadn’t heard about that,” he said.
The incident was just one of many that impressed on LeSure that his character was being judged based on his race. Being characterized as the “Angry Black Man” is not unexpected.
“Of course I wouldn’t trade being African-American for the world,” LeSure said. “It’s what made me who I am and I love it.”
LeSure is full of love. He cherishes collaborating with other artists such as vocalist (Nicole) Alyse who is featured on his album’s “Sale Phone” song.
“Alyse and I helped each other create projects,” he said. “She just released one that serendipitously was an ode to her grandmother too, entitled, ‘Claudette’s Garden.’"