Photo: Volcano

For years, I knew very little about Lysette. For instance, I had no idea her actual artist name (at the time) was Lysette Titi. I didn’t know she was from the D.C. area. I had no idea she was, at one point, a lead singer for legendary D.C. go-go band Backyard Band. All I knew was that in early 1998, during my freshman year at Morehouse College, I came across this CD single called “Young, Sad and Blue” and it became an instant repeat in the dorm room. And it became that for most folks I knew who heard the song.

I don’t even remember buying it. Considering her association with Atlanta-based Dallas Austin, it’s entirely possible that her street team was handing out maxi-single CDs on campus, like so many other acts (shouts to 4.0 and Sam Salter).

Lysette Titi, “Young, Sad and Blue” (1998)

But this song was infectious as fuck. It still is. It’s so somber. Her voice, though, is so strong and cuts through so sharply. Hell, I’m not even entirely sure she’s on key for the whole song —and I don’t mean that as shade, either, because I absolutely believe she can sing. The song’s keys seem to lend themselves to some experimentation, vocally. What I do know is that this is a song I’ve held onto for over 20 years now since I first got that CD single, one that I still own today.

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Funny story about Lysette, who now goes by the name Oweleo Lysette (she has a show in D.C. in August): I used to host an open mic night in D.C. back in the mid-2000s. We had a backing band called Cut the Check. I remember one night, the bandleader said his girlfriend was coming through and would sing a few songs. He said her name was Lysette, but this is almost 10 years after discovering her. She gets there, we exchange pleasantries and make small talk and then she gets up and performs with the band. And then they hit “Young, Sad and Blue” and my head exploded. I called my best friend and was like, “bro...LYSETTE just came through and performed” and he knew exactly who I was talking about. He’s from D.C. and had no idea she was from there either. Funny how that happens.

Shouts out to Lysette for creating a song that still impacts 20-plus years later. For that, I’m neither young, nor sad, nor blue.