La Toya London knows how to build up the male half of her fanbase: praise them.
"I'm speaking for the ladies and talking to the men how much we appreciate you and what you bring to us emotionally, mentally, physically," the "American Idol" Season 3 finalist said of her song "Appreciate." "There's a lot of songs out there talking about how beautiful we are and how much they love us. And I don't think we give that back enough. I think us women, we do a lot of complaining, 'You don't do this for me,' 'You're not doing that,' and I think [men] need to hear some positive input coming from us."
London then proceeded to sing a line from the tune: "Even though we try to change who you are/ We really love it all/ Thank you for being who you are."
"Appreciate" is the first single from London's debut album, Love & Life, which hit stores Tuesday (see " 'American Idol' Season 3 Finalists: Where Are They Now?"). The track features a guest verse from Roots rapper Black Thought.
"We were looking for a positive rapper, and I love the Roots, always have," London said. "And when you listen to the song, it just it fits very well."
London, who was widely considered Fantasia's greatest challenger on "Idol," wrote or co-wrote five of the 14 tracks on her album, including "Appreciate," which was a last-minute addition.
"We had the album, it was great, but it was just missing a little something, and I think 'Appreciate' really brought it home for me," she said. "It's very young, very positive, and it's just a cute, fun, catchy song."
It also fit perfectly on Love & Life, which is as aptly titled as albums get.
"It's a collection of songs about different experiences involving love, experiences that I've been through, experiences that I've seen other people go through," London explained. "There's a song called 'Meet Me Halfway,' and that's something that we have to learn in life, that in relationships, any type of relationship, whether it's love or friendship, you have to meet each other halfway and you have to communicate. There's also an inspirational song that I wrote with Barry Eastmond called 'Waiting for You' and it's just saying that, 'Hey, anything in life you want, go for it. There's a whole world out there waiting just for you.' So love and life, there you go."
London — who has been singing since she was 4, touring the Bay Area wedding/funeral/party circuit with her mom — is in the midst of a promotional tour that will include several TV appearances throughout the fall.
"When you're singing to an audience you just have a different drive that comes through you," she said. "You connect more with the song because you're actually speaking to people instead of speaking to a microphone."