Ex-Destiny's Child Member Turns To God, Houston For New LP

'God chose for me to go in a separate direction,' LeToya says.

Six years after she was ousted from the group, original Destiny's Child member LeToya Luckett is getting another chance in the spotlight — and she's not wasting time poking fun at her drama-filled exit.

"I think my full name is 'Ain't you the girl LeToya who used to be in Destiny's Child?' My nickname is 'Girl from Destiny's Child,' " said the singer, who's now going by just her first name.

After their March 2000 departure from Destiny's Child, LeToya and fellow ousted member LaTavia Roberson filed a breach-of-contract and defamation-of-character suit in 2002, shortly after the release of the song "Survivor." The former members said they were dissed in the song. The matter was settled out of court (see "Destiny's Child Settle With Ex-Members Over 'Survivor' Dis").

Still, LeToya said she doesn't hold a grudge and still communicates with Beyoncé Knowles and her mother, Tina. (LeToya owns the Houston boutique Lady Elle and carries Tina Knowles' House of Derion clothing line.)

"That was a part of me," LeToya said of her tenure in the group. "A wonderful experience. God chose for me to go in a separate direction. I don't question Him. They've been blessed, they've had an amazing career, and I can say I was a part of that. Now I'm doing my thing and I don't see the bad in [my leaving the group]. I'm so in a different place. People ask me, 'What kept you strong?' I didn't look at it in a negative light. I kept it moving. I have a very strong spiritual base. I stay in church, listening to the Word."

LeToya is scratching the surface with her new single, "Torn," which she hopes will prove that Beyoncé and Kelly Rowlands weren't the only ones who could sing in the original Destiny's Child.

"This album is basically talking about everything I've been through in the last six years: love, life and relationships," she said of her self-titled LP, due this summer. "I just want people to get to know me.

"['Torn'] is very personal," she added. "I know a lot of people can relate to it. It's a relationship record, about a person. Trying to decide whether they want to stay in a relationship or leave. They're obviously in love, caught up. This person has their heart, so they're kind of torn. 'Do I stay, ride it out, or do what's best for me and leave?' That's a hard decision to make. I've been through that before. I know several people who have been through that, torn in between staying and leaving."

For her album, LeToya called up half of Houston to collaborate. Bun B appears on "Tear Da Club Up," Paul Wall jumped on "All Eyes on Me," "Hey Fella" has a guest spot from Slim Thug, and "Gangsta Grillz" features Mike Jones and Killa Kyleon.

"I love Houston music to death," LeToya gushed. "Yes, I was one of the first, but at the same time, I'm happy to be a part of what they're doing. 'Tear Da Club Up,' it's definitely repping Houston. It's a grimy, hard track, with Bun B on it. I also love it because it has the [New Orleans] bounce I grew up on. With New Orleans being so close, they would bring that music back, and that's what we would bounce to. At 14, 15, they would have clubs for teenagers, and we would go in there and sweat your hair out. That's what we really grew up on.

" 'All Eyes on Me,' " she added, "it's talking about you getting ready for the club and all the guys are going to be looking at you. It's really a self-esteem record."