Laurieann Gibson Is Harlee

Famed choreographer takes on a new moniker, teams up with Akon, Johnny Wright to launch her career as a singer/dancer.

Posted: 07/26/2014 10:00 AM EDT

As a choreographer, Laurieann Gibson has worked with some of the biggest names in music, from Michael Jackson to Lady Gaga. Now, with the help of Akon and Justin Timberlake's manager Johnny Wright, Laurieann, who makes music under the name Harlee, looks to take over singing the way she took over dance.

Laurieann announced her arrival via a short viral video on Vevo, and though she's ventured into music in the past, this time she looks to incorporate both music and dance into one movement.

"The inspiration for me as an artist, a performer and a director was 'Thriller' and was 'Smooth Criminal,' and I think that is exactly the tone of my album both visually and with regard to the execution of the dance," the "Dream Warriors" singer told BET.com. "I definitely think [that fusion] is missing and that's the direct lane that Harlee is going to dominate and bring back."

Laurieann has ventured into music before as a member of girl groups Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pretty Special and Set It Off, but with Harlee the Canadian songstress has a new vision and a new team.

"I am really blessed to have Johnny Wright and Akon," said Laurieann. "Johnny is very specific, so if you're not going to bring something honest and something that's going to affect the masses then Johnny Wright is not going to get down with it. And with Akon, If you have that oddity and that quirkiness to your vision, you're doing something that's never been done, Akon is going to see it with you. Plus lyrically and song structure-wise he's undeniable, so it's been incredible to have them on this journey."

In her work with some of the biggest names in pop and dance, Laurieann created crazes that spread all over the world and as Harlee she looks to do the same thing on a larger scale.

"When Harlee can really unfold, when this album completely delivers itself, it is a musical dance journey," she proclaimed. "She comes from the place in the heart and mind where we have the freedom to liberate and live out our dreams and support each other. If you look at the video, which is on Vevo, it is her escaping from the oppression and from the idea that you can't live out all parts of your creativity."

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(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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