INTERVIEW: Laurieann Gibson on how Akon made her into Harlee

May 2, 2014 at 2:48 p.m. ET

Harlee is back with a new music album, revealing her surprise at being formerly known as Laurieann Gibson and working with Akon.

Harlee / Laurieann Gibson
Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

The choreographer formerly known as Laurieann Gibson is back with a new name, Harlee, and a new album featuring her as a first-time music artist with Akon.

SheKnows caught up with Harlee at the red carpet of the iHeartRadio Music Awards where she revealed some surprising things, including an unexpected name change and working with Akon on her new and first music album.

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"I think it's all surprising. I think working with Akon, who is forcing me to make sure I don't lose, including asking me to change my name — I think that was the biggest surprise," Harlee told us.

And as far as her new album goes, Harlee told us all about that as well.

"I have a single out right now, 'Dream Warriors,' featuring Akon," the talented dancer added. "I have a video on Vevo, 'Harlee: Featuring Akon,' and the video is amazing, I directed it with amazing choreography, a dramatic storyline, so you must watch it if you haven't. I am super-excited about the album."

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Harlee claimed that while it was odd to change her name, she has actually called herself Harlee every time she referred to her "singer-performer side." But, making it official was not something she had thought about before Akon suggested it.

In addition to having a new album and a whole new identity, Harlee hopes that her music will help fans know that they can go far in life if they stick with it. Having come from a less-than-wealthy home it was "very challenging" for Harlee to get to where she is today, but she didn't let that stop her.

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"I hope [fans] get reminded that it's not just a figment of their imagination, but you can really become all that you dream of," she said. "If I didn't give up then, they definitely shouldn't give up either. It's not worth it."