Ahead of his show at London’s Old Blue Last this evening, we caught up with one of our favourite new artists of the year, Mr Leon Bridges.
We couldn’t be more excited about what the forthcoming year has in-store for young Texan, Leon Bridges.
His soul, R&B and gospel influenced songs and clean, direct vocals have more than fairly earned him comparisons to Sam Cooke and Percy Sledge, and his two breakout tracks, “Coming Home” and “Better Man”, have now been added to all digital retailers. Leon will be playing at Old Blue Last tonight, so be sure to check him out if you haven’t already. We predict colossal things.
Give us an insight into your journey – when did you really fall in love with music?
I first fell in love with music at a community centre “lock in”. I was 8 years old. One of the kids was playing “When A Woman’s Fed Up’ by R Kelly and I was totally captivated.
What were you listening too as you were growing up – are you from a musical family?
I didn’t grow up in a musical family. I was a kid fascinated with the R&B groups and Solo R&B artist of the time. From Usher to Ginuwine and 112 to Dru Hill. That style of R&B laid the foundation to my singing.
Can you remember the first song you wrote? If so, what was it about?
The first song I wrote was a song called “Conversion”. It was about salvation. I wrote it to a hip hop instrumental. I would go to open mic, hook my iPod to the PA and sing that. That was the beginning for me.
How do you begin your creative process? How are your songs born?
My songs start with the melody or chord progression, and then I mould the lyrics within the melody. The lyrical content is a mixture of personal experience and concepts I want to talk about in a song.
Do you have a favourite place to write? Are there any particular spaces that allow your creative juices to flow.
My favourite place to write is a coffee shop right by my crib called “Avoca”. When the weather is nice, I like to sit outside of the shop and create. I find myself to be more creative when people are around.
If you could write any other song by another musician, which song would you claim as your own?
The Flamingos rendition of “I Only Have Eyes For You” .
Also, if you could collaborate with any other musician, either dead or alive, who would be your ideal partner?
Of the past it would have been great to collaborate with Bobby Womack. It would be lovely to work with current artist like Miguel, Mos Def, Lianne La Havas and Kendrick Lamar. I love their sound
Are you looking forward to playing your London gig tonight?
I couldn’t be more excited, its been my dream to see London. I never thought i’d be playing a show, but here I am!
How does a city like London differ to where you grew up, and how does it inspire you?
I grew up mostly in a little town called Crowley and it’s 25 minutes from Fort Worth and its a big difference from London or any other city. It’s a town with no public transportation, a high school, and a couple of shopping centers.
Tell us about the forthcoming year – what can we expect from you?
Releasing my full length record, and doing a lot of touring!
How is the album shaping up – who are you working with on the record?
The record is done, we’re waiting on it to be mastered. The record was a collaboration of all my fort worth homies. Austin Jenkins and Josh Block from White Denim on arrangement and engineering.
Who are your musical heroes?
Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Usher.
How do you think you would fare as an artist, without the tool of social media? Do you think it’s beneficial or a hindrance to an artists privacy and creativity?
Social media can be a blessing and a curse. Its great to vehicle to have your art discovered but you become vulnerable because of it. Without it you can have a grip of talent, but the process to becoming discovered is slower. Thank God for social media though!
Words: Shane Hawkins