Ain Interviews Leela James

“There’s a perception that Soul singers are a little conscious of things as it is. So, with the [current] political atmosphere, I think it just adds to it. I think we all have a responsibility to put out music with a certain amount of substance in the first doggone place.”

That’s Leela James, the resolute, genuine soul singer from Los Angeles, California who now rests her head in Houston, Texas.

Leela’s music career began to blossom when a high school English teacher recognized her talent. “He said, ‘You’ve got something unique and fresh, you might really wanna take it seriously.’ Up until that point, I was just doing it for fun in church or whatever,” shared Leela. “It wasn’t that deep for me, but when I was pulled to the side and told that, it really made me stop and pay attention to my skill.”

After committing to her craft and deciding to pursue her art professionally, Leela stepped onto the big stage while touring with Macy Gray and the Black Eyed Peas in 2004. After vocally convincing the industry that she had the talent to cut it, she worked with notable producer Pete Rock, providing vocals on his album, Soul Survivor II, and began diligently co-writing the album that would awe soon-to-be fans.

With a distinctive blown-out crown of golden tresses, the singer-songwriter had just brushed past the legal drinking age when she dropped her debut album, A Change Is Gonna Come, which was released in June of 2005. Even at 22, the richness of Leela James’ voice left listeners with an image of a woman who’d experienced her share of trials and turmoil.

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