*R&B soul singer, songwriter, recording artist, and performer Leela James is an absolute star whose sassy, raw, passionate, and powerful voice continues to amaze fans.
Since 2005, Leela has recorded six solo albums, which have generated such soul-stirring hits as “Tell Me You Love Me,” “Say That” (with Anthony Hamilton), “Fall For You,” “Set Me Free,” “Don’t Want You Back,” and many more. And from her forthcoming album, Leela can now add her latest single, “Complicated,” to her portfolio of hits.
For Leela, her music career has been a journey, with ups and downs. Yet, she knows such ups and downs have been necessary to realize her dreams of musical stardom. On Sunday, March 28 at 9:00 p.m. (EST), Leela will share her journey when featured on an episode of “Unsung” on TV One.
“I want everybody to tune in and check it out,” Leela said during an interview with EURweb.com. “Viewers will get some insight into who I am. It won’t give everything, but viewers will see parts of my life as a recording and performing artist, as a person, and as a Black woman. It’s going to be insightful.”
While Leela is excited about her upcoming episode on “Unsung,” she is equally ecstatic about her new single, “Complicated.” The lively ballad, which she co-wrote with Rex Rideout, is a straight-ahead song about a woman in love, who is giving everything to her man, but she is not getting the same in return. So she asks him, “What we gon’ do …don’t make this complicated.”
“On the single, I’m telling the story of a situation of love that’s complicated when it doesn’t necessarily have to be,” Leela said. “Through the song, I’m tapping into a lot of my vulnerable sides that we all have in relationships.”
Leela adds, “Complicated” may give ‘Fall For You’ a run for its money,” she said with a laugh, after revealing that “Fall For You” is perhaps her favorite song that she has recorded. When asked why the song holds such value in her musical repertoire, Leela said:
“It was such a vulnerable record. I love it because it brought out the rawness in my voice, yet it was so colorful and so honest. The song resonated with me. It was straight to the point. The song said exactly what I needed to say at the time, without a lot of bells and whistles. ‘Complicated’ does the same.”
A native of Los Angeles, Leela grew up listening to the great soul singers of the era. There were female divas, like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight. She also was inspired by such male soul crooners as Al Green and The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. While influenced by such legendary singers, Leela has carved out her own “signature sound and vocal styling.”
Asked about her inspiration for the songs she record, Leela said, ‘When I’m recording, I definitely pull from my personal life experiences, and indirect experiences, too,” she said. “I’m able to externalize what’s going on around me and in me, and I just put it in the music. I vibe with the music, and whatever comes out, that’s what it’s going to be.”
For Leela’s ever-growing fanbase, what “comes out” is vocally astounding. Simply put, she delivers her songs in the vein of an old-fashioned soul diva, yet she’s able to put on a fresh paint of soul and grit to please today’s R&B soul music lovers.
“My voice is something that God gave me, and I try to use it as best as I can,” said Leela, who now lives in Texas. “I’m a soul singer, and I enjoy making soulful music that I can feel and that I can make others feel, too. That element of the pure soul will always come out in everything I sing. It’s how I’m wired…it’s who I am.”
For more on Leela James’s music, log on to www.leelajames.com or follow her on all popular social media platforms.
And remember, on Sunday, March 28 at 9pm (E/P), Leela will share her journey when featured on an episode of “Unsung” on TV One.