*Soulful songstress Leela James sits down with TV and radio personality Jazmyn Summers in an exclusive interview with EUR Spotlight.
Her new album, “See Me” drops tomorrow (07-30-21) and you can catch her singing the rousing new single “Put It On Me” in the video above. Her chops are as powerful as ever. My girl don’t just sing it she saaaang it.
“We went back into the studio in the midst of the pandemic,” James shares with Summers. “It was challenging to record in this climate but we found a way.”
Leela is known for the raw passion, soul and emotion in her songs. The hit “Fall for you,” released in 2008, became commonly known as the wedding song and was played at weddings around the world. One music critic noted that even James’ inhaling in the song was thrilling.
“I come from a transparent place. It’s in my soul. What you get is directly related to me so you feel it cuz it’s real to me. It comes from a very authentic place. One woman’s story is ten other women’s story especially Black women. We carry so much and hold a lot of it in. For me, music is my personal therapy and in the process of being my therapy, I discovered it can be therapy for others and if I can help others, then I’ve done a good job. It’s a blessing.” Leela tells EUR Spotlight.
In 2018, the world saw Leela walk down the aisle in what was widely touted as a fairytale wedding. But “it wasn’t a fairy tale wedding. It was a mistake but nobody knew,” Leela discloses. ” I had the signs. If we’re keeping it 100, sometimes when we get into certain things so deep, we feel like well I’m up in it so to save face you can’t turn back around. You got to go through the motions of it. I got guests, gifts and so you go though it instead of saying nah. We stay in relationships even when we know we shouldn’t be there. It’s easier to stay with what’s familiar but for what? Life is way to short, Just get out.”
And she finally did, leaving him a few years later.
“I realized I loved me enough. I’m not going to be with anyone who is unfaithful and abusive. I have a daughter and a son and I have to be an example for them. What would I look like staying in a dysfunctional, toxic relationship. That’s telling my daughter it’s OK to be with someone that doesn’t treat you right, who cheats on you or lies or rips and runs the streets. What would I look like tryna tell my son to treat women right, be honest, be a gentleman, don’t lie, don’t cheat. I can’t be a walking contradiction. I’d rather they see me standing dolo-solo … standing strong in my conviction of what is right.”
She says it was tough but she knows how to keep it moving
“I’ve been through so much in my life. You learn how to deal with this. You charge it to the game and keep it moving. He doesn’t change who the core of who of who I am. His issues are his issues. What’s hurtful is when children are involved in any type of situation and then mama bear kicks in. You can try to come for me but when my children start feelin’ a way then we got some serious problems,” she declares.
Leela tells Jazmyn that if you don’t leave a bad situation …
“You’re blocking your blessings. You got to clean house … get that dirty laundry out the way so you can get some good furniture up in there.”
And when she meets the one, he will get a dope meal. Leela is also a chef. What would be on that plate?
“Fried cabbage, smothered turkey drum sticks, good ol down home mac and cheese, yams, dinner rolls and my special cornbread.”
She is a fierce defender of civil rights and urges people to vote and get involved with the fight for voting rights.
“If anyone’s paying attention, if you ever question whether your vote matters, you know it does because if it wasn’t a threat they wouldn’t be attacking it and trying to take it away.”
In over 40 states, Republican legislatures are passing laws that will make it more difficult for Black folks , young people and people of color to vote including limiting mail in voting, requiring restrictive voter IDs and making it illegal to give water or food to people standing in long voting lines. Organizations like the Poor People’s Campaign are organizing marches and civil disobedience against the voter suppression.
Get the full conversation by watching the video up top.