Saturday, July 11, 2015

Exclusive Interview with R&B Divas Leela James

By Lenell King

She has the pipes of a soul  legend.  A sound off a different era, and a future so bright that she is destined to be honored like the legends that preceded her. .  Fresh off another successful season of R&B Divas LA and a new hit album, "Fall For You".  Leela James opens up about delivering timeless quality music and remaining relevant in a world of "one hit wonders".  Ladies and gentleman, Leela James. 

Lenell:  Congrats on wrapping up another season of R&B Divas LA.  Was it easier this time around because you knew what to expect? 
Leela:: Yes, in some sense it was
Lenell:  As a musician , what has this experiences done for you professionally and personally? 
Leela:  It definitely expanded my musical audience.  It’s been a great platform for that. That’s the main advantage right now of being on television. You can express yourself to a larger audience normally than what you could via radio.
 Lenell:  You’re originally from LA correct?
Leela: Yes, born and raised.
Lenell:  Oftentimes you hear about musicians moving to New York  or to Los Angeles in search of that big break.  Being that you are from LA, did you find it easier to break into the industry?

Leela: I do feel that I had a slight advantage being that I grew up in LA.  The ways of the land , if you will came natural.  I really didn’t have to learn my way around because I was raised in it.  At the same time, you are not impressed by a lot of things because you grew up seeing celebrities walking down the street. It was everyday life.
 Lenell:  How did you get discovered for those that may not know your back story?
 Leela: Growing up in LA and being exposed,   at a young age  I was always around musicians and clubs.  There are many singers in my family. I was singing at various talent showcases and in church. When I got older in high school, I put together a band and we would perform at different venues. I was out there selling CD’s, tapes, or whatever I could. Then it was pretty much through word of mouth. One thing led to another about this little girl that could sing.  That’s how it happened.  It was a grass roots , type of come up for me.  Stuff like that doesn’t really happen that much these days.  Things seem easier today with social media, but when I was coming up you had to put in a little more work.
 Lenell: I am truly a fan . Your voice is so rare in today’s music. It’s refreshing. In the midst of all the commercialism , and one hit wonders, how do you stay relevant? How do you choose material to keep yourself out there?

Leela: I just try to make what I believe to be good quality music. I think at the end of the day, good quality music is timeless and has no expiration date. That’s what I’ve attempted to do and it has worked.
Lenell: It is working for you.  You were recently on Dancing With The Stars(DWTS), I saw the finale- How was that?
Leela:  It was a wonderful experience. It was something that I would treasure for a lifetime. It was a true moment for real.  It goes back to me being a little girl trying to make in the industry. Now hear I am sharing the stage with some  of these major stars- singing to millions of people not just a small audience. It was natural , prime time. It was major.
 Lenell:   On R&B Divas LA this season, you introduced a project in which you guys performed a song and  performed it at an event to bring awareness to cancer . We also got a chance to meet a close friend of yours whom is battling cancer.  How is she doing and how is the project helping the cause?
Leela : She is still battling, she is going through chemo and everyday is a fight.. We are in the trenches with her and we are entrusting God for healing . It is a battle.
The project is going well . We are doing some mixes on it right now and we are still on it.
 Lenell: Back in 2012 you released an album, which was a tribute to Etta James. Just for clarity you are not related correct?
Leela: No we are not.
Lenell: Ok, great we cleared that up.  What made you want to do a tribute album for her? Was she one of your idols?

Leela: Absolutely, was , and is.  I think that she is such a talented artist like so many that go unnoticed or unappreciated during their hey day.  I wanted to pay homage to someone that I felt was a real force in the industry for many years.  A lot of times we ignore artists like that or just don't give them their props.  This is my way of reintroducing her music, her legacy to a whole new generation . It's important to do that for our legends. 

Lenell:  “Fall for You”  is your fifth studio album, what can fans expect from that.
 Leela:  It is out and  going up the charts. The current single  is “Set Me Free”.  The fans can expect quality music, limitless music.  “Set Me Free” was number one on I tunes this past week.  It's number 5 now. The fans can expect good music . You will be pleasantly pleased with my sound . Quality, limitless music.

Lenell:  This is festival season, where can your fans see you this summer.
 Leela:  I've been on tour.  I will be on some of those festivals , but I'm also back in the studio working on my 6th album.

Lenell:  Can we anticipate another season of RnB Divas LA?
 Leela: We would have to wait and see.

Fans make sure you purchase Leela James new album  “Fall for You “ on ITunes.

Also stay in touch with her on Twitter Facebook  

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