Leela James Talks Crossing Genres and Her New EP ‘Are You Ready’

Keandra "Ke Ke" Scott Tatum | 5/3/2019, 4:03 a.m.
Soul singer Leela James brought her Cali-rooted charm in the form of great weather to Houston in an exclusive in-person ...

Ke’Ke: So, how did the connection with the Truth Band come about?

Leela James: Well, the connection with Truth Band came about through one of my producers, Rex, he connected us and thought it would be a great opportunity and idea for us to collaborate because I would like to think (humbly stated) we’re are all talented artists and musicians. The whole idea was to try to do something a little to the left of what I haven’t done or what people may have expected for me to do. I wanted it to be a little bit more on the art side of music and not really say, well, we got to stick to a certain format or genre. When you’re an artist that loves all kind of music like myself, you just make music and sometimes it takes on a life of it’s on. You don’t always just go into the studio and be like today I’m going to make a song like this or a certain way; you just let it flow. You go in there and let your inner spirit speak for you and sometimes, that’s where your best music and songs come out. That’s what The Truth Band and I did, we collaborated. Those guys are so extremely talented, it took us just a couple of days; the music came so easy. It was an easy process, a one take type vibe with Cali weed poppin’, ha-ha.

Ke’Ke: Since you’ve been in the industry for a while, what do you think about the state of R&B and soul?

Leela James:You have so many musicians, artists and people that are making music, I’ve always said you may not hear them on the radio. Now, we are living in a time where I don’t think people really listen to the radio as much anymore, it’s like their streaming everything, online and their on Youtube. There are so many avenues for people to be heard that there are just artists coming from out of every nook and cranny making music and I think it’s a good thing. There’s just not just one or two artists out there, there are several artists. I think in the past prior to all these avenues now, people are not just like, I’m just going to go balls out and do me and start releasing music. You felt really restricted if you are not played on the radio and that nobody would hear you in the past. Whereas now, there are so many routes to take, and now you’re like, dang, who is this person and that person?

Ke’Ke: Are there artists you might low key listen to?

Leela James: You know what’s funny, I listen to a little bit of everything, but, people are always for whatever reason surprised or taken back that I listen to a lot of trap music. I’m like, yeah I do. I’m not saying everything in the trap is good and the messages are good. Sometimes, I’m just bobbing, and then again, I’m still from South Central and I listen to a-lot of hip-hop. There are artists that like Nipsey Hussle, I don’t think the world knew of him prior to his passing. In his passing, he is like ‘the great’ now, but, if you came up in L.A., you were already privy to how dope he was. It’s like, welcome, thank ya’ll, ya’ll finally got here. It goes back to what I was saying, just because you’re not hearing cats on the radio like every 2 seconds, don’t think they are not out there. Unfortunately, it seems like it takes something like death for people to pay attention, it’s like, dang, this person is not even here to receive all these flowers being given. It’s definitely important to love on people while you can still give them their flowers. It’s a cold world. Can you imagine what Nip might be feeling if he knew? Everybody is embracing him. The Marathon is all over the world now, and we all have a part to do to continue what he started. It’s dope stuff out there. If you take artists like myself, I tend to listen to everything. I just embrace good music and I embrace the vibe and the mood. It could be a country song. There are just artists that may be bound to certain regions. I’m sure there are local legends here, in Houston, a lot of the world may not know.

Ke’Ke: What you think about Lil’ Nas X?

Leela James:(As she sings “Country Road”) Ha-ha, that kind of stuff is fun though. The melody is catchy, yeah. I love it thought, because at the end of the day, as black people, we’ve been making music since day one. We started all of this.

Leela James has a tour kicking off at the start of Summer 2019 and you don’t want to miss out on the forthcoming dates.

Be sure to follow @leelajames on Facebook on Twitter, @leelajamesoffical on Instagram

Website: www.leelajames.com

Stream Link: smarturl.it/ThatWomanLeelaJames