It’s rare for an artist to burst onto the scene equipped with a sound that instantly stands them apart from their contemporaries, but Leon Bridges has done just that. What’s more, he’s done it with his only two releases to date, a pair of songs released just six weeks ago. His 1950’s inspired blend of southern soul and gospel is fast winning him fans on both sides of the Atlantic so, with a debut album due next year, now seems like the perfect time to introduce him to you.
To say Leon’s music is a throwback to the 1950’s would be an understatement. What he’s released so far sounds like a demo that’s been rediscovered after being sat in a safe at Stax Records for decades. It is music from a bygone era, from a time when everyone dressed a little classier (for all your ‘50’s fashion tips be sure to check out Leon’s Instagram page) and danced a lot slower. There is nobody else making music like this in 2014.
Leon’s rapid rise from budding young musician to one of the hottest properties in music began back in July, when he took to the stage at an acoustic night in his home town of Fort Worth, Texas. Leon didn’t know it, but in the audience that night was Austin Jenkins, guitarist in local alt-rock band White Denim. Blown away by what he heard, Jenkins found Leon after the show and offered to help produce his music. Leon took up the offer and the pair soon began converting an old warehouse into a studio, cramming it full of recording equipment form the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.
With the vintage studio up and running, Leon got busy recording and by October was ready to share his first two efforts, Better Man and Coming Home. In the six weeks since release, the two tracks have already been played over half a million times on SoundCloud. They’ve also earned him comparisons to soul greats Sam Cooke and Otis Redding and, with his smooth yet emotive vocals and simplistically soulful lyrics, it’s easy to see why.
With influential tastemakers like Zane Lowe onboard, 2015 looks set to be a huge year for Leon. I for one can’t wait to hear more from him, and I think after you’ve had a listen you’ll be feeling the same way!