LEON BRIDGES - February 15, 2016
Updated: Nov 22, 2022
Todd Michael "Leon" Bridges, born July 13, 1989 is an American soul singer, songwriter & record producer from Fort Worth, Texas. He is best known for his 2015 song "Coming Home", which received regular airplay & was also a Top 10 Most Viral Track on Spotify.
Bridges' debut album, also titled Coming Home, was released on June 23, 2015, on Columbia Records & subsequently nominated for Best R&B Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Bridges's style is primarily soul, but resembling 1960s rhythm & blues. The Wall Street Journal described him as a "throwback to '60s-soul a la Otis Redding and Sam Cooke." Bridges learned to play the guitar by playing simple chords to accompany his lyrics. While working at Del Frisco's Grille in Fort Worth, he played countless open-mics until he was signed by Columbia Records in December 2014. It was his song "Lisa Sawyer", about his mother's conversion, that first defined his style.
Bridges began writing & performing 1950s & '60s-style soul music that was described by Austin360 as "a transmission straight from the heart." He began to attract followers & his break into the music industry has been attributed to meeting guitarist Austin Jenkins & Joshua Block of White Denim.
It was Bridges' performance of "Coming Home" that caught the attention of the two. Bridges worked on his first few tracks with Jenkins & Block as producers. They recorded an album with vintage equipment, using local musicians affiliated with White Denim. Bridges released two demo songs on Soundcloud in late 2014. It attracted the attention from several record labels with Bridges eventually signing with Columbia Records in December 2014.
Bridges first official single, "Coming Home", was released on Columbia Records in February 2015. The song continued the success of the demo version & became a Top 10 Most Viral Track on Spotify the same month as its release. Bridges played at the Sundance Film Festival & at the SXSW festival in 2015.
His debut album was released in the summer of 2015 & has been referred to as a 2015 "Album to Look Forward to From Texans" by The New York Times. "Coming Home" is featured in an Apple iPhone 6 commercial. Coming Home was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Aside from his own shows, Bridges also supported Pharrell Williams at the Apple Music Festival in 2015. While opening at the intimate Roundhouse, he was able to perform hits such as "River", "Better Man" and "Lisa Sawyer" from his debut album Coming Home.
Bridges was the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live on December 5, 2015. He performed "Smooth Sailin'" with a full backup band, and sang "River" with only backup singers & organ, accompanying himself on guitar.
Bridges also participated in Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's song "Kevin", which was released on the duo's second full-length album.
On February 24, 2016, Bridges performed in Washington, D.C. as part of the series "In Performance at the White House" for President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama. He performed a song by Ray Charles as well as one of his own songs.
My Interview with LEON BRIDGES
Hi Leon! Where does this interview find you? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Today I had a few interviews with Texas monthly & a short live phone interview with BBC. At the moment I’m sipping on some coffee.
For those not as familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start in music? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
One of my friends in college would bring her guitar to school every now & then. One day she asked me to watch it on her way to class & I asked her to show me some chords & she wrote a minor & e minor on a chart. Two years after that I bought a guitar & made the decision to make soul music.
I understand you were recently in the studio with rock band, White Denim. How was that?
Austin Jenkins & Josh Block are great guys! They were very patient & worked their tails off during the recording process. It’s a blessing that I was able to do my record with guys that have been in the game for a while. I needed someone to come along & help polish my vision. I couldn’t have been in a better position.
On the track, “Coming Home,” you instantly transport the listener back to 1962 on this tune as you croon about returning to your beloved. What was the inspiration for that song?
I wrote "Coming Home" because I wanted to express the idea of faithfulness that people can easily relate to.
You are receiving a lot of comparisons as the new Sam Cooke. Who are your musical influences?
I can’t hold a candle to Sam Cooke but that is very flattering. Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack & Van Morrison are my favorites. I’m also inspired by the musicians & songwriters in my community.
Do you remember the first album you bought for yourself?
Yes! “The Life” record by Ginuwine.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
“When A Woman’s Fed Up” by R. Kelly. I was at a community center “lock in” & a kid was playing that on the piano. I was totally drawn by that sound & I had never seen anyone play an instrument before that moment.
Who would your dream collaboration be with, living or dead?
Miguel & Raphael Saadiq! It would have been great to collaborate with Sam Cooke. On the other hand, I’d be satisfied to have been a fly on the wall.
Who is in your current playlist? Any artists, musicians or genres we might be surprised to find in there?
I’ve been heavy on a compilation of songs Sam Cooke produced under his label called “SAR Records Story”. I have Young Thug, Pretty Ricky & Sisqo on my other playlist. I might lose some fans now!.... Haha
What’s on tap next for you, Leon? What are you most excited about in 2015?
Touring our booties off!
Nicole DeRosa for All Access Music, February 15, 2016 https://music.allaccess.com/qa-with-25-year-old-sam-cooke-worthy-crooner-leon-bridges/