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AW Studio Sessions: Leela James: Ma Rainey Redux
December 18, 2020 @ 8:00 pm


What sets the acclaimed R&B and soul singer-songwriter, Leela James apart is her fearless approach to music. “The best artists stay true to who they are, no matter the scale,” she believes. These values have allowed Leela to remain a consistent figure in R&B with a discography of quality soul music spanning over a decade. Her latest project, an adverturous powerful, rock tinged EP with rock/funk trio The Truth, was titled “Are You Ready”. Leela’s music is a constant reminder of what it is to be human – to love, to regret and to dream. Her successful career first began when she burst onto the scene in 2006 with her debut album, “A Change is Gonna Come”. She has since collaborated with the best producers, toured successfully across the US and Europe with some of the biggest names in R&B, performed on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and PBS Country’s Salute to Ray Charles. Leela also performed her emotional ballad, Fall For You, on the ABC hit show, “Dancing with the Stars,” and starred on TV One’s “R&B Divas: Los Angeles.”

Leela’s talent is undeniable among her peers in the industry, and her music continues to resonate with core fans today. This songbird has earned countless spots on the Billboard charts, including a #1 spot on the Urban Adult Contemporary Chart with the hit single, “Don’t Want You Back,” in 2018. Leela’s classic albums have also earned nominations for “Outstanding New Artist” at the NAACP Image Awards (2008), and “Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist” at the Soul Train Music Awards (2008), finally winning a Soul Train Centric Award in 2017. The soul singer has always had a natural ability to communicate a mixture of emotions with the husky and bluesy tone of her voice and was nicknamed “Baby Etta,” after Etta James while growing up as a child in Los Angeles. In 2012 Leela released, “Loving You More…In the Spirit of Etta James”, an album in homage to her idol. Leela’s other musical influences range from soul to funk, and jazz, including legends like Chaka Khan and Al Green. The songstress continues to rock crowds performing an array of classics and new hits like Music and Set Me Free. Leela is currently completing her next release, scheduled for April 2021. When she is not touring, Leela resides with her family in Houston, TX.

Jairus “JMo” Mozee – Musical Director
Ethan Farmer – BASS
Brian Collier – DRUMS
Dominique Xavier Taplin – PIANO

AW Studio Sessions is made possible with support from Citizens Bank and the Blues Foundation.