Leela James came up on my radar a year or two ago when my ear caught sound of her cover of James Brown's It's A Man's Man's Man's World from her second album, Let's Do It Again. That album was a collection of eleven covers of soul and R&B numbers (and a few surprises thrown in to boot) that although spanned a fairly wide range of artists (artists such as the Rolling Stones, Womack & Womack, Bootsy's Rubber Band, Al Green, The Staple Singers, and others), didn't seem like it really pushed her abilities to their heights. Don't get me wrong, there are some good songs in the mix, but not a single one of James' own.
Last month James released her third album, titled My Soul, and it's definitely a HUGE step in the right direction for her. For this album she changed labels and moved over to the revamped Stax Records, a move that I think was insanely positive for her and her artistic growth. The last album felt like it was geared toward the older crowd; this album exudes a more youthful vibrancy that suits James well. It still retains ties to the soul music that James' tastes were formed through while also connecting to the music of today. It's a hot mix of old school soul and modern day R&B/hip-hop that's been in heavy rotation in my car for a few weeks now.
Check out a handful of her tracks below, and then leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and you'll be in the running to win a SIGNED copy of her newest album. I'll choose a winner next Fridayish and notify them via email pronto. Don't sit on this...make sure to enter!
Leela James - So Cold : My Soul
and old one:
Leela James - Clean Up Woman (Betty Wright cover) : Let's Do It Again
and a guest appearance:
Pete Rock - No Tears (Feat. Leela James) : Soul Survivor II