Influenced by the likes of James Brown, Donny Hathaway and Mavis Staples, talented singer-songwriter Leela James has been making her own winning mix of bluesy soul and R&B for more than a decade. Her sixth studio album, Did It for Love (stream it below), which explores all the different sides of love, came out just a few weeks ago. “I don’t really try to think of concepts when I make music, I just go with the natural flow of the evolution of the making of the album,” James tells Rated R&B. “As I’m recording, sometimes it’ll take a life of its own. When I’m writing the songs, they’re usually based off direct and indirect experiences. It kind of tells its own story.” Touring in support of the new music, James (above, performing “Don’t Want You Back” for Baeble Music) has been making her way across North America with English singer-songwriter Daley (below, doing “Alone Together” live in concert), who’s known for mashing together soul, electronic music and pop into his own unique sound—and has been compared to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. See them both on Saturday night at the world-famous Apollo Theater.
Tag Archives: Simply Red
Thanks to several singles and EPs, singer-songwriter Gareth Daley, performing as Daley, began gaining attention in his native England several years ago. And because of his red hair and love of R&B, he was often compared to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. But with the release of his debut full-length, Days & Nights (stream it below) in February, Daley (above, performing “Look Up” for Billboard) has begun to be recognized on his own merits. The soul singer collaborates with Pharrell Williams and the Roots on the new album, which AllMusic says, “courses through many moods and modes, yet it’s impressively unified…. Brilliantly put together, this must be one of 2014’s best debuts.” And he doesn’t just sound great on his recorded material—Daley happens to be an engaging, high-energy live performer. And he plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night.