Happy Birthday, Leela James!
There aren't that many constants when it comes to popular music. However, today does bring one to mind: nobody will hate if Leela James comes on the playlist. The Los Angeles-born singer turns 32 years old (June 2).
James' voice is held in high esteem. Although her discography doesn't compare, her vocal talent has been compared to the likes of Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner. It's an extreme rarity for a singer to draw that kind of comparison these days.
Her first two albums fittingly had a throwback sound to them. The singer's debut LP, A Change Is Gonna Come, didn't do that well on the Billboard charts (arriving at No. 180 on and never moved higher than No. 148), but it did achieve some praise due to how well she sounded over those instrumentals -- even with the hip-hop eccentricities. James made it clear that she had many influences, too. Her debut and Let's Do It Again included covers of No Doubt, Al Green, the Rolling Stones and Foreigner (think, "I Wanna Know What Love Is").
Mainstream fame eluded James, but she kept on keeping on with good material. She released three more albums, including one (My Soul) with Stax, which is fitting giving their long association with classic soul. Her last album, Fall For You, dropped in 2014.
Watch Leela James' "Fall For You" Video
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