Leela James Talks Upcoming 'Did It for Love' Album, Reveals Cover & Release Date: Exclusive
publish date: 2017-02-08
Leela James' flinty, dazzling new single "Don't Want You Back" earned the coveted "most added" designation at Urban AC stations when it was released last fall. That kind of explosive reaction has listeners approaching James, more than a decade into her career, as if she was a rookie. "You meet people and they're like, 'I've just discovered you,' and it's like, 'I've been around since 1922,'" she jokes to . On a more serious note: "I've been working, been making music -- and been overlooked, some might say."
This is hopefully about to change. James' last album, Fall For You, spawned three hit singles, and "Don't Want You Back" promises to extend this streak: it reached No. 6 on the latest Adult.R.a.p.B chart, and if it climbs two more spots, which seems highly likely, it will become her highest charting single ever. She'll follow that with Did It For Love, a new full-length, on March 31.
But James' overlooked-ness is undeniably baffling: she has a sterling voice, as comfortable with the sly, soft edges of Betty Wright as the pebbly decay of Betty Davis. And she's expert at picking collaborators, whether it's beat making legends -- Kanye West and Pete Rock have produced for her -- or highly respected neo-soul studio aces like James Poyser and Raphael Saadiq.