Please. Please. Please. Please don't steal this lady's music.
I wasn't really that into lyrics with depth or vocalists with soul until I heard this woman. I'm totally kidding but you try listening to lyrics this stirring sung by one of the most soulful voices of this decade and see if you can't help but feel a little reborn.
In "Music", she croons mournfully over just how disheartening music is these days, what with our tragic overemphasis on videos, dough, bitches and hoes (her words, not mine). If you didn't think your mind was going numb listening to the radio, you might reconsider after this song. With just one song, Leela can make you something of a believer.
And if you can't appreciate meaningful lyrics or music called soul, you probably won't appreciate Sam Cooke. Mr. Cooke is likely grinning in his grave at the sound of Leela reaching the high notes with such purity and fervor in her own rendition of "A Change Is Gonna Come." I could listen to a live, poorly recorded version of the track on YouTube for days — that's just how good she is.
To me, versatility speaks volumes about an artist and Ms. Leela exemplifies this magnanimously in her cover of No Doubt's "Don't Speak." Here is where I use a YouTube video to cop out of any explanation: YouTube Video Clip of Leela Covering No Doubt. 105,000+ "likes" can't lie. And the 4 "dislikes" are clearly brain dead. And this version is better than the original video.
This woman is Stax-certified, Liz-approved. Watch her videos and buy some albums that you owe to your soul.
Leela James – Don't Speak
"A Change Is Gonna Come"