Performing recently to a sold-out crowd at Old National Centre alongside R&B artists Ledisi and Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James is known to “speak the truth” and deliver soulful messages through her music. This Los Angeles native stepped foot onto the music scene in 2006 with her debut album “A Change is Gonna Come” and today continues to promote her fifth album “Fall For You” released in July of 2014.
The Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper got a chance to chat with James briefly before she hit the stage to greet Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Recorder: What is your off-camera style?
James: I’m really a sweats and T-shirt kind of person off camera. It’s what I feel comfortable in.
You refer to Black History often on social media. In what direction do you see Black culture headed in the next several years?
It’s very difficult to tell. Currently we are living in a very peculiar time. The youth is a very unique generation. I’m not sure if priorities are properly placed right now.
Not only are you known as a soulful vocalist, fans also admire your hair. Have you always worn your hair in its natural state and what are some of your favorite styles?
No I haven’t, but I wear it natural mostly because I’m lazy and I don’t like to stress over my hair. It became a phenomenon for everyone else but I was just doing what was easy. I’m comfortable when I’m at home and can wear braids ,but most of the time when I’m on the road I keep my signature look (Afro).
You were on R&B Divas: LA Season 2 with Chante Moore and Chrisette Michele. What was it like to be immersed into the world of reality TV?
It was interesting because I’m very much ‘what you see is what you get’ and I feel like I represent society as Leela James. There were some days where things were cool, but there also were some days where I was over it. I just completed season three which is airing now. You’ll see a little more of my personality…I have a humorous side (laughs).
With five albums and a number of awards under your belt, what’s next for you?
I just want to continue to move higher in my career and you always want your new project to be better than your last. You’ll see something new by at least next year.
Leela James fills in the blank
My favorite quote is: “When people show you who they are, believe them.”- Maya Angelou
I feel most comfortable when: “I’m sleeping in my own bed.”
“My daughter” inspires me.
Beauty is: “In the eye of the beholder.”
Something people don’t know about me is: “I’m a home body.”
My favorite song off of my latest album “Fall For You” is: “All of them. I can’t pick one, they are all my babies.”
When I’m not making music, I like to: “Do real estate and interior decorating.”
Topping the charts
Leela James has secured several awards including Outstanding New Artist at the NAACP Image Awards, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist of 2008 at the Soul Train Music Awards and a Soul Train Nomination for the Centric Certified Award. In addition to those accolades, her album singles have topped the charts and captivated the hearts of many.
Following are several of James’ popular hits.
- “My Joy”
- “Simply Beautiful”
- “When You Love Somebody”
- “So Cold”
- “Fall For You”
- “Say That” ft. Anthony Hamilton
Stay connected with Leela James
Catch R&B Divas: LA on TVOne Wednesdays at 10 p.m. starring, from left, Stacy Francis, Chrisette Michele, Leela James, Christina “Brave” Williams, Cynthia “Lil’ Mo” Loving, Chanté Moore and Michel’le Toussaint.