Soulstress Leela James
has wrapped up more than a year of promotion for her critically acclaimed 2005 debut "A Change Is Gonna Come
," and is back in the studio recording her follow-up with Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Raphael Saadiq
, who worked on "Change" and is known for his collaborations with D'Angelo
and Macy Gray
. Warner Bros. Records is planning to release the album -- which will once again spotlight James' talents as an independent-minded and highly gifted singer and songwriter -- next spring.
James, whose throaty gospel-influenced voice has been described as "Chaka Khan
meets Mahalia Jackson
," was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding New Artist" and a Soul Train award for "Best New R&B-Soul Artist." On "A Change is Gonna Come," which includes the singles "Music" and "Good Time," the Los Angeles native was praised by critics for her "old-school tenderness that pushes past nostalgia" (Elle Magazine, May 2005) and her "mission to put the soul back into soul music" (Boston Globe, 12/11/2005).
Over the last year, James has appeared with Marc Broussard
and Solomon Burke
in a tribute to late soul legend Wilson Pickett
at the 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, as well as performed with Jamie Cullum
in a tribute to Aretha Franklin
at the UK Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in London. In March, she released a digital EP of songs performed live in New Orleans. Coming this winter, "Live At The Fillmore" DVD will be available in stores.
Though she is currently recording, James performed at a private event in Monterey, CA, at the Monterey Jet Center on August 2nd for an audience that includes former president Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, U2
, and country singer Keith Urban
. She is currently making select live appearances, including the Golden Gate Festival in San Francisco on August 20th and The Carolina Music Festival on August 28th.
- Leela James photos, videos, bio & more