Our favorite English soul singer/songwriter Kelli-Leigh discusses what’s been going on with her, advice for up-and-coming artists, and her new EP, including being on tour with Adele in her recent interview with Niji Magazine. Check it out below:
What made you get into music and when did you start your musical journey?
My mum, dad and uncles are all musicians and singers, so music really is in my blood and it’s the one thing that has made me feel the most free.
I used to sing in little groups in primary school, we would practice a few songs and then form our own concert in assembly. That was so great of our head-teacher to let us do that. In our heads we sounded great, I shudder to think what we must have sounded like now! (Laughs)
Who inspires you?
Many people: My family are a great inspiration, my little sister is a genius, and she works so hard and it spurs me on. The creative artists who are making real waves in the music industry, essentially they are being themselves with their creativity and yet inspiring others along the way. I want to be someone who inspires others with my music.
Describe your music in 3 words
Rock/Funk/Soul fusion 🙂
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
Ooh good question.
My recent gig with my band at the Monto Water Rats was amazing. The room was packed and the audience really seemed to feel my music and what I was putting across. The feedback was awesome, I think in brief some of my favourite things have been some of the gigs I have done with High on Heels, we recently performed in Italy and it was amazing.
The Croatia days in my old group KI, BBC Radio One Live Lounge with Adele, were both fantastic experiences.
The Station Sessions acoustic gig in St. Pancras International where I performed my own music and most recently the gig with my band at a school I teach at. I got to show some of the kids I teach what I really do and they loved it, having your own students coming up to you saying they want to buy your music is a fantastic feeling!
It must be amazing to be touring with Adele, how did this come about?
A producer I work with was contacted and asked if he knew of two singers that could do the Royal Variety Performancewith Adele. He asked me, and that went well, we did some additional TV dates in January and February 2011 and it progressed from there. After that I went on to the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge which was awesome! That also went well so then we got asked to do the tour.
Tell us a little bit about ‘High on Heels’ who is involved?
I started working with High on Heels early last year. It is a fantastic collective of DJ, musicians & singers that do massive corporate events and clubs worldwide. High on Heels was set up by the amazing DJ Miss Kelly-Marie.
Last year working with High on Heels took me to Dubai, China, South Korea, Macedonia, Italy, Luxembourg and that’s to name just a few of the countries. High on Heels are also planning on releasing tracks soon, some of which I have sung on so I’m looking forward to that!
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Current day would be Robyn as I think she makes intelligent pop records, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Skin and Skunk Anansie, Lisa Loeb, Prince, Fleetwood Mac & Alison Krauss.
There are probably more but these artists are at the top of my list. I would have loved to have sung with Ella Fitzgerald, she would have taught me a lot!
What advice have you got for any up and coming singers/songwriters?
Practice, network and practice some more! I suppose I need to do more practice ha-ha, but I’m gigging so much that you can get lazy when it comes to practicing.
Also self promotion is so the key, make sure you have a good website and online presences that really shows your vocally strong. I’ve had demos that I thought ‘that will do’ and then people don’t realise your full potential as a singer.
I’ve heard a lot of dodgy online demos too. Also keep striving, you’re going to have the ‘I feel like crap’ days so continue to sing and write during that time and get inspired to come back stronger.
What’s next in your career?
My EP!! I’m very excited. The plans are still coming together so once I’ve finished the Adele tour I’m planning on getting my butt back in the studio and finishing my EP and well…you’ll have to wait and see but I’m very excited!