Since her childhood in L.A.’s eclectic urban culture, singer Leela James has woven the soul tradition into and around every corner of her creative identity. Deep within her rich and powerful voice are the echoes of Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Gladys Knight and other iconic divas of generations past. And yet, James’ brand of soul is very much her own – a music inspired by past masters but galvanized by her own life experience and highly focused artistic vision. Born and raised in Los Angeles, James was surrounded by music from a very early age – much of it from the soul, R&B and gospel traditions that predated her by at least a couple decades. “There was definitely a lot of Al Green played in our house,” she recalls. “And there were other gospel singers too, like James Cleveland, The Mighty Clouds of Joy and Shirley Caesar.” She recalls her neighborhood as an extension of her own home and family. As such, she absorbed the eclectic array of whatever was playing in her friend’s homes and on the streets. There was the soul and R&B and funk from artists like Aretha, Smoky Robinson and Parliament,” she says. “And there was B.B. King and all the other blues artists, and then the hip hop by Run DMC and LL Cool J. There was so much that I was exposed to.” Along the way, it never occurred to her that much of what she was hearing was at least a generation ahead of her time. “Good music is timeless,” she says, “so you don’t really stop to think that certain music is from a different period and you’re too young to embrace it. If it’s good, it’s good.” By the time she was in high school, she was singing in numerous talent showcases and competitions. “I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue,” she says, “because I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed being on stage and making people feel good and getting a positive reaction from singing.” Leela James’s musical soul embraces an infinite range of emotions and human struggles. As an artist and as a person, making tough choices and doing the right thing – even if it’s the hard thing – is what she’s been all about for more than a decade. In the process, she has never lost sight of the core values of the soul tradition – passion, perseverance and a strong sense of identity.
A self-proclaimed "people watcher, dreamer and lover of philosophy", Debórah Bond (pronounced De-BOR-rah) credits Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, and Sade as the roots which shaped her sound. Her unique and "eclectic mix of R&B, funk and British soul" receives accolades from critics, artists and fans worldwide. The debut album "DayAfter", and the follow up release "AfterDay", solidified Debórah Bond's reputation as an intensely sensitive, spiritual, genuine artist, and a funky diva with captivating stage presence.
After taking an extended break from the music scene to focus on production, musicianship, and songwriting, Debórah Bond and her band/production team Third Logic released their much anticipated third installment, Madam Palindrome, on 7/17/11. This album is a confident, bold, artistic and imaginative statement. It is metaphoric of the infinite perspectives on life, love, music and the creative vision. With time for growth and reflection, the concept for Madam Palindrome emerged as an intellectual, artistic and introspective musical experience - featuring songs inspired by an array of musical genres ranging from psychedelic disco/funk to acoustic soul R&B. Amongst many entrancing gems on Madam Palindrome - “If I Didn’t Need You” - a duet with UK underground legend Lewis Taylor that underscores the sassy sophisticated funk that is definitive of Debórah Bond. Madam Palindrome hit # 1 on the "UK Soul Chart" for three consecutive weeks and has been considered one of the "best soul albums of 2011" by Chris Wells of Echoes Magazine. The charmingly whimsical new video for the debut single "You Are the One" is currently being featured on VH1Soul and MTV.com.uk.
Debórah Bond has shared the stage with many of the hottest acts in soul music including: Rahsaan Patterson, Eric Roberson, Yahzarah, Sy Smith, Gordon Chambers, Floetry, Kem, Kindred the Family Soul, Raheem DeVaughn, Mint Condition, Angela Johnson, Julie Dexter, Goapele, Wayna, Ann Nesby, Elisabeth Withers, Ronny Jordan, Ledisi, Frank McComb and Fertile Ground. In October 2010, Debórah Bond was featured on The Capital Jazz Super Cruise's "Underground Soul Lounge" amongst other emerging talent and in the company of artists such as Jeffrey Osbourne, Phil Perry, Incognito, Teena Marie, Maysa, and countless other musical icons.
Debórah and her band, Third Logic, take pride in creating music that has no boundaries, that goes beyond age, race, or creed. Debórah is a member of the DC Grammy Chapter and Songwriters Association of Washington.