"We wanted to catch that raw sound the best we could" - hmv.com talks to Leon Bridges
25-year old Leon Bridges was still washing dishes in Texas up last year and gigging across the state at open mic nights, but, after being spotted by White Denim's Joshua Block and Austin Jenkins, everything changed very quickly. Block and Jenkins recorded some early tracks with Bridges and then recommended him to local DJs and a number of A&R scouts. Eventually snapped up by Columbia Records, Bridges returned to the studio with Block and Jenkins to record Coming Home, his debut studio album, which is out today.
We sat with Bridges to find out all about making the album and his meteoric rise...
When did you start work on Coming Home?
"We started to record in August. We originally set out to record acouple of songs but decided to focus on an album after the success of the single 'Coming Home'."
Given this is your debut album are there songs that date back a few years, or were they all written for the album?
"I've had some of the songs for about two years. And wrote the rest of them during the sessions."
You worked with White Denim’s Austin Jenkins and Josh Block, what were they like as producers?
"They were really easy to work with. Very patient and hardworking guys. We were on the same page with our vision for the sound of the record."
Early soul records have clearly been a big influence on you, were you keen to try and find a similar sound in the way you recorded?
"Yes, we wanted to catch that raw sound the best we could."
What kind of album is this lyrically?
"The lyrics reflect the kind of person I am, simple. I want to make songs that anyone can understand and relate to."
Which song on the album was the hardest to record and which is the one you’re proudest of?
"River was emotionally rough. It was hard for all of us to record a take without tearing up. I'm very proud of 'Brown Skin Girl', I wrote that about my ex-girlfriend, but the song can be applied to all the
girls of colour. It's important for me to shine light on them."
Tell us about the cover, it’s quite a old school style, was that the look you were going for?
"I didn't know what direction I wanted to go with for the cover at first. One day we were on our way to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles and I spotted a dope wall on the street. I told my photographer Rambo
'Hey this wall is perfect, let's take a photo here'. That photo and the red contrast was perfect for a classic looking record."
How much touring do you have lined up for the album?
"We tour all over Europe in the summer and then we're in America for the fall."
Leon Bridges' debut album Coming Home is out now.