The incredibly talented soul and jazz singer Leigh Coleman and his band Coleman Collective are the Featured Act of the Month for May. Read their exclusive interview and watch the band in action below.
Despite his youthful looks, Leigh Coleman’s experience is vast. In a stellar career, Leigh has performed alongside the likes of stars such as Joss Stone, Solomon Burke and Beverly Knight.
A truly exceptional classic jazz and soul singer, Leigh’s sound has been compared to the great soul singers of the 60’s and 70’s. Yet it is his ability to blend the best of the old-school with a fresh and modern approach that ensures Leigh stands out from the crowd.
Now, as part of the successful Coleman Collective, Leigh benefits from being surrounded by some of the UK’s finest jazz and soul musicians. The band’s unique arrangements and reworks of popular modern music into different vintage genres are incredibly popular.
In this exclusive interview, Leigh shares an insight into his prodigious talent, his career so far, what makes Coleman Collective so special and what the future holds.
We’ve had several people tell us it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. My particular favourite was Latch by Disclosure – performing that live with a 4-piece band is quite a feat! I spent half the honeymoon listening to it. – Paul & Jenny Barrett, Barnstaple Wedding
How would you describe your sound?
Classic Jazz and Soul, plus unique arrangements and reworks of popular modern music into different vintage genres.
Who would you compare it with?
Bill Withers band, Miles Davis and Donny Hathaway sitting in a room together playing modern pop tunes.
Who are your inspirations?
I have so many it’s hard to choose.
I’ve been inspired by many musicians, through many genres. A lot of them are in fact my friends who I feel incredibly blessed to work with and learn from.
But when it comes to a shortlist of famous artists, from the “old school” it would have to be artists like Stevie Wonder, Prince, Donny Hathaway and Michael Jackson… (The list goes on.)
And, in regard to “New School”, artists such as Jamie Lidell, Sampha, Vulfpeck, Jamie Woon, Thundercat, James Blake… (Another huge list!)
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There are so many highlights over the last decade, but one has to be opening up for Joss Stone at Shepherds Bush Empire.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever done?
I’ve done so many great gigs, but a highlight for me was playing Ronnie Scott’s a couple of years back to a sold out audience. I was fortunate to be backed by some incredible players. You can feel the history in that place. So cool.
Which famous names have you performed with?
I’ve been very privileged to have backed or shared the stage with some incredible names such as Joss Stone and Beverly Knight. Also been fortunate to open up for Jeff Beck, Solomon Burke and a few others in the past.
If you could play any venue where would it be and why?
Once again the list is endless, but to pin it down to one venue, it would be the Royal Albert Hall.
It’s so beautiful and full of history. I would love to put together a vocal ensemble to perform something with Small Orchestra and modern rhythm section. A concert where classical meets modern electronic music and sounds.
If you could have a guest musician join you who would it be and why?
If I have to pick one, then it has to be Stevie Wonder. I would say he has been my biggest all round influence in music ever since I was young.
I saw him perform the whole of ‘Songs in the key of life’ album in Hyde Park last year. Mind blown! To be honest, if he walked out on stage with me, I think I’d struggle to get the notes out.
Anything you’re particularly looking forward to this summer?
I’ve got a very exciting year ahead with lots of different projects from gigs with the Coleman Collective, and touring with other artists around the country and abroad. I’m also doing some collaborations with different artists, and we are going to be releasing some new music later in the year.
To find out more about Coleman Collective and to enquire about the band’s availability visit their portfolio page.