There’s nothing like talent having the ability to completely change someone’s mind about you. That’s what happened with Leela James and Raheem DeVaughn. I won’t pretend to have never heard of them because I have.
I love soul music. Slap a “neo” in the front of that and you’ve got their genre. Although, after seeing both Leela and Raheem perform live (yeah, we’re on a first name basis), as a part of their “The Love N’ Soul Experience,” I am convinced their soul could do without the “neo.”
The soul was thick inside of the Apollo. I bet you could reach out and grab it, like I do my love handles. Leela started the show, singing tunes of hers that people love so thoroughly, she never sang alone that night. Songs like, “Music,” “Fall For You” and “Set Me Free” grooved the audience into a soulful spell. Between hanging on to her every melodic word to encouraging Leela to sing their favorite tune, her performance was nothing short of intimate. She was singing to me. She was singing with me. She was singing through me.
Note to self, buy Leela James’ “Fall For You” album. You can take this as a note to you too.
And then there was Raheem DeVaughn. I’d heard him on a feature with Floetry called, “Marathon” and I’d always loved that sensual tune about nonstop loving. But it never occurred to me to check for his music. And I’m glad I did. Not only did this man impress me with his Maxwell-challenging falsetto, but he also stands for something. That something is women. He calls us queens and goes the extra mile to treat us as such.
When he’s not crooning “Guess Who Loves You More,” “Temperature’s Rising” or “Woman” on tour alongside Leela James, he’s honoring women with his “Queen For A Day” initiative, where he treats domestic violence survivors to a day of pampering. Isn’t that beautiful?
I sincerely hope you can catch Leela James and Raheem DeVaughn on their 25-city tour across the U.S. It kicked off in Charleston, SC on October 7th and will continue until November 7th. There’s still time!
Get your ticket, you won’t regret it.