There’s no doubt Londoner artist Kelli-Leigh was born with a singing talent. Beyond that, her ability to write authentic song lyrics makes her worthy of success. Get a sneak peek of her upcoming music video, “Can’t Dance” and discover new interesting things in this exclusive interview.
1 — Growing up in South London, what music excited you?
My Mum had really eclectic tastes so I grew up listening to U2, Maxi Priest, Sam Cooke, Skunk Anansie and Whitney Houston. When I was about 6 my mum’s friends made me a Prince mixtape and I was hooked!
2 — How would you describe your vocal style?
My voice carries a lot of emotion in it. I would say my voice is a fusion of power & soul with a sweet intimate edge.
3 — Is it hard to write song lyrics?
I think it depends on the context. When I’m really feeling something I find lyrics a way to relieve my inner thoughts and feelings. I really enjoy the process of trying to convey an emotion but allowing it to be accessible to the listener. I do sometimes find straight-up pop projects difficult to write to as I hate to be cheesy, I like to try and have at least something which has a deeper edge to it.
4 —Do you believe your collaborations with Duke Dumont and Second City opened up new doors in your artistic career?
Definitely! Those songs helped my voice reached a worldwide audience. It’s still a buzz when people connect my name to the voice they’ve heard for a while, and I’ve had people come up to me and say how much those songs mean to them. It’s been an amazing few years.
5 — Art Bastian co-produced your new single “Can’t Dance”. Can you tell us how the song came together?
Definitely! Art Bastian played me a demo of “Can’t Dance” he had written with Aidan Martin, Lloyd Hinshelwood & Ian Lovatt and I loved it! I knew exactly how I wanted to hear the record going. It’s so emotive however we still wanted it ￼to connect people with sounds I had sung before so we produced this epic progression of starting the song with a beautiful chordal ballad feeling which picks up gently and pulsates leading into a full-on dance drop. It’s different and Art was slightly concerned with my choices in places ha! But I knew that it was powerful and I wanted to make a statement with this record. The song was too beautiful to do it in a simple way which didn’t let the song breathe.
6 — How much fun was it to shot the music video in Cape Town?
It was incredible but crazy intense! I had just done two shows and then got on an early flight the next day but missed our connecting flight via Dubai due to delays so it took us over 24hrs to get to Cape Town so we were knackered but buzzing. I also had a photo shoot out there just before the first scene on the rooftop in front of Table Mountain so basically I shot the whole video on about 3hrs sleep a night! But I loved every second of it! I choreographed the dance with Max Westwell from the English National Ballet and worked with the Awesome Ty Kuypers and his wonderful team from AVA SA to form the strong concept I had in my head. I really wanted the viewer to feel the lyrics of this couple going through a difficult time. The final bath shot was crazy! It was so hot I thought I might pass out but we only had about 2 takes and then I had to jump out, dry off and run to the airport to fly home for another 2 shows. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat though!
7 —Do you always try to find a balance between emotions and beats in all of your songs? Why is this so important?
I really do, I never want my listener to feel they aren’t feeling me when they listen to one of my songs or collaborations. Everything is an emotion; happy, sad, angry, sexy, naughty, pissed of, etc. And the beat around that emphasizes that feeling which then connects to the listener.
8 — While we’re taking a trip down memory lane, do you remember your first live show?
Great question! I think that would be my school’s talent show in Year 7, I came joint first with a song I wrote that my parents produced on their home studio set up, it was a really funny song about a boy I fancied and the audience ended up singing along to it! I’ll never forget that! It wasn’t a great song to be honest ha!
9 – Are you currently working on new songs?
I am, I’ve been working with Black Saint, White N3rd, Yoda Francesco & Kyoshi Island on my future singles production. I’m really excited, they are all very different but very me, I can’t wait to get them out! I’ve been performing some of them at my live shows and they’ve been going down really well.
10 — Any advice for up and coming singers out there?
Yeah, Keep doing you, keep focused, get to know yourself, what you like and what you don’t, How you like to sing and how you like your voice to sound and be produced. Learn to produce your own vocal recordings so you can keep control of how your voice is used when working with other producers and be confident in your sound & good luck 😉