GRAMMY NOMINATED SOUL SINGER LEON BRIDGES TALKS ABOUT LOVING YOURSELF, HAVING PATIENCE AND HIS MOM’S YUMMY GUMBO -by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Want to know who inspires newest singing sensation Leon Bridges? CrownHeightsMom did so I sat down to listen to   Coming Home  the debut album from the newcomer who’s nominated for a 2016 Grammy in the Best R&B Album category  alongside  acts like  D’Angelo, Jazmine Sullivan, Andra Day and  legend Charlie Wilson.

Pumping through my beatsbydre pill was that  deep 50s and 60s’ soul  sound harkening back  to  the height of the civil rights era when R&B  music had a major significance on the movement and integration across the country. Bridges’  throwback singing style puts one in mind  of   Otis Redding and  Sam Cooke . I pumped the volume up on high and noted to myself that a chat  with this young  star was in order . I   wanted to meet  him to  find out more  about his Grammy nod  and his inspiration for this album.

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A throwback in time. Bridges is this and more and what a year he had in 2015 — releasing  his debut album  Coming Home, to performing on Saturday Night Live,  touring across the UK and contributing music to  the  Concussion Movie sound track –these are just a few of the highlights that  kept him busy.

I met the 26-year old  when he  made a stop in New York   just before the Christmas holiday. The newcomer was in town  attending  the Concussion Movie  premiere along with  lead star, Will Smith.   Spotting Bridges  ahead of Smith as they  walked the red carpet  outside  AMC Lincoln Center movie theater I snagged  the opportunity  to get a few questions answered .

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So whom does the humble Bridges look up to musically? “I like a lot of 1950’s and 1960’s gospel and country,” the 26-year old  tells CrownHeightsMom exclusively  as Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Kevin Lyles, Elew  and others  descend the red carpet to the screams and flashes of photographers begging them to “turn this way”. Adds the newcomer  who is quickly  becoming a household. “I love Bobby Womack, Townes Van Zandt, Jesse Belvin, and Johnnie Taylor. “All that different type of stuff.” 

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The late soul legend Bobby Womack

 

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R&B singer Jesse Belvin died at 27 in a car crash

 

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Taylor was known as the “Philosopher of Soul”

 

I did not think that my album would be worthy enough to be nominated in the R&B category—-Leon Bridges

 

The singer counts  his mother Lisa Sawyer  as his biggest cheerleader. “Even when I was  playing at open mics with five people in the crowd, she was  supportive,” he tells me . The soul and gospel crooner even dedicates the  track  “Lisa Sawyer ” on the album to his dear mom.

I wonder what  mom thinks of his current success. “Says the former dishwasher from Fort Worth Texas, “She said to me, ‘ It is all God ‘ and she  is just  totally blown away by the Grammy nomination and  with everything that has been happening,” he adds.

Not just his music reminds one  of the 50s and 60’s. So does his fashion style. He’s a  sharp dresser who loves   1950’s  style suits and putting together a look that is smart and GQ-ed out to the max.

 

With the  new success  and the new gear  Bridges says he does not forget from  whence he came. As he says   to me  he knows a thing or two of living the “struggling artist” life.  Before success hit he  made ends meet being a dishwasher but he never gave up on his music and making it. “You have to be in love with yourself and in love with your art,” Bridges tells  tell   CrownHeightsMom is one of the messages he wants  to share with struggling artists out there.

If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed…………—-Leon Bridges

 

 

 

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Leon Bridges and actor Will Smith at the Concussion Movie NYC premiere.

The main thing, Bridges says artist should remember is,  “If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed and you are going to get impatient .” He says, “It is all about patience,  being in love with yourself and using that time and the small platform for the better.”

 

With  the holidays now over the young artist is preparing for  a busy 2016. He was looking forward seeing  him mom over the Christmas holiday  exclaiming,  “I am going home! I am going to see my momma and to eat her gumbo for sure. My momma is from New Orleans.”

 

 

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Leon Bridges performs at SXSW

So how does the  future look  for Leon Bridges ? The blueprint so far looks great for this young recording artist and   Crownheightsmom  plans on following his progress . He hits the road in March, heading overseas  on a  tour that will last  through mid-June . This may seem quite a busy schedule so soon for a newcomer, but  Bridges says, he loves performing and this  is a “life long dream.”

 

Dreams do become reality  and Bridges says that he isn’t quite  finished yet on achieving his. One  dream  he has  his heart set on achieving  he says is a life  goal of helping others. “I want to provide ways for kids to go to college, ”  he shares,  adding “and  I  also want to provide ways to help out single mothers.”

Way to go Leon Bridges!……Way to go! We  here at Crownheightsmom.com have no doubts  that you will achieve these dreams and more.

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IT’S THE AGE OF MODERNIZED FILM MUSICALS LIKE ANNIE ….by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Modern film musicals are having a huge upswing. Don’t call it a comeback…..call it the future!

 

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The new revamped ANNIE is hip and fresh

 

I grew up loving musicals. In fact, I remember as a kid growing up in  Barbados we would sit in front of the  television  and watch  Fred Astaire and Ginger  Rogers musicals  for hours on end. After arriving in America  in the early 80’s  I  was introduced to Carmen Jones, my  very first film  musical  featuring  an all  black cast. I think I had  an instant crush on the ever handsome Harry Belafonte  and was just in awe of the  jaw dropping beauty  and talent of both  Dorothy Dandridge  and Pearl Bailey .Carmen Jones  became that “it” musical for me.

Jump to 2014 and I am still loving film musicals. In January after learning  that the studios will be rolling out quite a few  you can imagine how psyched I was  especially when I  heard that Will Smith and  his wife Jada  alongside Jay Z were behind a new modernized version of Annie . My kids especially, were  awaiting this release as it starred Quvenzhané Wallis as the first ever black  Annie alongside Jamie Foxx in the Daddy Warbucks role. The movie is refreshing, uses NYC ( Harlem mostly) as its backdrop and isn’t too sappy .It is ultimately a  movie for KIDS and about kids.

Following Annie’s release on Dec 19  Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp popped up in the fairytale star-packed film musical  Into the Woods commanding  over  $15 mil  in box-office receipts  on Christmas Day alone.  Fast behind Woods in February moviegoers will be feasted  to The Last Five Years with Anna Kendrick  and  close behind is London  Luck Stiff with Jason Alexander, then American Idiots, a Cats reboot and  Guys and Dolls will rounds it out with the hottie Channing Tatum in the lead.  Not bad at all! I am excited  for all of these.

I must give props to  The MOMS‘ Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein who have consistently showed that they  knows how to pick movie winners. When they screened   Frozen just before Thanksgiving  in 2013 to their mom bloggers and families I remember leaving the  screening room thinking this is a winner . We all know how boombastically well  that film went on to do .  With their Annie screening on Dec 16 I felt the same way. In fact,  when they posted that they were screening it  RSVPs  filled up in minutes with  many wait-listed . The MOMS did not disappoint. They partnered  with Norwegian Cruise Line for a great event that  even included  a surprise Q&A and picture taking    with the  young child actors who play the orphans -(Tessie) Zoe Margaret Colletti, (Mia) Nicolette Pierini,  (Isabella) Eden Duncan-Smith and (Pepper)Amanada Troya.

This [one] is more relatable to this generation of kids.It is very modernized. It  has social media and such.-actress Eden Duncan-Smith, 15.(Isabella)

 

My 8-year old daughter Kameko  in her fancy red dress reviewed  the movie and gave her ratings  in  Popcorn Stars.

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My 8- year old daughter Kameko all dressed up as she heads to see Annie with friends from school.

My 8- year old daughter Kameko all dressed up as she heads to see Annie with friends from school.

Out of 5 Popcorn Stars – Annie gets 4 popcorn stars says Kameko who  saw the movie with six  of her classmates. Her only complaint—- she asks why  was Foxx called Mr. Stacks. Says Kameko, ” Annie was called Annie and Ms. Hannigan was called Ms. Hannigan  so he should have been called  Daddy Warbucks.”

Highlights from the movie include “Opportunity” the heart tugging ballad  sung by Wallis . Which she says is “really good” .

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For a great feel good movie for kids and about kids definitely check out the Annie Movie.  Currently playing in a theater near you.

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No hard knock life here just dreams of tomorrow…….only a day away