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Leela James at SoundBoard, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It's been a dozen years since Leela James released her debut album, and she's managed to stay plenty busy ever since.

The Los Angeles native has released seven studio albums, including this year's "Did It For Love," and has also made TV appearances co-hosting BET's "My Black Is Beautiful" during 2010 and on TV One's "R&B Divas: Los Angeles" during 2014 and 2015. Focusing back on music James, 33, has "Did It For Love" off to a hot start thanks to the single "Don't Want You Back," which hit No. 1 on Billboard's Adult R&B Songs chart.

James started working on the "Did It For Love" album during late 2015, finishing up during the summer. "I always set out to try to make music and make an album that's a complete body of work that I feel other people can relate to and would definitely have an impact in terms of recognizing good R&B and blues music," James says by phone from South Carolina.

James was also pregnant with her first child while making the album. "I guess I was more in tune to a lot of my emotions," she says. "You're all over the place, happy or sad. I think the biggest effect was just the challenge of actually even trying to record during that time and just staying focused and balanced. It was a challenge. There were definitely moments were you had to change the way you might approach the note from a physical standpoint -- standing, sitting, adjusting the heating. But I think it all worked.

While "Don't Want You Back," the self-explanatory first single, is having its success, James says one of the most intersting songs on the album for her was "All Over Again." "That was a real tear-jerker for me," she says. "My producer started playing piano and the first line I came up with was 'Today you're beautiful in all the right ways.' That was while I waas pregnant and you're thining about the beauty of a person and life and a baby, all these different things. When the song was complete I was like, 'Wow...' Even if I didn't write it or sing it I'd think that song is amazing. I just didn't see it coming."

Leela James and Daley

8 p.m. Wednesday, April 19.

SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit.

Tickets are $29-$38

Call 313-309-4700 or visit motorcitycasino.com.

Web Site: www.motorcitycasino.com

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