Kelli-Leigh Black Soul Singers Can Feel Defeated In The Music Industry


Kelli-Leigh Black Soul Singers Can Feel Defeated In The Music Industry

Recent conversations about racism are empowering more black women to speak about their experiences in the music industry, says singer Kelli-Leigh.

Kelli-Leigh has voiced two UK No.1 singles and a string of club hits, but has struggled to find label support for her own music.

The singer from south London wants more recognition for black women working in dance music and says it’s not just her whose work is being overlooked.

“Other artists and black soul singers I’ve spoken to – they say the same thing,” Kelli-Leigh tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“It’s often quite a defeatist feeling. It’s not right, but this is where we are and I’ve got to keep it moving and I’ve got to pay my bills.”

The first big hit Kelli-Leigh worked on was Duke Dumont and Jax Jones’s I Got U, which was No.1 in 2014.

She was hired as a session singer to provide the vocals on the track, so didn’t expect credit on the song.

But she hoped the track’s success would give her career the boost she wanted.

It didn’t. Neither did a second No.1 that year or a Top 10 single in 2017, More Than Friends with James Hype, which did credit her.

James tells Newsbeat he wants to see more “transparency” in the dance industry.

“I think transparency is everything, to be honest. It would be great for the fans to know exactly who is behind the piece of music,” he says.

“A lot of dance records rely on authentic, soulful-sounding voices and there are a lot of records where that is almost the biggest part, in dance music.”

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James says it was a “no-brainer” to share the song credit.

“Whether or not it was going to work, all came down to how good the vocal was on the track,” James says.

“As far as I’m concerned, if it wasn’t for Kelli-Leigh, that track probably wouldn’t exist, or if it did, then it may not have been as successful as it was.”

Kelli-Leigh Black Soul Singers Can Feel Defeated In The Music Industry


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