Published on July 29th, 2018 | by Guest Contributor0
Actor and Musician Leon Speaks On New Album Leon & The Peoples: ‘Love Is A Beautiful Thing’
The highly anticipated and long awaited full length album, “Love Is A Beautiful Thing,” by Leon & The Peoples, will be released by the Spectra Music Group on Friday July 20th. The album evokes the theme of love in one form or another and is written from the heart by actor, singer, songwriter Leon Robinson, mastermind behind Leon & The Peoples. The eclectic tracks are flavored Reggae with a taste of pop, R&B, soul, rock, and a splash of funk.
Leon the actor can be recognized as the face of David Ruffin in the TV movie “The Temptations,” J.T. Matthews in the film, “The Five Heartbeats,” Derice Bannock in the movie “Cool Runnings,” and Shep in the basketball film, “Above The Rim.” He also appeared as Little Richard in the NBC miniseries, the football teammate of Tom Cruise in “All The Right Moves,” “Cliffhanger,” and a long list of other TV series and major films. He was the main character in Madonna’s well known and controversial music video, “Like A Prayer.” Leon was also voted one of the sexiest actors of all times by AOL Black Voices.
Musically, Leon and the Peoples received an International Reggae and World Music Award, toured with Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffths in the “For The Love Of It Tour”, and headlined NYC’s Central Park AIDS Walk in 2010 and 2013. His single “Love is a Beautiful Thing” was featured on the BET/Centric TV show Culture List.
Now Leon and the Peoples proudly announces the unveiling of their new 10 track album, “Love Is a Beautiful Thing.”
I had an in depth conversation with the accomplished artist regarding the new record, as well as some new projects…..
I love the new album, it’s sonically eclectic.
Leon: Sometimes it’s cool if it’s all like the same thing, but because we play a mixture of Reggae, and soul, and rock and some pop, I just think as long as the theme is basically the same…the songs don’t have to be the same. All the songs are about some version of love.
I feel like the album is coming out at the best possible time when we need it most.
Leon: We all need love, that’s for sure. You know I have this film out that’s doing really well in the film festivals. It’s a short film that I directed and produced with my partner and it’s called, “Let’s Make America Black Again.” It’s won an award, and I play a candidate, Lamar Johnson who’s running for office against the Trump administration under the campaign slogan, “Make America Black Again,” but with an entire white campaign staff. It’s just political satire. People love it . They play it at the film festival, people are cracking up, but they also really get it. So many of us are part of the resistance but we don’t need to walk around mad every day.
I did like the pig that England had flying around London with Trump’s face on it.
Leon: You know it’s funny, but it’s really sad because the thing is that no matter what we thought of our President, we always respected him. I didn’t like Bush, but I always respected him as a President. Now this President can’t even be respected.
No, he’s a big joke.
Leon: It’s not a good look for us.
No, it’s embarrassing. Hopefully in a couple of years we will really be able to laugh at the mistake. I’m not very political anyway.
Leon: No you don’t want to be, it’s not a good time to be.
But, your album is coming out at a good time and it will make people happy.
Leon: I want music to make people feel good. It can be thought provoking but the general feeling is to make you feel good. That’s why we listen to music, to feel good.
So, you’re an accomplished singer and songwriter, an accomplished actor…..you really excel at both. Is there one that you prefer over the other?
Leon: No, at this point no. I trained to be an actor, and I’ve been very successful at it….but I’ve always loved music. I think to be on a stage performing …that feeling that I get, that exhilaration is great whether I’m doing that in a play or whether I’m doing it singing with my band. I feel the same exact way…butterflies in my stomach…
Do you get nervous before you go on stage?
Leon: Yeah, but I think anytime you care about something, you always feel something. You always want to be good. You always want to give your best, your best in your standards. They are usually higher than anyone ever watching.
Artists can be very self-critical I’ve found.
Leon: Yeah, that’s the reasons I hardly ever watch my films. Only at the premier or maybe one other time. What am I watching for again? To pick myself apart? I don’t want to do that.
But, you’re happy with the album?
Leon: Yeah, I am happy with the album. There was a lot of work put into it. Such great musicians on it…and I love writing songs or creating songs…The leading single that’s coming off of it, “Sometimes I Wish I Was Single,” I just love the way it came out. It was a concept song of mine. I thought about it..” what is it that everyone feels? I think that most people even if they are happily married, whatever…sometimes they wish they were single.” Just for whatever reason …maybe it’s just for ten minutes out of the day, or whether it’s a week….to not have the responsibility, just to be free, to do whatever you want to do. Actually when I perform the song during the bridge part, I break it down with the band and I talk to the audience. I just make them imagine what it’s like for example: “Your boy calls you and says he’s got two tickets to the all-star game. Then your wife says, you’re going to your mother in laws house. Or just some days you want to sit around and watch the NFL play-offs in your underwear, and not have to do anything.” We’ve only performed it a few times and midway through the song people are singing it back to us. One woman said, “that’s my theme song.” It’s your theme song…?? You’ve only heard it one time…
I think it’s a little anthemic.
Leon: And what I really love about it, it’s disguised…What it really is, it’s a love song. The real thing is about, imagine if you could be single just to go back to the day that you just met that person, and you can go out and mingle and fall in love all over again. Everyone knows that the beginning is always the best. When you meet someone and you fall in love, to be able to do that. If you’ve been together for a long time, like 20 years, and you remember when you first met, and when you fell in love. Before the kids, before the soccer practices, before the house notes…
Ok I think you’ve just talked yourself out of trouble.
Leon: That is the second part of the hook. That line, when you go back to the days when you first met. When you fall in love all over again. There’s a bridge saying, “I’d miss all the home cooked meals, all the things you do for me, if I were single ….I don’t really want to give that up…..but sometimes ….”
So wait, are you married?
That’s probably a good thing when you first hear the song.
Leon: Trust me, my lady loves the song. She thinks it’s so well written and she thinks it’s so catchy.
Ok so I guess you’re out of trouble.
Leon: And a little tidbit that you don’t know is, singing background is Jimmy Buffet.
Really! How cool is that?
Leon: Yes. Jimmy heard the song and loved it so much, he said he’d love to sing on it….
Well I really love the song too, and the entire album.
Leon: I really appreciate that.
If could tell your fans anything in the world, what would you say to them about this album? Be your own promoter …
Leon: I would say my band and I write songs for the people. We are really thinking of the audience at all times, and this album is for you. If you believe that love is a beautiful thing then this album is for you. Just enjoy listening and have fun with the record, or let it be thought provoking in an entertaining way. But in the end, this record is for you.
Interview by Rock Star Journalist Eileen Shapiro