Like almost all other musicians hit with the neo-soul and retro-soul tags, the primary inspirations of singer and songwriter Leela James are classic artists who arrived no later than the early '70s. Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Tina Turner were among the vocalists to whom the gritty-voiced Los Angeles, California native was likened. After James was showcased on an uplifting track off Pete Rock's Soul Survivor II, "No Tears," she made her proper debut on Warner Bros. with a throwback-oriented set titled A Change Is Gonna Come (2005). Featuring a cover of Sam Cooke's song of the same title, as well as one of No Doubt's "Don't Speak," the album involved assistance from major figures including Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, James Poyser, and Chucky Thompson. It entered the Billboard 200 at number 148 and was followed with an appearance on ...
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