Three legendary music moguls joined forces Thursday night in New York City to showcase the talented new R&B singer Leah LaBelle, at the exclusive Tribeca Grand Hotel, and Allie is Wired was there for the VIP party and the spectacular debut performance of the young rising star.
Leah was a 12th place contestant on American Idol, but Pharrell first discovered her through her YouTube videos.
He told the crowd Thursday that he saw a seasoned talent in the videos and knew she could hold her own when he chose to collaborate with Jermaine Dupri at So So Def. The partnership between So So Def, and i am OTHER, Pharrell’s entertainment company, set up the introduction with L.A. Reid, Chairman and C.E.O. of Epic Records.
Reid spoke to the VIP audience about how it was obvious Leah was not just a cute girl he would give “a song and a dress” to. He noticed what many critics have said, which is that Leah LaBelle has soul, and no one in attendance Thursday night could deny her live performance chops.
Well dressed, well choreographed, spray-tanned and made up in hot leather shorts over black lace, Leah LaBelle impressed partygoers with her confidence, high heels and tight vocals.
Somewhere between Beyonce and Nelly Furtado, LaBelle has a throwback style and the belting bravado of an R&B diva. Her music is something you don’t hear much anymore in this new world of auto-tuned dance pop.
What these three powerful gentlemen have found is a rare thing. Leah is someone who can actually sing her heart out and doesn’t need much more than a live band and a microphone to shine on stage.
The 5 tracks that have been released on SoundCloud from her forthcoming album, due in fall of 2012, aren’t the greatest example of what Leah LaBelle can do. A cheesy uptempo number named Mr. Scissors is a bit groan-inducing, and there are some painful lyrics on a track called So Hot. “Won’t someone please re-tweet this love?” is a good example.
However, on the heartfelt What Do We Got to Lose, you start to get a feel for Leah LaBelle’s abilities, and the single Sexify is an original treat.
The music video is super cute as well and features Jermaine Dupri as Leah’s landlord and Pharrell as her pizza delivery man.