Texas native and musical phenomenon
Leon Bridges sees the world
the way he sings: with a virtuosic
flair for history and style.
The soul singer Leon Bridges is known for musical and sartorial expressions that harken back 50 years. Archtop guitars; polished shoes and vintage hats; clothes cut to fit the man,
rather than the times. Travel has come a long way since
the era from which Bridges’ music springs: It might
have been the “golden age” in the air, but a flight from
coast to coast took a few hours longer, with on-board
entertainment rarely consisting of more than a paperback novel and a drink (or several). It’s fitting that the
debut album and hit single from this traveling man, who
follows in the footsteps of soul troubadours like Sam
Cooke and Otis Redding, are called “Coming Home.”
JWM: Where have you been touring recently?
Leon Bridges: I’ve been to L.A. the most lately.
When I come back into a certain city, the venue is
always different. L.A. is my favorite city and the Crystal
Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, is my favorite venue—
there’s so much history there.
JWM: When you travel, is there anything you
never leave home without? Is there anything
you take with you that you don’t need?
LB: I can’t leave without my headphones. And I bring a
lot of clothes. I could probably leave some behind!
JWM: Do you have any travel advice?
LB: Pack light.
JWM: The bus rides of a touring musician can
be long. Do you read to entertain yourself
during those long stretches of highway?
LB: I love autobiographies and music biographies
the most. Dream Boogie by Peter Guralnick is a
great depiction of Sam Cooke’s life. Black Boy by
Richard Wright is a memoir about his life growing
up in the American South, and later moving to the
North to escape racism and find opportunities to
grow in knowledge.
JWM: What do you listen to on the road?
LB: It depends on what mood I’m in. I mostly listen to
R&B and Trap. My favorite artists are Day 26, Miguel,
Ginuwine, Dru Hill, Bryson Tiller and Migos. p