Leon Bridges Biography
Bridges began his career by writing songs and learned guitar in order to play simple chords to accompany his lyrics. He played at open-mic nights around Fort Worth while working as a dishwasher until he was signed by Columbia Records in 2014. It was his song "Lisa Sawyer", about his mother's baptism in a river, that first defined his style. Bridges began writing and performing 1950s and '60s-style soul music that was described by Austin 360 as "a transmission straight from the heart." He began to attract followers and his break into the music industry has been attributed to a run-in he had at a bar with White Denim guitarist Austin Jenkins. The duo discussed clothing and a few weeks later Jenkins and his bandmate Joshua Block ran into Bridges during a performance in north Texas. It was Bridges's performance of "Coming Home" that caught the attention of Block and Jenkins.
Bridges worked on his first few tracks with Jenkins and Block as producers.
They were recording an album with vintage equipment, using an artist with an authentic, old sound. Local musicians played on the album with Bridges on vocals, including The Orbans, Quaker City Night Hawks, and Patriot. Bridges released two demo songs on Soundcloud in late 2014. "Coming Home" received regular airplay on radio stations ranging from KKXT to London. It and "Lisa Sawyer" received more than 800,000 views and attracted the attention of more than 40 record labels with Bridges eventually signing with Columbia Records in December 2014.
Bridges began his first national tour in January 2015, playing shows in Texas as well as playing support for Sharon Van Etten in New York. His first official single, "Coming Home" was released on Columbia Records in February 2015. The song continued the success of the demo version and became a Top 10 Most Viral Track on Spotify the same month as its release. Bridges toured with Jenkins and Block until they resumed work with White Denim. He also played at the Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled to play at SXSW in 2015. His debut album is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2015 and has been referred to as a 2015 Album to Look Forward to From Texans by The New York Times. Bridges made the cover of Fort Worth, Texas magazine in May 2015 for not only his vocal accomplishments but also his distinctive retro style.