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Lelia Broussard is described as a sultry, soulful pop artist. Lelia's music is rooted in her South Louisiana heritage, but has taken influences from the Philly soul sound since she was transplanted to Philadelphia seven years ago. Lelia made her mark on the Philadelphia scene with time spent on the "open mic" circuit that led to a loyal fan base as diverse as her music. Through several appearances and extensive airplay on University of Pennsylvania's 88.5 WXPN and concerts at venues such as Sellersville Theater, The Point, Tin Angel, and World Cafe' Live, Broussard further branched out to the general public with amazing results. Her debut EP, "Louisiana Soul", written and recorded when Lelia was just 15, created excitement amongst the staff and listeners at WXPN, whose morning host Michaela Majoun says of Lelia, "Her voice and sensibility are so beyond her years. Lelia has that unique ability to genuinely connect with and captivate her audience in a way that really bonds them to her." Ultimately, two of Lelia’s songs, "Secrets” and "Should Have Known", from that first EP, were featured on two episodes of “Joan of Arcadia” on CBS-TV.
After this initial success with this first EP, Lelia began work on the new project (lil-yah) (also the proper pronunciation of her first name) which shows Lelia’s versatility as a vocalist, diverse songwriter, and producer. At the same time, she made her first appearance at the legendary Bitter End in NYC (where she is a regular featured artist), and was immediately embraced and continues to be strongly supported by owner Kenny Gorka. “I knew right away there was something very special about Lelia.” From her most recent appearance in NYC: “It was apparent once again that Lelia does not perform; she inhabits her music. Each song emerges from her as if she is suddenly compelled to tell its story or release its feelings. No movement seems calculated; no gesture planned. The result is an exhibition of musical integrity that would make any venue, large or small, feel intimate.” says Robbie Merkin, critically acclaimed composer.
(lil-yah) shows the diverse spectrum of Broussard's writing styles. Influenced by the music of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and others in that genre, Lelia knew she wanted her album to have an old soulful vibe, but with a new pop flair. Moving from jazz to soul, and even hip-hop, Broussard shows a mature understanding of her many influences without ever sounding forced. Recorded with an unrivaled group of musicians, this first rate group of seasoned pros quickly discovered that this would not be "another recording session" as they came to learn and appreciate Lelia's music. "It's scary how talented the young lady is. I couldn't believe the sound coming from this petite little thing. We were all blown away by her," says Jef Lee Johnson (Mariah Carey, Billy Joel). “Lelia is a creative genius” says Joel Bryant, (Harry Connick Jr, Aretha Franklin). Chico Huff (James Taylor) says, "Lelia seems to already have a strong musical vision and great love for music that comes across tenfold. Her singing and writing are very fresh and contemporary to my ears without being derivative.
On putting (lil-yah) into a genre, Lelia says it best when she explains, "People are hearing the CD and saying, 'wow, you have all these different types of music on one CD- jazz, pop, rock, blues, rap, R&B, how do you even classify yourself? My answer is not any one genre is more me than the other. My goal is to be a diverse artist and performer that does many styles equally well.”
Lelia recently went back into the studio to make some improvements on the CD and will re-release it in the Spring of 2007 re-titled as “Rise”. This remixed and re-mastered CD has the addition of a couple of new tracks, and new vocals and arrangements on others. The title song, “Rise” has already been picked up by the MTV show “The Hills”. Lelia recently completed a national tour for the Heinz Corporation’s TGIFriday/Wal Mart Tour where she headlined along with major label artists.
What’s next for Lelia? “Well, I am continuing to grow my fan base by touring in and around the Philadelphia and New York areas, where I recently moved and back home in Louisiana. I’ve also recently started doing some co-writing with Rob Fusari, and I love the direction my songs are taking. And I’m going to be in LA early this year doing some co-writing with various songwriters, so it’s a busy time for me. I’ve remained an independent artist by choice, because I always felt it would be better for the longevity of my career if I stayed independent while I was so young. I think I have proven that I am a serious musician and songwriter, not a flavor of the month, but someone with musical integrity, at least that’s my goal . . . now that I’m a little older, I’m ready to move on to the next level of my career.”
Philadelphia Magazine, in a feature article on Lelia, speculated about her being “the next big thing”. Is she? Listen and we think you just might agree.
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