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14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

For our final installment of Plus Ones, we talked to his fans outside of The Fillmore in Miami Beach.

Photographer Loamis Rodriguez
September 15, 2016
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

Our world is a blur of buzzwords and hashtags, updates and check-ins. If you don't share a moment on digital, did it ever really happen? Worse, if you share it and get no likes, did the moment matter? Technology is meant to help, not hurt, yet we end up addicted to tiny screens. We know in our hearts some stories can't be told in a series of disposable clips, and those are the kind Lianne La Havas and Leon Bridges were born to tell. Fans flock to both for a chance to feel transported to a simpler time, a bygone era most of them never had the chance to experience. There's something so genuine in La Havas's clear voice and in Bridge's old-school style that even Miami's electronic dance music-loving masses have to stand up and recognize.

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La Havas stormed the stage at the Jackie Gleason Fillmore Theater on Miami Beach Tuesday, September 13. She may have been an opener, but she left pleasantly stunned to find a strong following in South Florida. The crowd fell under her spell as soon as her delicate fingers strummed the first notes of “Age” and roared with attentive cheers and laughter at each witty lyric. Whether backed by her band or standing solo with her guitar, La Havas is a beautiful force to be wooed by.

She set the perfect tone for Bridges's lively headlining performance. The man of the hour was preceded by his six-piece band only to come dancing in from stage right when they'd hit a full swing. Dapper in a long-fit, cream suit jacket, he channeled the energies of James Brown and Sam Cooke. His band played around him in an arch so he could work the whole middle. To the crowd's delight, he often abandoned his post at the mic stand to run up and down the front row. He's a jumping-jack frontman who oozes energy and soul with a warm, sometimes raspy voice and jerky moves that seem to say, “What if Usher was a '60s doo-wop crooner?”

He gave Miami old rock'n'roll with “Out of Line,” sensuous heart-break on “Better Man,” and tender slow-dance moments on tracks including “Lisa Sawyer,” a track even more heartwarming when told it'd been written for his mother. The crowd was swept up in the feeling and only broke their time-travel to catch video of Bridge's big hit “Coming Home,” although the soulful singer brought his Motown vibe to a newer shade of old-school when he covered Ginuwine's “Pony” in an encore. Apparently, that is the song that inspired him to become a singer. Who would have thought?

He kept asking Miami if we had “the juice,” and by the time he left, our juiciness was assuredly proven. We could have told him that earlier, of course, because we met up with his fans to get the skinny on their love for Leon before doors even opened.

14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound


Sarah, 22
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

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I think that it takes you back to a different time and makes you feel like you're nostalgic for a time that I definitely wasn't born in. It seems really different than music you can listen to now because it has a very soulful and old feel to it. I think it's a feel of authenticity, whereas a lot of music now can feel overproduced. I think the music really seems like it's pure vocals and pure instrumentals and it's really soulful and beautiful.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

I really wouldn't want to say that because I know that it's a vice but it's also like, I know I wouldn't be able to live without it. Things like your phone and the internet, it may seem like we're all hunched over our computers and not really empathizing with people, but at the same time, there's that aspect of it bringing people together which wouldn't be possible without it. I'm definitely not going to say I would wish for a world without technology, I don't know what I'd be doing without it.

Katrice, 29
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

There's nobody out there like him, right now. He has a very old school vibe to him and he's so comfortable with it. He was born in the wrong era and I love that about him.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

I feel like I'm not really into what's really going on right now. Everything that I listen to is either podcasts or I'm on Spotify, I don't really listen to the radio, I don't really listen to what's happening right now, I just listen to what I like.

I feel like they all have their pros and cons, but I will say that we can do without Auto-Tune. I can do without that one, but everything else, it has its pros and its cons. I appreciate [technology] but sometimes it's too much.

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Lauren, 19
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

I think that he is very unique in this day and age. I love the fact that he's bringing back that old school vibe. I think it's missing from the charts, and the fact that he's bringing it back in is what I enjoy the most.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

I struggle to listen to the majority of the charts. I feel I'm listening to the likes of Leon and Lianne instead. I'm getting further and further away from the charts because I think people are really diving into the electronic and missing the real instruments nowadays, which I know that Leon and Lianne really support.

Passion, 31
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

He brought back that era of music that we don't really have access to, unless we go looking for it. I really appreciate that in this day and age, that he's still so authentic.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

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I feel like there's the yes and no answer there. As long as we have intention with the technology that we have access to, I feel like we can be in a better place, but it's running rampant. It's out of control. It's controlling us, we're not controlling it, and that's the problem. The apps, there's an app for everything. Are you hungry? There's an app for that. Are you sick? There's an app for that. It's crazy.

Juan, 25 & Daniela, 18
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

Daniela: Personally, it just takes me back decades and I feel like he's a different artist for this time.

Juan: Yeah for sure, I love that old school soul music. I was telling her that there's a lot of artists that are going that way right now. There's St. Paul and the Broken Bones, an artist that I listen to that's close to Leon Bridges. Love that old school soul type music.

Daniela: It's different. We live in a mainstream culture and when one little thing pops up, it goes big and people enjoy it.

Juan: I feel like it's timeless music that went to sleep for a little bit.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

Daniela: Cell phones. We can't live without them now but I think if it never became a thing, we wouldn't have to rely so much on it; we wouldn't be wasting so much time looking down at a phone.

Juan: All the data. I feel like, put data away and you're good.

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Tamal, 33 & Ona, 21
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

Tamal: The fact that he sounds authentic like he means what he's actually singing about. That's something that means a lot to me because I write songs as well. I don't like the idea of wasting music so to speak. It's inspiring, it can motivate you, it can help you through rough times, so it doesn't make sense to waste your words. I like the fact that he's authentic [and] passionate about what he's singing about.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

Ona: I find the location thing on our phones, I find that really weird. And the cloud or the drive or whatever, I find those things really really weird — that everything about you can be so easily accessible to everybody. Our things are supposed to be secure, our devices are supposed to be secure, but clearly you've seen over and over again it's so easy for things to go a bit funny.

Ryan, 28 & Morgan, 27
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

Morgan: Because he's got soul! I think that sums it up, right there.

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What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

Ryan: Overused sound bites. Just over dubstepped, phony type of pop music that doesn't deserve to be on the radio.

Victoria, 19 & Sophia, 20, and Mike, 48 & Alan, 46
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound

What is it about Leon Bridges's style that resonates with you?

Victoria: Leon Bridges is really cool. I think he has really swanky style that's easy to chill out too at the concert, too. Really dancey also.

Sophia: He's vintage-y.

What technological aspect of our modern lives do you think we'd be better without?

Mike: We drove here from Fort Lauderdale and I see all these people on their phones — talking on their phones and texting on their phones — and you think, God, when I was growing up we didn't have a phone, we waited until we got home. It's a good and a bad thing. I take my phone as opposed to a camera into places like this. If I can't find my friends I use my phone, but that's a hard question. I would say phone but then, I look around and four people are on them, not even talking on them.

Alan: I wouldn't say that there's a technological thing that we can do without. I think it's just better manners and better etiquette in how we use our technology, that's where I think we've really gone astray. It's rudeness with how we use it.

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14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound
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14 Leon Bridges Fans On Why They Love His Soulful Sound