London-based composer / multi instrumentalist and performing artist Leon Jean-Marie prepares to release his new single ‘Forsaken‘, giving a taste of what to expect from his forthcoming sophomore LP, due for release in early 2022.
Following the release of his 2008 debut LP ‘Bent Out Of Shape‘ on Island Records, Leon opted to follow a career away from the limelight, turning his hand to composition and sound design, leading him to eventually working on projects for the likes of Vogue, Valentino and Fendi. Walking this new path and exploring new pastures, Leon had little interest in further pursuing releasing his own music.
Amidst encouragement from his peers, who continued to encourage him back into the studio – Leon began gathering thoughts and creating new material. As his recordings began to circulate among friends in the industry, it turned out De La Soul had been long-time fans of his debut album, and were keen to know what Leon was doing now.
A call with the trio led to an early version of the album getting into the hands of a clique of hip hop and r’n’b icons including RZA, Mos Def, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill with Ms. Hill, and De La Soul’s Posdnuos all eventually contributed vocals to the album.
New single ‘Forsaken’ completes the first double A-Side single lifted from the LP (alongside the shadowy track ‘Hades‘). On ‘Forsaken’ Leon delivers an infectious offering, scattered drum patterns meeting sliding synthscapes and gospel-laced melodies, teaming up with vocalist Paul Stephan who delivers a powerful comment on the state of the union.
Leon describes the release as ‘two sonically different songs, but woven in the conversation of internal and external issues causing many mental health problems‘. With the album due for release in the first half of 2021 and plans for an accompanying documentary series and art exhibition – curated by friend and Saatchi Gallery curator Kobi Prempeh in the works – things are heating up for Leon Jean-Marie.