Maxim Meyer-Horn

1 Sep
Music

Interview: Leon Bridges About His Foundation, Acting and Working With Khruangbin

It may be the rainiest day of the year, but when you put on Leon Bridges, the sun starts to shine. The American singer and musician already has three albums to his name, and this summer, he finally toured the most beautiful stages again to provide everyone with a smile. We spoke to him at the Belgian festival Rock Werchter, where we talked about his fashion sense, the collaboration with Khruangbin, and the future.

You’re on a huge festival tour. How have these weeks been so far?

It’s good to be back after all these years. I’m keeping my head down. Grinding. Grateful.

For many people your music is a synonym for the summer. Is it more fun to perform these songs on these open-air stages?

Definitely. Some of the songs embody the festival summer philosophy, and it’s very fitting to play them at a festival.

You have some songs with Khruangbin, which is a very celebrated collaboration. Are there plans to continue that collaboration?

Absolutely, I think there’s always room to continue creating. They are like family, and we’ve been talking about getting back into the studio to create some new music.

How has this collaboration changed your own music? Did it change your perspective on your own sound?

What I love about Khruangbin is that it’s three people making amazing music. They definitely inspired me to kind of bring everything back to the basics. With my sound—there’s some polished stuff and some lo-fi things—it’s good to have balance. I think—moving forward—I will try to incorporate the minimalist approach.

The key element of your music is your voice. How did you actually find out you have a good voice to make music?

It’s something I discovered when I was in college. When I wasn’t in class, I was getting together with some musicians and singers. We just sat around the piano and did improv. People around me started to tell me I sounded good, so that was the fuel to keep on going.

Do you usually write music by improvising, or how do you start creating a song?

For me, I’m always fiddling around with my guitar so that sometimes sparks some stuff. A lot of the time, I start by singing a melody until I land on a concept and write lyrics around that melody.

Is it difficult for you to write lyrics?

Writing is complicated. There are moments when I need solitude to write, and there are also moments when it’s very collaborative. I’m grateful that I get to work with so many great musicians that really help to bring the song alive.

Something completely different: you have a great sense of fashion. Where do you find your inspiration fashion-wise, and how would you describe your style in general?

I specifically love the ’70s era. My pants need to be flared. I would describe my style as minimalistic, retro-futuristic, western, and ’70s aesthetics.

If you could predict the future: what would you like to do five years from now? 

Music is a part of me, so I’ll always continue to create music. I definitely want to dip my toes more into acting, and I also started my foundation back home: The Big Good. I pretty much want to continue to raise money and pour it back into my community.

If you want to support Leon Bridges’ foundation, you can find all the info about The Big Good via their website

Pictures by Robin Joris Dullers

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