Leslie Smith may be considered one of the most upbeat survivors around. A runaway at age 13 singing on the streets of San Francisco for change, she returned home to New Orleans at age 15 to work her pipes and pass the hat on Bourbon street. Her hitch-hiking, cross country travels in her youth gave her an insight into human nature that many never realize in a lifetime. She slugged her way to the top of the New Orleans jazz/ R&B scene, recording and performig with a who's who list of New Orleans greats and then retired and moved to the country to pursue a more 'sane' life. Leslie was dragged out of retirement in 1999 by Renegade Records to record a solo CD entitled 'All Comes Down to Me'. Working again with some of the Crecent Cities most talented musicians, including Henry Butler, Johnny Vidacovich, and the late great Julius Farmer, Leslie realized it was time to end her hiatus and jump back in with both feet. 'All Comes Down to Me' payed tribute to her love of R&B and jazz influences, but she decided that if she was going to continue doing music, it was time to do her own. Leslie's style is straight-up and unabashedly honest.The passions she brings to her music were derived from her early musical influences. A native of New Orleans, she experienced the intimate spirit and feeling of the gospel choirs and black music clubs in the heart of the city. Falling in love with the voice of Sarah Vaughn, feeding on the Motown sounds, and soaking up the R&B and soul music of local AM stations, she writes passionately and performs with an intensity that leaves audiences exausted. 'Paper Doll' is Leslie's first self-produced original CD. Released on Dancing Iguana Music, the disk is a collection of introspective yet optimistic tunes that showcase her heartfelt lyrics.With a strong folk/pop flavor, 'Paper Doll' takes off with a whimsical, rocking tune 'Looking Out The Window', followed by the sweet and sensitive 'In My Bed'. The music continues to take it's listeners on an emotional journey from the hope and inspiration of 'Reaching Out' to the haunting reflextions of 'Ghosts' to the inner strength evident in 'The River' This collection of soulful songs recounts the realities of love and loss and the elusiveness of dreams, but always with hope for a better day. Leslie's latest CD 'Just A Girl' was released in April 2002. Another all-original effort, this collection of songs shows off the diversity of Leslie's artistic sense by exploring a more personal side of her music with such songs as 'Mercy' and 'Need A Rainy Day' mingled with alternative pop songs like 'See You Sleeping' and 'Just A Girl'. Mixed in are the percussive 'I' and the bluesy 'This Old Town' with a taste of funk in 'What Kind Of World'. This sophomore, self-produced effort of original misic brings to light Leslie's continued growth as a lyricist and musician, with her ever-present sense of humor. 'Take Me Across' slated for release in fall 2003 comes full circle, dipping back into jazz and soul influences and boasts a host of New Orleans musical legends including David Torkanowsky, Herman 'Rosco' Ernest III, Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter, Chris Severin, Tim Green and the up and coming drummer Doug Belote. This writer notes that there are 3 amazingly talented drummers already listed on this upcoming CD's credits! We all look forward to hearing what Leslie is going to offer us next, and she tells me she will be posting a couple of advance tracks on her web site as free downloads soon.
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