Leon Bridges on Harry Styles, album number two and his authentic new sound

Leonie Cooper has a chat with Leon Bridges ahead of the release of his second album 'Good Thing'

I was on Twitter the other day and I saw someone ask “How is Leon Bridges so good” so it seems a good time to ask, how are you so good?

I donno man. It’s dope that people say that, I just do my thing.

It’s been three years since the last album, what have you been doing since?

I did a lot of writing at the end of 2016 in Fort Worth and ended up going out to LA to work with Ricky Reid. We finished the album in October 2017 so we’ve been sitting on it for a minute. Ricky Reid has a beautiful studio and it’s always a great time. It was a really different process for me because I’ve never worked with anyone lyrically before but it was dope.

How did you meet?

We met through a collaboration I’d done with an artist called Dej Loaf. Basically I sing on the hook on her song. He pulled something out of me that I didn’t think was possible so it seemed natural to work together.

Did you deliberately take some time out of the spotlight as well?

Yeah, I had a little time off and I was able to buy a home back in Fort Worth and work on myself as a songwriter and just kind of chill out.

So tell us about the process of making album number two

It was a long process of figuring out what I wanted to make sonically. And of course I started out with the 60s Rn’B thing but I was conscious I wanted to do something new and fresh.

Are there any themes running through the album?

Every song is its own thing. It’s a pretty diverse album, there isn’t like one concept to it but it deals with some relationships I’ve been in, there are songs of triumph and a little bit of my narrative running throughout.

Is there a political message to the album? Obviously the last record was written and recorded under Obama, this one under Trump…

It’s more of a personal album. I feel like I should make political songs because it’s right, not because it’s trendy.

Your first album was Grammy nominated. Did you feel a real pressure to make album number two as successful?

Yeah, I felt a little pressure there but it was definitely self-imposed.

How do you think your fans will react because obviously the sound has shifted a little bit?

The reaction I’ve seen recently over the new songs have been positive. Obviously we might alienate some fans because it is a different sound but it’s still authentic and still indicative of who I am.

And next month you’re supporting Harry Styles. Have you met him yet?

Yeah, I met him at a party. He’s a really nice dude and I’m excited to get out to South America for the first time and get our feet wet in arenas.

Have his fans been in touch with you at all? Because he has some quite intense fans…

Yeah, when he first followed me they all started flooding my wall saying “you should be lucky he followed you” but yeah, his fans seem excited for us to come down there.

And another person that’s a fan is Father John Misty. Possible collaboration there?

I’m open to anything. Father John Misty is a funny guy!

What are you listening to right now?

A bit of everything. I’ve been really into the whole new-wave trip thing, Young Thug, Migos, all that kind of stuff