Soul singer Leon Bridges is 25 years old, from Fort Worth, Texas — and he's about to blow up. The first tracks from his forthcoming debut album, Coming Home, started to sneak out a few months ago, and they've already become hits online. From the moment he went viral, people were quick to compare his sound and look that of to Sam Cooke.
But Bridges says he didn't find his way into music through Cooke — in fact, he only started listening to him around two years ago.
"I was a kid that was really fascinated with Ginuwine and Usher and 112 and Dru Hill," Bridges says. After he started writing songs, a friend asked him if Sam Cooke was one of his inspirations. "I felt bad, because I had never really listened to Sam Cooke, and so after that I started really digging in," he says. "As I was listening to him, I started to see that that's the lane I wanted to go down."
Bridges spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about using music to connect with the past, his mother and loads of eager listeners. Hear the conversation at the audio link.