Bona fide, exceptional, phenomenal, special, rare, vocal extraordinaire are all words that people regularly use to describe the musical talent of Leonard Julien, III. Leonard is a true rhythm and blues, soul singer. He is considered a seasoned veteran at his craft and has made quite a name for himself, locally and abroad. Some say that he is one of the last “soul preachers” of his generation. He has tremendous vocal range where he can take you from Barry White all the way to Peabo Bryson because he, like a chameleon, is able change his voice at will.
A native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, Leonard comes from an extremely musical family where his mother is a singer and his father plays the saxophone and sings as well. As a youngster, he was literally infatuated with playing the saxophone like his dad, which he started at age 11. His grandfather, Leonard Julien, Sr., led a big band in the 1950’s called the Leonard Julien Orchestra. In addition, the well-known Pink Panther theme song was played by his cousin, Plas Johnson, who happens to be Leonard’s mentor. Music has definitely shaped Leonard’s childhood.
He earned a scholarship to play the saxophone at Southern University under the direction of Dr. Isaac Greggs and the Southern University Marching Band. He also studied jazz ensemble with Alvin Battiste. Leonard’s vocal talent was later discovered by Dr. Isaac Greggs, Band Director of Southern University Marching Band.
Whether it is crooning or blowing the horn, Leonard does them both well. In fact, blues singer, Millie Jackson, hired him as a saxophonist and occasional background vocalist. While touring with Millie, Leonard received a personal call from Otis Williams of the Temptations, to sing the voiceover of David Ruffin in the NBC mini series, “The Temptations.” Leonard also recorded a demo for one of his all time favorite male vocalists, Peabo Bryson, who re-recorded the song entitled, "We've Come Too Far" for his Unconditional Love album.
As a vocalist, Leonard has been the featured opening act for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ann Nesby, Howard Hewitt, Johnny Adams, Denise LaSalle, Tyrone Davis, Jeffrey Osborne, B.B. King, and Ray, Goodman & Brown, MC Hammer, Najee, Kem, just to name a few. He has also appeared on Jay Leno, The Dave Chappell Show, and the Wayne Brady Show as a saxophonist and recorded the Outkast hit, “I like the Way You Move.” His debut CD, "Reflections of Soul," triumphed at #1 on European charts for 8 straight weeks and on CD Baby. Click here to vidoes of various recording artists who have featured Leonard on lead, or saxophones.
Leonard Jullien III, dubs the singing voice of David Ruffin in the Biopic
Leonard received a phone call from Otis Williams of the Temptations, asking him to sing David Ruffin's parts on the NBC Mini-Series
Here is one of several songs that featured Leonard voice. David was played by Leon. (1:20 mark)
Reflections of Soul
Leonard Julien III: Reflections of Soul
LEONARD JULIEN III – Reflections of Soul |
Leonard Julien III is one of the most acclaimed newcomers of the soul scene in recent years, and you only have to listen to this album once to realise why! Leonard plays soprano, alto and tenor sax on the CD, and he has contributed to other artists' recordings as a sax player as well.
All the songs are new and written by Leonard together with his producer Daryl Smith and bassist Thomas Dunn, except the 1968 Jerry Butler hit Never Give You Up, which was written by Jerry and Gamble & Huff.
The grittiest vocal performances can be heard on the second half of the album, when Leonard interprets tracks like Just Because, This Time It's Real and What She Don't Know. On the closing track You're Gonna Miss Me Leonard deliberatly sings in a Sam Cooke style, and also the composition sounds like an old-time classic, although it's a new and original song.
Produced by Daryl Smith, Leonard himself and Thomas Dunn - who are also the main writers - the set was recorded in Roswell, Georgia, and all instruments are played by Daryl Smith, with some outside help from Thomas (bass) and Leonard (saxophones).
Ali Ollie Woodson | SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews
www.soultracks.com, 12 Mar 2008
Leonard Julien III - Reflections of Soul