NEWCOMER LEAH LABELLE WINS 2012 SOUL TRAIN MUSIC AWARD LABELLE TAKES HOME THE “SOUL APPROVED” CENTRIC AWARD Previous Centric Winners Include Raphael Saadiq and Janelle Monae
Fresh off the heels of the release of her debut single ‘Sexify’, vocalist Leah LaBelle is already causing an uproar. She floored the audience this summer at the Essence Music Festival, and received a similarly ecstatic response when she performed at private benefit concert featured in the October 2012 Vanity Fair issue alongside Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi and Usher. Leah’s graced the pages of Cosmopolitan and Complex, appeared on BET, VH-1 Soul and MTV Jams, and recently inspired Uptown Magazine to offer an endorsement. “LaBelle is more than just a pretty face,” they wrote. “Trust us.”
And now, up against some serious competition in the form of Daley, Esperanza Spalding, Gary Clark Jr., and Santigold, Leah’s won the prestigious Centric Award at the 2012 Soul Train Music Awards. The show, which was taped on November 8th in Las Vegas, aired simultaneously on BET and Centric on November 25th.
When Leah’s first single, “Sexify,” debuted in April, she took advantage of the opportunity to perform the song in person in front of an intimate room full of industry tastemakers while, making special guest appearances at media outlets throughout New York. “Leah belted out the song for us and it was…wow,” Cosmopolitan reported, so impressed that they subsequently ran an exclusive sneak peek of the “Sexify” video on their highly-trafficked website. The full video for the song premiered on MTV and Leah introduced her music video alongside super-producers Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri on BET’s hit music video countdown show, 106th and Park. “Sexify” did well, adding considerably to Leah’s fan base, but it was the inclusion of the song on an episode of VH-1’s Love & Hip Hop that truly demonstrated the power of the record and the woman who sings it: her digital sales increased by more than 500% after the episode aired.
Born in Toronto and raised in Seattle, WA, 26-year-old Leah grew up singing and went on to study music at Boston’s Berklee College. In 2008, Keri Hilson came across a clip of Leah singing on YouTube and reached out to her, hiring her as a back-up singer. As word of her talent spread, Leah was invited to tour with Jordin Sparks, Eric Benet, and the Jonas Brothers. In addition, on the strength of her YouTube clips, she met (and blew away) super-producers Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri, who, with the enthusiastic support of Epic CEO L.A. Reid, signed Leah to Epic/i am OTHER/So So Def.
Even while she’s busy in the studio, working on her debut album with Pharrell Williams, Jermaine Dupri, and L.A. Reid, there’s no doubt that Leah will capture increased attention. To quote Pharrell – and to echo Cosmopolitan, there’s only one word for Leah LaBelle: “Wow.”
So So Def/I Am Other/Epic Records