In 2008, Leon Jackson won the X Factor and that infamous one million pound contract. Poor Leon never really had a chance, what with Mr Cowell hoping that runner up Rhydian had won. Despite the knock-backs, Leon has been working hard on his own material and has chosen Birmingham as the place to re-launch his career.
So how does Leon look back on his X Factor experience? Leon told me “I never really knew what to expect when the record was released, I knew I would never amount to my predecessor, Leona Lewis’ success as there was somewhat an underwhelming response to my win. I did the best I could given the circumstance and enjoyed it. I found myself being thrust into a genre that perhaps wasn’t entirely me”.
Before you scoff at Leon, you should take a moment to listen to his new music. The first thing that struck us was the quality of his voice these days. Leon explains “I definitely think my voice has gotten stronger. I’m singing in a different register now and I sing with less of a sombre tone & less vibrato. I’ve only been singing for 3 years, so it has developed with time. I definitely see myself as a singer-songwriter/musician. Hopefully my latest offerings will be sure to unveil untapped depths of ingenuity and optimism for me. I believe my music has depth and is uplifting – i want people to be inspired and encouraged by what i sing and write about. All the songs i pen are very personal and come out of experience”.
Perhaps surprisingly, Leon plays his own instruments (guitar and piano) and has ditched the predictable “boyband” style look that Cowell and Co gave him. If you’re still not convinced about taking him seriously, Leon’s message is to go along and see it for yourself. “I’m very pleased to be playing the Academy style venue’s as these places are very well suited to the style of the new music and the fact that they have a bar nearby means people can really kick-back and relax” he says. “I’d just like to encourage people to have a listen to the music. I am trying to capture a robust collection of guitar-led, organic-sounding and thought-provoking lyrics, hopefully, which will show the depth and breadth of my creativity. That’s why I’m looking forward to playing live so much. People have already begun to see my hard work and development as a musician”.
Leon’s comeback campaign begins with an intimate gig at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on Saturday 31st July.