Leee John





Leee John

FEEL MY SOUL

“Feel My Soul” opens up a new musical chapter for Leee John who first formed Imagination in 1981 with bassist Ashley Ingram and drummer Errol Kennedy. Born in London, Leee spent some of his formative years in New York, exposed to the R&B and soul music of the ‘70s. He signed his first record deal as part of a duo with family friend Russell Fraser but it was after working with Grammy award-winning producer Trevor Horn on the track “Got To Be Good” with his new group Imagination that Leee came to the attention of producer Tony Swain who encouraged Leee to complete the lyrics and melody for the song “Body Talk” which would become Imagination’s first Top 5 single.

Subsequently, Imagination recorded seven albums, toured the world and established itself as one of the most popular dance, funk/soul and pop acts in contemporary music throughout the ‘80s. By 1991, the original line-up had changed although Leee continued to tour globally throughout the ‘90s and beyond (with stops in India, Sri Lanka, Angola, South Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and France) in the process hosting his own British television chat show, “Leee’s Place.”

Leee also worked with producer Arthur Baker on his Back Beat Disciple album “Give Into The Rhythm,” and scored a major dance club hit in the UK and US in 1996 with the anthem “The Mighty Power Of Love.” In 1997, using the pseudonym Johnny X, Leee enjoyed another UK dance hit with “Call On Me” and he ended the decade as a roving reporter and interviewer for VH1 as well as performing throughout the UK and France.

Leee’s acting credits include roles in “Dr. Who,” “The Chinese Detective” and “Stepping Out,” and he has appeared in the musical “The Hot Mikado,” performed in Tahiti. He starred in “Reborn In The USA” which took him from coast-to-coast in America on sold-out shows in major U.S. cities. The recipient of numerous silver, gold and platinum discs, and a Diamond Award, Leee’s list of career accomplishments includes performances for Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, dinner at the home of Nelson Mandela, and a rare “Soul Train” appearance in which he sang to the legendary Marvin Gaye.

His ever-popular group, Imagination, catapulted Leee to international recognition and fame in the early ‘80s with the major hit, “Just An Illusion”, which was recently sampled by Mariah Carey as part of a duet with rapper Nelly for her multi-platinum 2005 album, “The Emancipation Of Mimi.”

But for all that he’s achieved in a career notable for its consistency and longevity, Leee is most proud of his much-anticipated solo debut, “Feel My Soul,” to be released soon on Red Disc Records. “A whole new world is opening up for me in doing this album and I’ve already started doing shows with this music. In some ways, I feel like I’m ‘walking the plank’ because I don’t know how people will respond and I know some might say that if I’ve spent my career in pop music, I don’t have the right to be doing jazz. But I’ve paid my dues musically. I’m walking through a new door, and I’m singing with more confidence than ever.”

Bold, creative, and a musically-satisfying experience, “Feel My Soul” is just the start of a new and exciting chapter for Leee John, ever a pioneer, as he steps out with a compelling album that is intimate and truly made with heart -- and much soul.

IMAGINATION have been described as Britain's first black supergroup, and certainly for a four year period during the Eighties they stacked up an impressive pile of hit recordings, including most notably Body Talk in 1981 which reached Number 4 in the charts, Just an Illusion the following year which stalled at Number 2, and Music and Lights -also in 1982- which sailed to Number 5. In fact, all 11 of Imagination's singles for the R&B label charted in the UK and three of their albums also went to win Gold Discs. The seeds of IMAGINATION 's success had been solved several years before when vocalist Leee John and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Ingram found themselves working together as backing singers for the Velvelettes during the US band's British tour. The two found themselves working again on other tours, for such soul bands as Chairman of the Board, The Elgins and The Delfonics amongst others. Leee and Ashley started developing plans to form their own 'slinky, sexy and erotic' group. At an audition they attended for a group called Midnight Express they met drummer Errol Kennedy. Soon afterwards, Midniht Express folded and Errol teamed up with Leee and Ashley - the die was cast for their future success as

IMAGINATION .
The newly-formed group took along a demo of Body Talk to two record producers, Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. Such was the impact of the rough recording on Jolley and Swain, they rushed IMAGINATION into the studio to record it professionally, and April 1981 the song was released as their first single. It was an eventual success, climbing into the Top 10, and spending a total of 18 weeks in the Top 50. In actual fact, Leee, Ashley and Errol hadn't even come up with a group name when they recorded Body Talk for their debut single. Eventually they chose IMAGINATION , as a tribute to John Lennon and his classic song Imagine. When the single was released, it was no overnight success however. At first it was totally ignored by radio, but eventually started to get heavy exposure in the clubs that were mushrooming throughout the country. For months later, the single finally made the Top 50 and then started its long climb up the charts. It enjoyed the longest chart run of any pop record that year, and sold more than 250.000 copies in the UK alone.

Body Talk was followed by two other Top 20 successes, In and Out of Love and Flashback (both of which reached Number 16), and then their fourth record climbed to Number 2. Their fifth consecutive hit single was Music And Lights which went to Number 5. In 1982, IMAGINATION did a sell-out tour of Europe which also included 22 dates in the UK. They had two more singles with In The Heat of the Night and Changes. Their success was no by means restricted to the UK. IMAGINATION had chart hits in 28 different countries, and between 1981 and 1983 earned no less than four platinum discs, nine gold and more than a dozen silver discs for their European sales. They also consolidated this success on record with sell out live performances too. Back in the UK, they were hardly ever off television it seemed, with regular appearances on Top Of The Pops, and many of the other top pop music programmes of the day. Leee John even branched out into acting, with several guest appearances on the Legendary Doctor Who Programmes!

1983 saw the band back in the charts with two more hit singles, Looking at Midnight which climbed into the Top 30 and New Dimensions, and their fourth album Scandalous also gave them yet another gold disc. The following saw two more charts entries, State of Love and Thank You My Love (from the album Trilogy) the latter peaking at Number 22.

By the middle of 1984, IMAGINATION played to Royalty at the Princes´ Trust Royal Albert Hall show. This was followed by a stadium show to over 100.000 people in Algeria and a month long Spanish tour. 1985 saw the band again touring the U.K., Europe and Far East, dates that led in 1986 to the bands Fifth Anniversary. An event that was celebrated in style by the capacity crowd at the Royal Albert Hall on May 15th., And coincided with a Top 20 single "Thank You My Love". IMAGINATION signed to RCA in 1987, and wrote and recorded the album "Closer" in America, with producers Arthur Baker, Preston Glass, Nick Martinelli, Ron Kersey and Robert Kraft.

During 1988 IMAGINATION spent considerable time in America both performing and appearing on T.V. and Radio and during that summer achieved the Number 1 spot in the Billboard Dance Charts with a smash single "Instinctual" from the "Closer" album. The groups last album, released in August 1989 titled "Like It Is" reached number 4 in the U.K. album chart with double gold status being achieved in 12 weeks. The album remained in the U.K. top 100 albums for 38 weeks. Endorsing the success of the album in the U.K. "Like It Is" charted all over Europe and the "Megamix single" first released in France in june 1989, was in the top ten in France for 4 months and charted throughout Europe. On September 2nd 1989 the group embarked on the first leg of a six month World tour. Their opening concert in France saw them playing to 42.000 people in Dunkerque. Followed by dates in Germany, Switzerland, and further dates in France. The tour reached the U.K. in December playing seven dates across the country culminating with a sell out Christmas Show at Hammersmith Odeon. Due to the immense popularity of IMAGINATION the tour was extended beyond the original 6 months, undertaking a grueling live 6 week 31 show sell out tour of Russia, a tour of India, Sri Lanka, Angola and the Reunion and surrounding Islands, the group is constantly demand. With the release of the long awaited new album titled "Fascination Of The Physical" throughout Europe with Japan and America to follow in the fall.

During 1991 Ashley made the decision to leave IMAGINATION for a career in songwriting and production. Originally teaming up with third member Errol Kennedy, Errol was replaced during the summer of 1987 by vocalist PETER ROYER. PETER who was born in London, had previously had a solo recording career. "SEGUN" has now replaced Ashley Ingram as third member of IMAGINATION. "SEGUN" is an accomplished musician, playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and trombone, he is also a much sought after session singer.

 

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