Leon Bridges Cites Kendrick Lamar As One Of His Inspirations

When you think of Leon Bridges, hip-hop and rap aren’t exactly the first words that come to mind. We have, however, recently learnt of the influence one of the most popular rappers in the world has on him as an artist.

Complex interviewed Bridges following his performance at the 325th anniversary of Ketel One in Schiedam, Holland about his growing success. When questioned about his musical influences, he mentioned Bobby Womack and Neil Young as examples of the “classics”. He then dropped in his love for hip-hop. “Listening to Kendrick Lamar challenges me to be a better writer. I like to pull inspiration from different places,” he said.

That’s hardly a surprise as we are all aware of the influence Lamar has on a variety of artists, as well as his fans. With his music and incredible lyrics, the Grammy-nominated artist was credited as one of the people who influenced the last album by David Bowie, one of the biggest and most influential stars to walk this earth, and saved a young fan’s life who was suffering from depression. He was also inducted into Time’s list of the Top 100 Most Influential People this year, which proves how far his impact had gone.

Bridges followed on from this question by speaking about the origins of his smooth, easy listening sound. “I listened to a lot of R&B growing up. It wasn’t even necessarily traditional soul music—from Ginuwine to Usher. That really built my foundation. It’s a blend of that, folk, and soul. I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s an accumulation of different things I’ve listened to my whole life.”

He has started working on the follow-up to his incredible debut album Coming Home. “This next record will show the growth of Leon Bridges,” he says, which ignites the excitement and anticipation that comes with the great news.

Read the full interview here.

Image: Danielle Hansen// Howl & Echoes