You’ll recognise her vocals from this year’s smash hit More Than Friends with James Hype, and if you’re a regular listener of Virgin Radio, you’ll have also by now heard her groovy and incredibly catchy, singalong debut single Do You Wanna Be Loved Like This.
The British singer-songwriter has appeared on tracks by James Hype, Duke Dumont and many others. She has also performed backing vocals for Adele and worked with Jessie J, Leona Lewis and Rita Ora. But now, she has stepped into the limelight. So just who is Kelli-Leigh? We introduce you to a superstar in the making…
So, Kelli-Leigh, how did you get into music? Has it always been a part of your background?
I’ve always wanted to be a singer. My mum was a singer and guitarist, my uncle was a backing vocalist and my other uncle was a drummer. So music was very much in my family. I was surrounded by it.
Tell us about the new single, Do You Wanna Be Loved Like This. When will it be released?
It will be released in a matter of days and I’m really excited. Kris Fade on Virgin Radio has an exclusive copy so he’s been playing it and people have been looking for it online, but can’t find it. It’s like how music used to be discovered – you hear something on the radio first before it goes online. So we’re really excited about that. And the reaction’s been really cool.
How would you describe the feeling of being a relatively unknown face, yet familiar voice on huge tracks, to going solo and being in the limelight?
It feels really good. I’ve had amazing experiences working with incredible artists, but it’s definitely frustrating to not get the recognition from it, but I understand how the process was. It’s great to now finally have my name on the tracks, writing my own music and having people react well to it. That feels so amazing because it’s my creation. I’m excited about this year.
What does 2018 hold for Kelli-Leigh?
Lot of festivals, release of the single, and we’ve got the second single ready, too. More promotion, basically, this year is about finally getting me, my band and my sound out there, making music and having people be able to connect to me as an artist.
How would you describe your solo sound?
It’s still going to have an element of dance to it, because that’s where my voice is known. But it’s not going to be full-on house. I’m calling it electro pop. Because it’s a bit old-school. It has a lot of soul in it, but with edge to it.
Who inspires you musically?
I discovered Gotye after his massive worldwide track and I love his writing. His track Save Me is absolutely beautiful. There are just so many elements to it – the lyrics, the melody, the production. I love Fink, he’s an incredible songwriter and artist. I also love Skunk Anansie. I grew up listening to Prince, and Whitney. I’m influenced by people who write from the heart… Eternal… Back in the day…
Who would you most like to work with?
Timbaland. For what he did with Aaliyah’s album and Nelly Furtado’s comeback album. I’d love to work with Calvin Harris, because it’s amazing what he’s done for dance music. He’s a pioneer. Ina Wroldsen. She’s famous for [the Calvin Harris and Disciples song] How Deep is Your Love. She also co-wrote that and she’s on the Jax Jones track Breathe. She’s an incredible songwriter who has written so many top ten hits. And Rudimental. I love so much of their music.
You’ve been to Dubai before. What are your favourite bits?
Yeah, I played at Disturbing Dubai events at WHITE Dubai and at Nikki Beach. I love the architecture. On my first visit to Dubai I was fascinated by the twisted building [Cayan Tower]. That was my favourite. I love the weather, the energy and great vibes. Everyone’s just so positive and creative. This time I’m going out to the sand dunes. I can’t wait to finally be a tourist in Dubai. I was asked if I wanted to do the [XLine Dubai Marina] zip line. But I just can’t! I’m a bit of a wuss…
What’s on your Dubai bucket list?
I’d love to go diving, because the weather’s so warm and the water’s so clear. And I’ve heard there’s an indoor ski centre. I really want to try that. I definitely have to do some snowboarding there!
Kelli-Leigh’s debut single Do You Wanna Be Loved Like This will be available to purchase on iTunes. https://www.instagram.com/kellileighuk/