Guest DJ: Leon Bridges

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 (Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)

Leon Bridges grew up listening to Usher, but his music suggests influences a generation removed. The Texas singer pairs irresistible pop charm with tightly-executed song structures. But his throwback act is no mere nostalgia trip.

In fact, Bridges explains in our interview that he never intended to write soul music. He grew up a voracious and diligent listener, drawing as much from the neo-soul of Ginuwine as from the guitar work of Crosby, Still & Nash. Singers overshadowed by the likes of Sam Cooke — Arthur Alexander, Roy C. — were central to his musical education. It was only after he had written many of his best songs that friends noted echoes of the past.

That's independence to admire. Listen as Bridges walks us through the sounds he discovered young before writing and recording Coming Home.

You can hear the whole interview with the listen link above and read excerpts in our playlist below.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.