Following the release of his timely ballad "Sweeter," Bounce-Worthy soul singer-songwriter Leon Bridges gathered together Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper to perform a live rendition of the powerful tracks for The Late Late Show with James Corden. In the midst of worldwide protests and demands for racial justice, the tune provides the soundtrack for all the emotions we’re feeling during this time. While some may be surprised to learn that the song was actually made last year, others will note that, unfortunately, there is nothing new about its narrative.
Over the mellow and melancholy track, Leon sings of his optimism for brighter days. The lyrics tug at our heartstrings and prove all too familiar for people of color as he sings, “Hoping for a life more sweeter / Instead I'm just a story repeating / Why do I fear with skin dark as night? / Can't feel peace with those judging eyes.” During his interview with James Corden, he recalls the impact the murder of George Floyd had on him. He says, “I would say George Floyd was a tipping point for me. Everything in me wanted to be there in that moment with him. I feel like my role is to let my music reflect my heart, and it was important to release that song now."
For the virtual live performance, Martin and Glasper join him in a warehouse setting. They are all appropriately socially-distanced, as the camera pans the room while keeping Leon as the main focal point. In an interesting display of imagery, the masses might miss the red rose seen sprouting from the concrete at the beginning of the footage. This subtle nod to a poem by the late Tupac Shakur speaks to the resilience and beauty of our culture despite tumultuous and seemingly impossible circumstances.
Watch Leon Bridges’ live performance of “Sweeter” alongside Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper on The Late Late Show with James Corden below. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to add the track to your protest playlist from your preferred digital platform.