Leela James' introduction at the 2016 Summer Spirit Festival proclaimed her as the "Goddaughter of Soul," and she surely lived up to that name. The sassy spitfire set the tone early by dropping it like it was hot while she sang. And, boy, did she sang. She dropped a funk bomb on "Who's Gonna Love You More" before smoothing things out with "Say That You Love Me," her duet with Anthony Hamilton. AHam wasn't there, but we peeped one of The Hamiltones, Tony Lelo, assisting Leela on guitar and background vocals.
James, who recently gave birth to a son, got her sexy on with the slinky "So Good," into which she interpolated Sade's "No Ordinary" and Diana Ross' "Love Hangover," to sensual effect. After showing everyone that this mother of two has still got it, Leela took us back to her debut single, "Music," and kicked things up a notch with a remix that incorporated Mobb Deep's "Quiet Storm." That hip hop break had the audience pumped up and outta their seats, and they stayed on their feet while she performed tributes to James Brown and Prince.
Leela James' infectious energy and old soul stylings entertained all those under the sound of her commanding voice at Merriweather Post Pavilion.