"In 1976 I was five going on six and already bang into music. Yeah, I had felt tips and matchbox cars, but the idea of getting transported elsewhere via my mum's records and huge, springy headphones, was where it was at. My Mum had a huge record collection back then - Motown, Old Soul Compilations, Reggae. She was in her early 20's, a single parent with me and my older sister, and to her, those records were a way out of the hard times."
Leigh Stephen Kenny was born in Kent and grew up in Leeds in the 1980's and those years have shaped many of the songs on his new album 'Outlaw'. "I wrote the track 'Seventies, Eighties' for the Nightmares on Wax album, Mind Elevation and it more or less sums up the era I grew up in, though the version on 'Outlaw' is much darker." Growing up the son of a mixed race mother during the early Thatcher years certainly made him see the hard times from the sharp end but as a teenager he was also obsessed with music- DJing, going to blues parties, rapping, and hanging at his local record store. By 1997 he was fronting Bedlam A Go Go, a Leeds outfit who produced one album, 'Estate Style Entertainment', a swirling collision of Trip Hop and Psychedelic urban symphonies, before internal tensions forced them to split, but already, Leigh's verbal dexterity and deep soul voice were marking him out as an extraordinary talent.
As the rest of the band returned to obscurity, Leigh pursued his own musical vision, bringing together all the disparate influences that had touched him, from Dancehall to De La Soul, Culture to The Clash. The eponymously titled 'LSK' was released in late 1999 to much critical acclaim. This startling collection of songs showed the growing maturity of Leigh's work both lyrically and musically. As well as the exploration of personal issues in songs such as 'Roots' there were also sharp, clever vignettes such as 'Cubana Anna' and dark, narratives of passion in 'The Biggest Fool', all wrapped in a heady, uplifting, mix of soul, reggae, hip hop, and rock.
LSK toured extensively, playing Japan, Australia, and Europe, as well as such prestige festivals as Transmusicales in France and The Montreux Jazz Festival, whilst appearances on Later with Jools Holland, and Glastonbury 2000 further cemented his reputation as a singularly gifted singer and writer. However, Leigh's restless curiosity and unwillingness to conform to industry expectations, did not sit well with the routine of touring and promotion, and in 2001 he returned home to start work on what was to become 'Outlaw'