I’m very passionate about music, especially gospel, which is part of my roots. When I was two years old, I was the mascot for the Queen Mother’s 60th birthday where my father and the London Community Gospel Choir were invited to perform. They asked for him to bring ‘Little Leonn’ who pretended to be the choir master, directing the choir from the front.
My father recognized how powerful gospel could be in lifting people up and changing the atmosphere in any situation. This has served as the foundation of my music and is one of the main reasons I’m still a musician today.
My father blessed me with a gift – a true appreciation of pure love and joy that comes from gospel. By travelling with his choir across many different countries, we were able to experience how music bridges people together regardless of race, religion or culture. This includes playing for the Moroccan Queen, in a Muslim country. The songs give people pure joy. They’re laughing, cheering and there’s a sense of community without segregation. The goodness of the human race is what spurs me on and inspires my music.
My father is the Reverend Bazil Meade, he is the founder of the London Gospel Community Choir. Being in the church in the 1970s and early 1980s was quite different to how it is now, and my father forged a path to take music into communities despite meeting resistance from some church ministers. In 1982, he put together a mass choir including youth from different churches from all over London for a one-off performance at Kensington Temple. It was such a huge success that members of the choir wanted to continue.
From there, the media got involved so there were television appearances, recordings and movie soundtracks. Before they knew it, my father and the choir were working with Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting. This movement became something more – it was legendary.
Fast forward to today, 38 years later, the choir is still going and breaking boundaries. Two years ago my father was invited to Buckingham Palace to be awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the music industry, especially Gospel Music.
That was such a great achievement for him – he’s a pioneer and a legend.
You can hear Bazil Meade MBE sing and play keyboard with his band here with LEONN making an appearance on drums!