Singer/songwriter Leon Timbo has a unique, rootsy sound that incorporates equal measures of vintage soul, gospel, folk, R&B, funk, dance music, and even modern blues in a style referred to by his producer as "transparent soul." A seasoned, well-traveled musician, he is widely regarded as a protege of Tyrese Gibson and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Timbo counts Bill Withers, James Taylor, Andre Crouch, and Donny Hathaway among his influences.
Timbo was raised in Jacksonville, Florida to church parents -- his father and mother are pastors. He began singing at 16 and playing guitar at 20, playing live locally and pursuing a career as a full-time musician. In 2005, after cutting the independently released album Soul Sessions, he supported it on an almost non-stop small venue circuit; Timbo built a fan base by playing wherever and whenever he could, coast to coast, using the internet to post new songs and video clips. He made some serious connections. During one trip, he performed at Bishop T.D. Jakes' Potter's House Church in Dallas. Tyrese was in the audience. Impressed by what he'd heard, he went backstage and asked Timbo to open a show for him that night at the House of Blues. It was so successful they began working together in earnest. Tyrese taught Timbo how to use his voice as an instrument in both live and studio situations. He also produced an independently issued EP. Tyrese then introduced Timbo to Babyface, who signed him to his Soda Pop imprint through Island Def Jam. Timbo opened for Edmonds on the road and learned more about the craft of songwriting. He cut an album for Soda Pop, but it was shelved when Edmonds' deal with Def Jam went south. Encouraged by Tyrese, Timbo kept traveling and doing studio work, including sessions with Quincy Jones and R. Kelly. He also began working on another album when Tyrese enlisted veteran producer Luther "Mano" Hanes. Over a three-year period, they completed a 14-track album. The pre-release single, "What Love’s All About," did well digitally and at radio. The full-length, issued by Riverphlo/eOne, was released in August 2016. ~ Thom Jurek
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