Leon and The Peoples
Leon & The Peoples, an International Reggae and World Music Award (IRAWMA) nominee for their CD, “The Road Less Traveled,” and winner of International Artist of the Year (Joe Higgs Reggae Awards) – is one of New York’s hottest rising bands.
Leon & The Peoples features top-notch musical talent, high energy live performances, and a commitment to bringing their Reggae-Soul sound to a worldwide audience. The band has developed a strong following, especially amongst women. Leon and the Peoples has been featured on BET’s top rated 106 & Park, ABC’s Good Morning Chicago, and NBC Morning Shows. They have headlined at Central Park’s NYC AIDSWALK Concerts (2003-2010), NYC Summer Stage, New Orleans International Music & Arts Festival, Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival, and Reggae on The River.
Lead singer & songwriter Leon’s early years in NYC were filled with the sounds of Motown and classic artists like Nat King Cole, favorites of his father. However, it was Bob Marley’s “Natty Dread” album, coming from a friend’s window, that struck a special chord with Leon. This connection to reggae is especially evident when he performs with Leon and the Peoples. In his words, “I was always more comfortable with that style of music, because of the sultriness of the style — incorporates soul, rock, gospel, dance … everything which I love… it made me want to sing.”
Leon first performed with a group called “The Young Lions” – this experience opened the door to his live musical performances. Once he started singing original tunes, he knew where he wanted to go, and this paved the way to the formation of “Leon & The Peoples.”
As an actor, many fans worldwide flocked to theatres to see him in Disney’s blockbuster hit “Cool Runnings”. He soon graced many excellent storylines in film and TV such as “Above the Rim,” “Cliffhanger,” “Waiting to Exhale,” HBO’s “Oz,” and “Crossing Jordan.” During 2004 – 2005, Leon travelled cross-country, performing for packed houses in the theatrical version of the New York Times best-selling novel “Friends and Lovers.” During 2007-2008, he toured the country again, playing the lead role in ”3 Ways To Get A Husband.” Leon made his film-singing debut playing a doorman turned reggae singer in “The Price of Kissing” (which he also produced), singing a memorable rendition of “Daddy’s Home.” He proceeded to further his musical roles in the dramas of Robert Townsend’s “Five Heartbeats,” “The Temptations,” and the authorized biography of “Little Richard” as Little Richard himself. Leon was also in Merchant Ivory’s “Side Streets” and Miramax’s “Buffalo Soldiers,” along with his memorable cameo role in Michael Mann’s “Ali.” Leon continued attracting fans when he hosted and produced BET’s “L-Bow Room.”
In 2008 Leon starred in the 20th Century Fox film “Cover,” and in 2009, the Indie comedy “The Brooklyn Heist,” as well the award winning series “Diary of a Single Mom”. Upcoming movies include the drama “Soul Ties” and the romantic comedy, “Ex-Free.”
Antonio Alejandro, a.k.a. Alex, began performing at the age of three in Santiago, Chile with a church group that sang door to door during the holidays. He sang and “played” a guitar that was more of a toy than an actual instrument. After migrating to the United States, his musical instruction began in elementary school. Violin was the instrument of choice, and Alex was part of a string ensemble that performed at different schools in the Boston area. By the time he reached high school age, guitar had become his main interest, and after graduating he spent two years in South America studying classical guitar in Buenos Aires, Argentina with Miguel Ferrer. He played in the subway system with folk musicians, and traveled throughout Chile learning and playing with various musicians and friends. After returning to the United States, he earned an Associates Degree in Music at a community college in Florida, and continued his education at the University of South Florida. During this time he played in bands that ranged from blues, rock, jazz and experimental music. He moved to New York in 2000 and started playing more jazz, electronic music, dub and reggae with different groups in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island.
Curtis Bailey plays Electric Saxophone and has played every major venue in New York City, from Town Hall to The Village Gate to the prestigious Carnegie Hall. He has spent several years writing and producing tracks for various artists, and doing session work. As a member of “Unity Two”, a recording and touring Hip-Hop fusion band, signed to the Warner Brothers label, Curtis performed worldwide. A testament to his versatility, Curtis has also been the musical director for an off Broadway play entitled “Tomorrow.”
Leslie Rochelle sings lead and background vocals. Leslie’s professional music career began in Detroit in 1997. During that time she performed for Carnival Cruise Lines, on the Fantasy Cruise ship traveling between Cape Canaveral, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas. By 2001 she was working with the Skillet Band, playing the best of rock and roll hits and oldies at the Motor City, as well as the MGM Grand Casinos in Detroit. She moved to New York in 2002 and became a featured singer with The Otis Funkmeyer Band, performing throughout New York City. She’s been singing with Leon & the Peoples since 2005. The Metro Detroit native sites the array of incredible musicians from Motown Records, along with Chaka Khan and Prince, as her biggest influences. Her rock and soul background blends perfectly with reggae influences to contribute to the Reggae Soul vibe of Leon and the Peoples.
Patrice Anthony sings background vocals and began her musical career singing gospel music at the age of 14, in choirs along with Freddie Jackson and Paul Michael Lawrence. Patrice majored in music at C.W Post and formed a band called “Just Us” in 1979. Performing extensively across the U.S, they released an independent album called “Just Us”. Recent credits include vocals on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as American Express commercials, showcasing her versatility.
Cathy “Alexis” Layne, born in Queens, NY to Dominican, French and Trinidadian parents was raised in a culturally diverse family with a love for music and the arts. A seasoned performer raised and nurtured by The Peoples. Alexis writes, sings, and has toured the US and the world with Leon & The Peoples and Collie Buddz, among others, as well being a featured performer in the off Broadway gospel musical “Passion He Lives”.