© Dave Pullinger
Leoni Jane Kennedy is a Blackpool born, Guildford based singer-songwriter, often described as 'haunting' with very intricate guitar melodies and riffs, achieving a new alternative rock sound with her up and coming band. From being bullied in school for loving progressive rock gods ‘Rush’, to performing to thousands of people at Wembley Park, this is the story from the ‘in between times’ of a young songstress with a blinding future.
Growing up, Leoni regularly attended weekly jam nights at her local pub, where the house band, Barkin', would invite her up to play along with them. Since meeting these lads, they've become like family and have taught Leoni all she knows about guitar and improvisation. They would ask her to join in with their live gigs in professional venues, once she spent a few years learning her trade and style. Some of these gigs included performing with comedian of Little and Large, Syd Little, as well as the brother of famous Opera Star Alfie Boe, Joe Boe!
Joe is a dear friend and has performed with Leoni on multiple occasions.
Since beginning her musical career at the age of eleven, this emerging artist has already achieved critical acclaim. She’s won multiple awards for songwriting, being crowned the UK's number one under 19's singer songwriter when she was just 13. This 'Rock the House' 2014 award led to Leoni receiving a sponsorship from industry giants Yamaha and an endorsement from Orange Amplification. She was then personally invited to perform live in London's House of Commons for industry executives.
Since winning the 'Freddie Mercury' Scholarship to attend her university, Leoni has begun to build her career as a musician around the Guildford / London area with her band backing her for gigs in bigger venues, some of which include supporting KT Tunstall with Josh Gleaves at Wembley Park for International Busking Day. The band have worked on a seven-song album and their single 'Life Like This' with renowned producer of Mötorhead and Uriah Heep, John Gallen.
John has become a great friend and mentor who continues to support and work with the trio throughout their musical career.
Leoni is regularly invited back to London to perform at The Bedford in Balham, one of London's most popular live music venues which has been pivotal in the early careers of Ed Sheeran and Paolo Nutini, to name a few. It was here at The Bedford that Leoni met veteran songwriter and performer Tony Moore.
“ Since meeting her when she won the 'Rock the House' award I have continued to follow her career and help where I can to raise her profile - Leoni has fantastic talents that belie her young age and I see enormous potential for her to have a long and successful career in this business. ”
Tony continues to support Leoni and invites her to play bass on some of his solo shows - he has become a dear friend.
Also continually supporting Leoni is Planet Rock Radio presenter Paul Anthony, who said:
“ When I judged 'Rock The House' Under 19's National competition in London, this 13 year old certainly grabbed my attention and completely blew me away with her talent! Fast forward two years and a video of Leoni covering a prog rock song by 'Rush' got 17,000 hits in 48 hours via Planet Rock's website.
Acoustic or electric, solo or with a band, Leoni definitely has a bright future! ”
“ Leoni Jane Kennedy is, without doubt, one of the best musicians I have ever come across in my life. Her ability to write complex melodies, both on the guitar and vocally, is matched only by her captivating lyrical maturity for someone so young. I am constantly inspired by Leoni, who pushes me as a musician with every new song she writes, and is someone who makes it her prerogative to make sure the musicians she surrounds herself with feel comfortable and happy. The atmosphere in every room that she graces is breathtaking, you can hear a pin drop, be it in a local pub, or a packed out theatre. A true joy to work with, and an even greater joy to be around as a dear friend. ”
“ I met Leoni in my first year of college and we’ve been performing together since then in various bands and shows. So when we moved down to Guildford together she asked me to play bass with her for her own tunes. I met James at university as we had a few of the same lectures and I soon found out how good a drummer he is, shortly after the start of uni we formed our three piece and have had a solid year of gigging to show for it. I have had so many great experiences with Leoni and the band, we’ve done quite a lot together already such as function gigs and session work, as well as playing several sets of Leoni’s original songs.”