© Dave Pullinger
Leoni Jane Kennedy is a Blackpool born, Camden based singer-songwriter, often described as 'haunting' by her audiences. With power and soul behind her voice, this artist combines intricate guitar melodies and riffs with lyrics that surpass her years. This story tells the journey of a young songstress who's developing a sound worthy of being heard by the music industry.
Leoni was hooked on blues rock from a young age after being gifted a CD of Status Quo. Their greatest hits album was stuck on repeat until 2011, when she finally got to see the band live at Lytham Proms. Leoni is also influenced by the likes of Rush, King Crimson, Madison Cunningham and many bands from a diverse range of genres.
Growing up, Leoni attended weekly jam nights at her local pub where the house band, Barkin', would invite her up to play along with them. They became like family and taught Leoni all she knows about guitar and improvisation. She joined them in playing hit songs from the 50's through to the 90's such as ‘Whisky in the Jar’ by Thin Lizzy and 'Copperhead Road' by Steve Earle.
When Leoni was 13, she entered a competition called 'Rock The House' which completely changed her life. She passed the audition stage and was invited 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. From this competition, Leoni received an artist sponsorship from Yamaha and was endorsed by Orange Amplification. At The Bedford, Leoni met multiple industry creatives, such as veteran Iron Maiden keyboard player, Tony Moore.
“ 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 close friend.
In 2018, Leoni moved south and began studying the Music Industry Practice degree at ACM Guildford. She applied for two scholarships and came out as the runner up for the BASCA scholarship, but was instead chosen by 'Queen's’ Brian May and Roger Taylor to receive the 'Freddie Mercury' Scholarship, covering her entire university tuition fees. This Scholarship saw the previous year's winner, along with Leoni and ACM alumni pianist, recording a cover of Queen song 'The Show Must Go On' at Metropolis Studios in London where Freddie's piano has been kept since his passing. Leoni and the team also joined Youtube in the tunnels of London's underground stations, performing Queen songs in celebration of the film release - they later attended as VIP guests at the World Premier of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at Wembley's SSE Arena.
Nearing the end of her 1st year at University, Leoni connected with her band mated and once formed, they went straight into rehearsals to prepare a solid set list of Leoni's originals for gigging. During summer 2019, they went into ACM's SSL studio with producer of Motörhead and Uriah Heep, John Gallen, who had previously taught Leoni for production classes and recorded some solo acoustic songs prior to the full band recordings. John was teaching production lectures whilst using the trio as the demonstration band, which resulted in a live album consisting of 7 songs and Leoni's latest single "Life Like This" which was released in October 2020 and can be found on all major platforms.
Leoni graduated in 2020 with a 1st Class BA Honours Degree in Music Industry Practice and she is currently studying an MA in Songwriting at ICMP, whilst continuing to perform her original music both solo and with band around the London scene.
Scott Oram / Leoni
Pete, Colin, Scott, Ken / 'Barkin'
Songs for Neil - VOL 3
In 2020, Leoni joined lead vocalist and bassist from Moving Pictures UK Rush Tribute band John Power, along with his son, Nick, to perform and record the classic Rush tune "Time Stand Still" which was added to the first volume of "Songs for Neil" - a tribute album to the late drummer and lyricist of Rush, Neil Peart. After returning to Rush Eucon and RushFest Scotland earlier this year and taking the stage with just an acoustic guitar and voice, Leoni was asked to record her version of Kid Gloves that went down a storm with the Rush fans, and this track has been added to Volume 3, the double vinyl Tribute album ‘Songs for Neil’ in honour of his memory.
"It’s been such a pleasure working with the Rush community over the years, and after performing on volume one, I was ecstatic to be invited back to record my take on such a classic track, with thanks to the incredibly talented Nick Andrew for the recording and production! A huge thank you to Steve Brown and everyone who has helped out for your hard work in putting this together. I’m sure the professor would be grinning from ear to ear."
Over the years, £78k has been raised and donated to different cancer charities. To listen to Leoni's version of "Kid Gloves" among many great tributes, you can order yours here: