The biography...

© 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, Blue Öyster Cult 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.

 

 

Throughout high school, Leoni performed in multiple bands within the music department and was recognised as a reliable student with the skills to back other pupils for their performances and in school productions. In her final year, she would join her favourite music teacher once a week to assist younger students learning songs as a form of work experience. Leoni was welcomed back on multiple occasions to perform with them for the annual concert 'The Celebration of Music' held at Blackpool's Winter Gardens. 

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.

At college, Leoni studied double BTEC Music Performance, A Level Music Technology and AS Level Fine Art. As one of her tutors had seen her performing gigs around the local area before starting the course, Leoni was already recognised as someone they could rely on to perform for demonstrations and college open days. Taking part in college gigs, concerts, and musicals, Leoni completed her courses with A*'s and Double Distinctions, with her sights set firmly on university.

 

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.

 

Late 2018, Leoni was invited to join Tony Moore at a KT Tunstall gig in Kingston - the two had been rehearsing for one of Tony's solo shows earlier in the day and so they drove together from Clapham to attend, but unfortunately, Tony's car had given up on the ring road a few streets away from the venue! Leoni was given the option to go to the gig without Tony and so she grabbed her bass and headed for PRIZM. She was put in touch with KT's manager who invited her backstage after the performance for a chat. The following day, Leoni rang Tony and told him all about the night, and how she had received an endorsement from BOSS Pedals.

Nearing the end of her 1st year at University, Leoni connected with her bass player, Will, whom she knew through college and drummer, James Jackman, through a class that both Will and James shared. Once the band was 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. Head to the gig page to catch her next live show!

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Scott Oram / Leoni

Pete Lawrenson

Pete, Colin, Scott, Ken / 'Barkin'

Will Plunkett

“ 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.

James Jackman

© Rob Blackham 

“ 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. 

News

Songs for Neil - VOL 3

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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.

 

Leoni said: 


"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:

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On the 5th December 2020, the anniversary of 'Mona Bone Jakon' and 'Tea for the Tillerman' by the famous Cat Stevens were celebrated with an online festival. The line up presented the likes of James Morrison, HAIM, Passenger and many more well known acts including Leoni Jane Kennedy. All songs performed were re-imagined covers of Cat Stevens' songs over the years!
 
The festival went down a storm and brought all of these musicians together during what has proven to be a difficult time for all artists that continue affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. You can find Leoni's performance HERE or to see the full concert follow the link below.

The Freddie Mercury Scholarship was awarded to Leoni in 2018 which allowed her to attend the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. After 2 years of working hard on the Creative Artist course, Leoni has gone on to achieve a 1st class Honours in the Music Industry Practise degree!

The dissertation subject was written in honour of Neil Peart who sadly passed away during the start of 2020 - Leoni wanted to conclude her university journey in a meaningful way, and what better way than to dedicate a whole study on well known drummer for progressive rock band, Rush. Neil was a huge influence Leoni's work and his lyrics often guided her as person, therefore getting a 1st was a huge achievement and also meant the scholarship was used to it's fullest!


 

Read more about the scholarship award 

October 2019, Leoni played her first set at London's most popular music networking event - BBC Introducing LIVE at Tobacco Docks.

She got the chance to perform on the ACM stage in front of industry professionals and met some awesome up and coming artists.

May 2019, Leoni travelled to the PRS Europe Headquarters in Cambridge to record some songs and to do an interview with Ace from Skunk Anansie.
 
She got to meet the PRS team and see the workshop filled with hundreds of guitars in the making, as well as recieving a goody bag filled with PRS gear! Check out Leoni's live session here - 

October 2018, Leoni landed an endorsement with pedal legends BOSS whilst backstage at a KT Tunstall gig with the Boss and Roland crew....

A year later, Leoni and her band along with up and coming teen country artist, Josh Gleaves, SUPPORTED KT Tunstall at Wembley Park for International busking day! 

(L to R) - Josh, KT, James, Will, Leoni

June 2017, Leoni wrote a song called 'Look To The Future' for the 2017 BTEC Awards held in London. The song was written to the brief of 'the future' and won Leoni and band 'SIXX' a chance to perform on stage at the 2017 awards ceremony representing The Blackpool Sixth Form College! Click 
to watch the winning composition video...

Sponsors and Endorsements

In 2014, Leoni performed in a competition called "Rock the House" which had an equipment sponsorship from both Yahama Music and Orange Amplification. Both companies had team members present at this competition and were networking with the artists and judges. The initial audition was held at a venue called The Bedford in Balham. This is where Leoni won the title of best under 19's solo act.

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Fast forward a month or so to the celebratory performances from winning band 'Hex' and Leoni in the speakers rooms in The Houses of Parliament - this event showed popular House of Commons band 'MP4' performing a headline set to a crowd of music industry legends such as Robin Millar (Produced the likes of 'Smooth Operator' by Sade, Tina Turner, Randy Crawford... ). Robin continues to support Leoni to this day.

After networking with some major industry contacts, Leoni received contact from both Yamaha and Orange not long after the competition had concluded. Yamaha wished to Sponsor Leoni as an artist and provide her with equipment to help her journey as a musician. The prize for winning best solo act was a voucher which was put towards her AC1M acoustic guitar, however the company further provided their best PA system for her style which was the brand new Stagepas 600i model.

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Orange Amplification who were also present at the speakers rooms later decided to endorse Leoni with a CR20 valve amp after proving her electric guitar skills...
 
The relationship remains with both companies today - opportunities like these have boosted Leoni's confidence in so many ways and Rock the House allowed her to meet so many musical legends that continue to guide her.

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In December 2018, Leoni received this limited edition ebony body Floyd rose from PRS Guitars Europe. After the being shown a video of her performing live, the company decided to endorse her with this guitar as an approval of her music and music career so far.

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When backstage at a KT Tunstall gig in London 2018, Leoni met the Boss and Roland crew that were supporting the band/show via equipment sponsorship.
 
Leoni spoke with Matt Knight from Boss Pedals regarding her music and the conversation concluded with an endorsement of pedals to try out and review which would arrive a few weeks later.