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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, 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. 

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Scott Oram / Leoni

Pete Lawrenson

Pete, Colin, Scott, Ken / 'Barkin'

NEW WORLD WOMAN

RUSH COVERS ALBUM CAMPAIGN

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AVAILABLE NOW

Leoni successfully launched a KICKSTARTER campaign raising over £5K in funds to cover the production costs of her acoustic album of reinvented RUSH covers. Created alone in her bedroom with one microphone and a guitar, this album has already been given some attention from the likes of MetalTalk and newspapers up and down the country, including praise from Planet Rock Radio host Darren Redick.
New World Woman features two special guests and has been produced by Steve Brown who runs RUSHFEST Scotland, alongside playing guitar in Moving Pictures, RUSH Tribute UK, with whom Leoni regularly supports with her acoustic set of Rush covers.
A range of Limited Edition Merch Bundles are up for grabs - to support Leoni head to the store shop to pre-order Vinyl, CD's and make sure to listen to the single 'Tears' , the opening track of the album.

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 here:

September 2019, Leoni supported Blues award winners Catfifsh at The Electric Theatre... This gig was recorded and will be made into a live DVD.

The amplification she used on this night was also used by Pete Townshend of The Who at the 2012 Olympic Games - Courtesy of friend and amp guru, Jesse Hoff of Lazy J amplification.

"I met Leoni at a gig in Surrey…and it was she who initiated the contact. The next day, at another gig, she was there again. And after that I could not really remember a time that she hadn’t been in my life. She is that kind of person…an old, soulful soul….she connects, and she leaves an impression. I’ve seen Leoni play solo, acoustic, and with her band…and there is a delicate depth in her delivery that is so fragile and so strong…it’s beautiful! One particular gig stands out…LJK was supporting Catfish at the Electric Theatre in Guildford.

She’d asked me if I could lend her an amp. Well, I’ve got amps…
Roll back to 2012…The Who were closing out the London Olympics. By that time, Pete Townshend had been using Lazy J amps for a couple of years. Seeing my amps there on the stage at the Closing Ceremony had been a moving moment in my life. As it happens, I own the extension cab PT was using that night. And I thought that cab, along with Bobby B’s J10 would be the perfect combination for Leoni’s gig at the Electric Theatre.
So... after its last outing at the London Olympics in the summer of 2012... in Guildford, in the summer of 2019... 

Leoni Jane Kennedy was rocking it at the Electric Theatre. And what can I say…It was perfect!!"

- Jesse Hoff, Lazy J Amplification -
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Sponsors and Endorsements

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SOUND ON SOUND MAGAZINE, 2014

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