Leela James gave a soul-stirring performance as she headlined the Savage X The Soul Tour with R&B artist Tank at the New Daisy Theatre on Saturday. Tank has wrapped up his original Savage tour and is now on a second run, with James bringing her soulful sound to the tour.
James ripped the stage as she performed her chart-topping single “Don’t Want You Back” while revving up the sold-out crowd with old school soul music. As an added treat, she invited concertgoers onstage to dance as she played song selections in the background.
In an exclusive interview with The New Tri-State Defender, James shared her thoughts on touring with Tank.
“The Savage X The Soul tour was a collaborative effort between (our) management teams,” James said. “We’re both different styles of R&B, so it was a good way for fans to get a chance to know me in a different way.”
As she talked about her love for Memphis, James mentioned that her backup singer, Memphis native Nynoka Brown, was the reason behind such a stellar performance. Brown, a current resident of Houston, was excited to be back on Memphis soil as her family watched in amazement. “I’m so happy to be home,” Brown said. “I rep Memphis everywhere I go on tour to the fullest.”
Brown started her journey with James through word of mouth from a friend.
“Someone told me that she was looking for background singers, and before you know it, I’m here. We immediately hit it off and she’s like family away from family. …
“I was thrilled when we decided to come to Memphis,” Brown added. “I don’t get a chance to visit often because of work, so I had to show out and give a great performance for my Memphis family.”
James was determined to give a great performance too. Throughout the night, she continued to hype the crowd as she dedicated an ode to black culture.
“Raise your fists and tell the world that you’re black and you’re proud!”
The crowd roared and swayed as they raised their fists.
“We’re important too, and it’s imperative that I make that known no matter where I go,” James said.
James and Tank will be performing at least 30 shows while on tour and James plans to come back to the Bluff City in the future.
“Memphis support is like no other. Tank mentioned it in his last tour stop, but you have to see it for yourself. Memphis is amazing!”