A year ago, Leon Bridges was bussing tables at a Tex-Mex restaurant — and tonight he’s performing at the AMAs. If you’re as crazy about the 25-year-old “Coming Home” crooner as we are, read on to find out seven fun things to know about Bridges.
1. Leon isn’t his real name
In fact, he was born Todd Bridges on July 13, 1989. And actually, he originally went by the stage name Lost Child. “My mom, she used to always tell me whenever I had a haircut or something, ‘Boy, you look like a lost child,'” Bridges told Rolling Stone magazine. “Later, I wanted a more professional-sounding name. A lot of people in college would call me Leon, after the actor. He acted in Cool Runnings, The Five Heartbeats and The Temptations. People were saying I looked like him. I felt that ‘Leon’ and ‘Bridges’ went together very well.”
2. He’s a big fan of ’90s R&B
“As a kid, I grew fascinated with modern R&B. In high school, I’d try singing songs by Ginuwine and Usher, and I thought, ‘Well, maybe they weren’t in my range,” he told Ticketmaster of his affinity for the genre. He has also quoted Ginuwine’s “Tribute to a Woman” as one of his most influential songs.
3. He loves his mama, y’all
Bridges often references his mother and his childhood. This sweet tweet is just one reminder that he’s a bit of a mama’s boy — and that’s clearly A-OK with him.
Ain't even gone lie. I'm really excited to see my mother for thanksgiving
— Leon Bridges (@leonbridges) November 9, 2015
4. A pair of jeans earned him his big break
Not many musicians can say a pair of pants helped them attract followers and break into the music industry, but Bridges sure can. In August of 2014, Bridges was at a bar drinking when a young woman approached him. He describes the experience, saying, “I had my high-waist denim on and the girlfriend of one of the guitarists from White Denim followed me and was like, ‘You should meet my boyfriend — he wears Wranglers!'” Her boyfriend was White Denim guitarist Austin Jenkins and, after discussing denim, he paid for a three-day recording session for Bridges.
5. His dance skills are impressive
Should you ever run into Bridges at the club, don’t challenge him to a dance off (that’s still a thing, right?). Before he started belting out soul music, he studied dance at Tarrant County College. Already a hip-hop dancer, the school gave the opportunity to pursue ballet, jazz, modern technique and choreography.
6. Macklemore is in his circle of friends
Bridges has referenced working with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis more than once on social media, always pointing out how great the guys are to work with. We can’t wait for the music video they made earlier this year to drop!
7. He can be self-conscious about his voice
I know, you guys. How could a guy who sounds as heavenly as Bridges does not have full confidence in what he does? It may defy logic, but it’s true nonetheless. “I have a lot of insecurities because I don’t have a big powerhouse voice,” he has admitted. “I’m not a shouter. I rely on phrasing to get my feelings across. I guess that’s why I’m connected with Sam Cooke.”