Under The Influence: Kelli-Leigh | Features | MN2S

Rapidly becoming one of dance music’s most in-demand vocalists, Kelli-Leigh counts two UK No. 1 hits under her belt in the past year. Featuring on both Duke Dumont feat. Jax Jones’ ‘I Got U’ and Secondcity’s ‘I Wanna Feel’, she has been part of two of the biggest dance crossover tracks in recent history. She also featured on Dutch stars Bingo Players’ huge ‘Cry Just A Little’, and has worked and performed alongside huge names including Adele, Leona Lewis, Rita Ora and Jessie J.

We asked this burgeoning talent to take us through the five artists who have helped to make her what she is today.

Whitney Houston

I used to listen to my Whitney tape on repeat, ‘Queen of the Night’ and ‘I Have Nothing’ from ‘The Bodyguard’ album. I’d get out my notepad and pen and play, stop, rewind until I’d written down every word so I could sing along with that voice that inspired something deep within me: that desire to open my mouth and express everything I think and feel. This woman had soul. She had power. She had prowess and she did it effortlessly. To have been compared to her on ‘I Got U’ and have people actually think that was her singing blows my mind! She is greatness in vocal form and will always remain one of the queens to me.

Prince and The New Power Generation

‘Diamonds and Pearls’ takes my breath away and the live version of ‘Nothing Compares To You’. The formidable Prince and Miss Rosie Gaines taught me about the skill and style of vocal performance being delivered simply with complete creativity yet such control. Not only are their voices astounding but the band sound incredible. I loved how Prince could create something so beautifully melodic yet so forward-thinking, intelligent and groovy.


Representing the UK. Don’t disrespect the vocal stylings of Eternal! They were one of the first girl bands to have a strong overall vocal sound led by Easther Bennet. Easther had that raw ability with her voice, such a huge range. I remember trying out my girl band side-step dance moves and clicks to ‘Just A Step From Heaven’ and ‘Eternal’. I don’t know why, but my mum and I thought it a good idea to submit an audition tape to ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ of me singing Louise’s ‘Light Of My Life’ when she went solo. I’m sure the hours practicing weren’t wasted mind.

Skunk Anansie
I was more into my teens when I stole the ‘Post Orgasmic Chill’ album from my mum. Kinda glad it was my teens – I’m not sure my mum would’ve liked to explain ‘orgasmic’ to an 11 year old! The first time I heard ‘Charlie Big Potato’ it was like a musical explosion in my ears! So dark, so dirty, so loud, so impressive but yet so melodic at the same time. I’ll admit, I really want to meet Skin. In fact, do you think she’d give me a singing lesson?

Skunk Anansie fuelled my love for electric guitar, phat bass and a drummer that doesn’t just lock down the groove; he destroys it then dances on it and brings it back on the one without even a hint of hesitation. I learnt that as much as I loved soul and certain R&B stylings, I’d fallen in love with something a bit more aggressive and daring. I still dream of my world tour and even though my music wouldn’t be rock loud like Skunk Anansie it will definitely have an electric guitar or two.

Ella Fitzgerald

I still endeavour to deliver pitch perfect vocal performances and I still learn from Miss Fitzgerald every time I listen to her. One of my favourite performances of hers is a certain little flawless ad-lib she does in a beautiful rendition of ‘Misty’, the 1960 version (1min 40 secs to 1 min 60 secs – check it out, it’s gold!) Not only is she vocal royalty, but she knows how to laugh at herself. Check out her live rendition of ‘Mack The Knife’ where she completely forgets the lyrics to the next few choruses of the song, yet still performs like a true star. Ella lets the music speak. She is an instrument.

Click to enquire about Kelli-Leigh via MN2S booking agency.

Click here to read Alex Mills’ ‘Under The Influence’ picks.

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