Critically acclaimed retro-pop singer-songwriter Micah Edwards dives into 2022 head-first with his signature Texas Soul flare on “Jean Leon,” the title track from his upcoming album, on February 3rd. This track is a magnificent showcase of Edwards’ masterful songwriting abilities in which he brings a deeply personal story to life with a picturesque, throw-back-inspired soundscape. The inspiration for the track being the story of his parents’ marriage, the title, “Jean Leon,” is a combination of both their middle names. The golden-voiced crooner immediately hooks listeners with the warmth of his angelic vocals; dressed with the boldness of a pristine brass section, the sparkle of a vintage electric guitar, and the subtleness of buttery keys, this track comes together perfectly atop a contagiously groovy bass line. Following his fall 2021 release, “Girl From The Valley,” which has already accumulated well over 100k Spotify streams, the artist’s music continues demanding the attention of listeners from all over.
The final version of “Jean Leon” came to fruition over the course of a few years. Edwards wrote the first version of the retro-pop track in honor of the resilience of his parents’ marriage after withstanding an instance of infidelity from his father. The inspiration came upon the songwriter when they managed to reconcile after approaching a breaking point; at first, “Jean Leon” was a celebratory love song honoring a powerful love. The songwriter explains that “a few months later, [his] dad cheated again, and that’s when [his] mom officially left him.” The artist planned to permanently shelve the song following this hardship, until a fresh wave of inspiration struck after re-discovering the first version of the song in the summer of 2020. He decided to rework it, painting “Jeon Leon” as the toxic love interest he sings to, when in reality the Texas native is grappling with the personified representation of his parents’ dysfunctional relationship. Edwards reflected on this, ultimately concluding that the once celebratory “Jean Leon” now confronts the “dysfunctional expectations [he] had for marriage that [he’s] ready to hand over to Jesus.”
Steeped in complexity—disappointment, failed relationship, maturity, and underlying it all, hope—Jean Leon is the first studio album from “Mr. Texas Soul” himself, Micah Edwards.
Having explored a spectrum of neo-soul, jazz, lo-fi, and pop over the last two years, Micah’s smooth vocals lend themselves to many different styles and genres. But for his debut full-length project, a story about his personal testimony during one of the hardest years of his life, Micah sought to create his own sound. This sound was specifically inspired by his story—an amalgamation of what he loves: Jesus, his wife, Texas, piano, pedal steel, and his mother…mixed with things he’s sought to understand: brokenness, forgiveness, reconciliation, and his relationship with his father.
Micah’s family values were largely shaped by growing up in a large, mixed-race family on the West Coast. As Micah grew older and his family moved to Texas, that view started to be challenged on a regular basis, forcing Micah to reconcile what he thought he knew about the man he wanted to be. What do you do when the man you looked up to as the leader of your family isn’t who you needed him to be? When your family has been let down and hurt, time and time again? And how do you stop yourself from becoming that same man for your own family?
Bitter, yet uplifting—Jean Leon is a healing, soulful exploration of faith from Micah. Searching for answers from God while searching his own heart, you will understand who Micah is as a musician and artist from the unique blend of up-front vocals driven by bass and drums, supported with piano and retro-soul guitar, and embellished with soulful horns and twangy steel guitar.
This debut album is a nod to the artists before him, as a young virtuoso who understands not just the heart, but the musical precision of retro-soul and country music. Someone who pays homage to Curtis Mayfield’s brilliance of guitar in early Impressions records and Etta James’ almost conversational vocal expression, while embracing his classic country songwriting influence through calculated storytelling employing the fiddle and steel guitar. Someone who respects and honors Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Marcus King, Durand Jones & The Indications, Aaron Frazer, Michael Kiwanuka—but leans heavily into the sounds of this particular moment. This is a daring explorer who has created a unique fusion of retro and contemporary elements to defy what has been done before and craft a new genre: Texas soul.