With a profuse Texan gentility and precisely curated period ensembles Leon Bridges cuts a vintage figure. But despite all appearances, Bridges is one definite product of the 21st century; his success as studied soul singer of the moment is one of those unique children born from our modern culture’s romance with the past.
“It’s all about that visual thing that makes people ... fall in love with it more. It’s cool to see somebody who is committed to a style.”
Having sprung to renown through his careful adoption of another era’s aesthetic, the singer has a unique vantage point from which to view the obsession of our high-tech society with all things throwback, from vinyl records to celluloid film. “I guess because being around everything that is so advanced, we look back and see a simpler time,” he says. Bridges believes today we have almost “been fed too much and are about to throw up. It’s something that’s refreshing, to see how simple everything was.”
Bridges’ use of mid-century soul tropes isn’t just superficial, the entire freshman record was put together on original microphones and mixing equipment from the 40s and 50s. As a result the tracks crackle with a genuine nostalgia, and the endearing honesty of his in-person demeanour stirs throughout.
“There’s nothing new under the sun ... I’m not really worried about originality. Because it’s still going to be, you know, something that is original in a way.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Oliver Edwin
FASHION Natalie Petrevski
HAIR Aiden Xydis for The Men’s Grooming Room
MAKEUP Maree Spagnol using M.A.C.