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January 20, 2014

Sounds & Grace: Lee England Jr.

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Sometimes you come across talent so great that it puts you in a trance. A state of  “maaannnn, I wish I could do that!” But more so the present fact that this person, this artist, is capable of producing such creativity is mind –blowing and often I find myself being a proud observer – proud of the creator and producer of said art.  As if I were there from the beginning when the vision was planting and there in the moment the dream had flourished.

Lee England Jr., is my latest “awe” moment. I am a fool for just realizing how familiar I am with his work! LOL. With personality and a skill set that he executes like second nature, this brother is baaaaaad.  Young, ambitious, and extremely talented the twentysomething – year- old violinist and vocalist intrigues the ear by taking familiar songs and tweaking them, adding a kaleidoscope of sweet instrumentation and intertwining rhythms.

During his  mini-concert performance at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts over the weekend, England fused the sounds of  jazz,  R&B, pop and soul into an hour-long experience for all genres and audiences.  Lee England  and fellow musicians beautifully played Rihanna’s hit single, “Diamonds” , performed various tunes by Adele, threw in their twist of Cee Lo Green’s “Crazy” and  eloquently combined Usher’s “There Goes My Baby” with Michael Jackson’s “Lady In My Life”. The transitions were smooth as he and his Soul Orchestra weaved in and out of songs with an aesthetic that soothes your audio stream.

From Chi-town education and setting Lee England’s musical foundation to the breeze of Venice Beach in sunny California, the L.A. scene propelled Lee’s destiny. In the midst of performing at various NBA Games, his arena continues to grow and has encountered working with artists such as Eric Roberson, Stevie Wonder, Babyface, to name a few and has gained credentials as an opening musician for artists such as Chrisette Michele, Rick Ross, Ryan Leslie, and MC Lyte, to name a few, respectfully.

A Jordan Brand Ambassador, handpicked by Michael Jordan specifically after a performance at his annual party during the NBA All-Star Weekend a few years back, England has mastered his skill in multiple ways by receiving three degrees from Southern Illinois University, inclusive of a  B.S in Music Business and B.A. degrees in Music Education and Music Performance.  The hard work and dedication exudes during each performance as it is clear that when the violin is in his presence – the two, he and his instrument,  become one.

Street Soundz

Get in Tune with Lee England Jr.: reverbnation | twitter

 



About the Author

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LaToya Cross
LaToya Cross is a graduate of Specs Howard School of Broadcast & Media Arts in Southfield, MI and earned her Bachelor's Degree in Magazine Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She has been published in N'DIGO Magapaper, ndigo.com, Vocalo.org, Heed Magazine, AndWePresent.com, JET Magazine and JETMag.com. Her work as a writer and visionary engages arts & culture, education and philanthropy. In addition to being a journalism/communications professional, she works with and mentors youth as an After-School instructor with Orion's Mind and volunteers with Open Books Literacy Program.