Leee John and his platinum selling band Imagination, packed dancefloors in the Eighties. Their hits included Just an Illusion, Body Talk, Music and Lights, and Flashback with sales in excess of 30 million albums.
The multi talented North London Soul boy of St Lucian decent, has worked non stop over the last 30 years as a songwriter, vocalist, producer, musician, radio show presenter, dj and actor.
I caught up with Leee this week following the announcement of his performance at the MSC Bellissima Christening. The star-studded event to be held on 1st of March in Southampton will be hosted by TV beauty Holly Willoughby. Also performing will be Nile Rodgers and Chic. This will be followed by the traditional ribbon cutting by ship’s Godmother, award winning actress Sophia Loren.
Have you been on a cruise ship before?
“Yes. The first ship I cruised on was when I was eight years old. It was the SS France, which was the longest ship in the world at the time and had the biggest floating cinema.”
How do you feel about performing at the MSC Bellissima Christening?
“Overwhelmed and very, very excited. I mean wow, what can I say? Sophia Loren? I am going to be completely gaga! I am very much a music and film buff and saw Sophia Loren in Two Women in which she won two awards. I also saw her in Arabasque which I love as I am a fashionista.”
“Antonio and the team at MSC Cruises have been fantastic. They came to see me and were extremely gracious, offering to help us with anything we need.”
“I am looking forward to performing alongside Nile Rodgers and Chic again. We have toured together twice before, having performed around 20 shows together. In fact I once had a call from Nile asking me to help him out. He was due to perform at a special party for his Goddaughter, but had been delayed, so asked if I could fill in for him until he arrived.”
Can you reveal any details about your performance for the event?
“We will be playing the latest and the greatest! I am old school so for me the performance is totally about the audience. I have a fantastic band. Our drummer is Mel Gaynor who used to play with Simple Minds. He actually played with Imagination on our very first tour. Mike Timothy is our keyboard player and he has worked with Dexys Midnight Runners and Massive Attack. Alexis our bass player and Lorraine who sings backing vocals are also outstanding musicians to work with.”
After talking to Leee, I am even more excited to see his performance at the event and have bought a copy of his last album Retropia. It includes a range of styles from Soul and Jazz to Rock and Dance. Recording a soul version of Highway To Hell (my personal favourite track on the album) takes talent, but has clearly paid off as it will feature as the theme tune to Netflix show Street Riders, also produced by Sky in Italy.
Leee has been producing his film Flashback over the last six years. The film celebrates the great black artists who have contributed to UK music. Leee has gathered more than 80 interviews from artists such as Beverley Knight, Eddy Grant, Trevor Nelson, Omar, Geno Washington, Shalamar’s Jeffrey Daniels, Boney M’s Bobby Farrell and Ruby Turner. Leee is also planning on putting this on an app platform for use in the educational system.
As well as a film, Leee is working on his new album under the working title of World Domination. It is expected for release in 2020. Leee is working with an eclectic mix of musicians from the Gypsy Kings to Rob David (Can’t Get You Out Of My Head).
If you can’t wait until 2020, Retropia is available to buy from Amazon.
Wonderful album from the very talented Leee John, the lead singer of Imagination. The songs vary from the very danceable” Do It Right Now “to the atmospheric ” Utopia ” to the rocky ” Highway To Hell”. Every track has something to offer in quality, perfect pitch and great production. Thoroughly recommended. – Cheri