July 11 2019

The Vibes is Right with Leanne Wright

London-Standard Sounds
London’s underground music scene has a lot to thank Leanne Wright for. The music curator and artist-connector has been showcasing vibrant new and old musical discoveries across the radio waves since she arrived in London in 1991. Whether it’s imagining creative identities for the likes of Giles Peterson and Benji B or bringing her impeccable taste to life behind the counter at Honest Jon’s records, Leanne turns her hand expertly to most things in the musical world. Lucky for us, Leanne will bring her eclectic and worldwide selects to the newly opened Sounds Studio at The Standard, London this week with, Vibes is Right, alongside her very special guest Steve Spacek. We caught up with Leanne to talk playlists, London and her favorite music moments.

How would you say the underground music scene has changed in London since moving from Canada in 1991?

Digital and social platforms have changed everything. The way we consume and experience music has become much more immediate and disposable. Our communal spaces for enjoying music together have diminished and in turn so has community. But I’m an optimist and look forward to seeing what the inevitable response to all of this will be. That’s one of the most exciting things about London. It’s a catalyst for creativity—movements are started here. Watch this space!

If we were to grab your phone and look at your playlists right now, what would probably be the most played track?

Black Spade / Something in the End feat Iman Omari

Where do you frequent for musical and cultural inspiration in London?

I’ve always loved visiting Somerset House—they have a great range of exhibitions (I love when 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair take over) and they cultivate some amazing artists across all disciplines in their studios. 

You have some serious eclectic artists featured on your WorldwideFM show Emerald Tablet -whose been your most exciting guest yet?

I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible guests on my show but I really enjoyed my time with Mad Professor. He’s been in the game for decades and released literally hundreds of records and is still passionate about what he does. He’s also one of the gentlest, most humble people. I also loved having Equiknoxx—the killer crew from Jamaica. Their organic and open approach to creativity is inspirational. You never know what they’re going to do next.

As a creative, I like to be in places that are progressive and inspiring. London is one of the most stimulating cities in the world.

Aside from music, what else do you immerse yourself in in London?

I came from a small town in Canada. As a creative, I like to be in places that are progressive and inspiring. London is one of the most stimulating cities in the world. I just love being out—in clubs, in restaurants, parks—just people watching and tuning in to the vibration of the city. I work in a gallery in Soho—it’s on a corner with massive windows. So, we see all sorts walk past every day and we’re able to draw from that kind of diversity,

What has been a pinnacle moment for you in your career?

Earlier this year Kam Bhogal and I released a radio documentary about arranger, producer and musician Charles Stepney. We worked on it for almost 2 years and interviewed people like Louie Vega, Gilles Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, Larry Dunn (Earth Wind & Fire), Marc Mac & Dego (4hero), Patrick Forge and Marshall Chess. After spending so much time on it, we lost all sense of objectivity and even wondered if was any good. We launched it on Worldwide FM on Stepney’s birthday in March. The next day Gilles forwarded a text from Questlove saying he and Solange got up early to listen and absolutely loved it. I think, I had to reread the text 3 times before it sunk in. One of the things I am most grateful for is having had the chance to play music and travel to countries I may have never experienced and to meet people from all over the world. It’s what I’ve always loved about music—that it brings like-minded people together in a sort of celebration and communion.

Leanne Wright and Standard Sounds present: Vibes is Right
Sounds Studio, The Standard, London
Thursday, July 11, 6-10PM
MORE INFO HERE
The Standard
Writer
Karla Evans