OneonOne with singer, songwriter Leea Stewart

Young artist takes family’s musical legacy to the next generation

Upcoming new artist Leea Stewart has some serious musical pedigree, as daughter of percussionist Willie Stewart of Third World fame, and niece to calypso pioneer Byron Lee of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. But make no mistake – Leea stands out in her own right, offering pop music reflecting her soulful roots and eclectic, global perspective. Fresh off her latest release “I’ll Be Right There,” the hit lead track for new movie, “The Heart of Summer,” National Weekly sat down with the starlet to discuss her inspirations and upcoming projects.

How would you describe your style of music?

I never really boxed myself in one particular genre. I’ve always done many kinds of music. Pop, R&B, and fusion, with a hint of all different cultures, all genres. I left Jamaica when I was 7 and lived in London, and now Florida for 14 years. I’ve been lucky to encounter all sorts of music – house music, funk. So I love to draw on all different styles for inspiration. But I won’t say that I ever forgot reggae. It runs in the blood.

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How has your family inspired your work?

My dad always taught me the drum is your heartbeat. Music is a place to express yourself and heal yourself and others. I think that’s why I have that drive to make purposeful music that can uplift people. And my brother, Monea Stewart, he’s taught me to be a perfectionist, always aim for the best take, the best lyric. And he’s always there telling me to keep on believing in my music.

Tell us about your latest song, “I’ll Be Right There”?

My brother Monea had a box guitar, playing these chords. And I just started to sing. The whole thing just came out. I was going through my own personal struggles at the time, and the song just felt like the song was giving me strength from God. That though you feel like you’re losing ground – like your world is coming to an end, God is right there with you.

Do you have any other upcoming projects?

I’m working on an EPK to be released over the summer. It doesn’t fit into a box genre-wise, but the music deals with things people can relate to. I hope the music can bring people through a hard time, inspire them and encourage them.

Where next can fans see you perform?

Next I’m performing with daddy on May 7th for the Tribute to Mothers Concert [starting 6 p.m. Holy Sacrament Episcopal Church in Pembroke Pines]. He’s bringing together some great musicians. It’s a lot of fun vibing with them, learning from people who been doing music for so long.

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