45 Ways Leon Bridges Had A Way Better 2015 Than You Did.
When news first broke on Instagram last Christmas that Leon Bridges had just signed a major label deal with Columbia Records, us little folks back home knew he was headed for big things, although I’m not sure any of us thought it would be so many big things so fast, or that the big things would be, well, so big.
As it turned out, 2015 would be the year of Leon Bridges.
After seven televised performances, getting to share the stage with The Beatles, topping the charts and getting love from just about everyone on the planet, it’s largely impossible to fully comprehend just how magical the year Bridges had for himself really was.
It was pretty fucking huge, to say the least.
In the spirit of trying to document precisely how wild the dude’s ascent was this past year, we’ve put together a little timeline of 45 key moments of Leon Bridges’ last year. In the process, we realized he had a way better year than the rest of us. You’ll see what we mean as you read the below timeline.
What can we say? He deserves it.
December 25, 2014.
What Leon did: Announced he’d just been signed to Columbia Records for a reportedly two-album deal.
What you did: Pretended you really liked those Avengers socks your grandmother got you for Christmas.
December 30, 2014.
What Leon did: Took home the No. 2 spot on our list of the year’s top 100 local songs with “Better Man.”
What you did: Resolved to quit smoking… again.
January 7, 2015.
What Leon did: Debuted an unreleased song called “The River” on an episode of the North Texas Chevy Showcase
What you did: Went to the gym, stayed 20 minutes, said, “Fuck this shit,” and left to get a smoothie.
January 7, 2015.
What Leon did: Was interviewed by British publication NME, which pointed out in the piece that it was his first-ever interview.
What you did: Felt bad about the smoothie, went back to the gym.
January 13, 2015.
What Leon did: Found out he’d made the cut as an official performer at SXSW.
What you did: Bummed a cigarette from a guy at the bar like a failure and picked your bad smoking habit back up.
January 17, 2015.
What Leon did: Caused a stir at Trees as part of King Camel’s Have a Heart benefit show, what was then his highest-profile gig to date.
What you did: Thought you were so clever snapping a color photo of Leon at the show.
February 2, 2015.
What Leon did: Premiered a remixed/remastered version of “Coming Home” via NPR, which said, “This kind of perfection is always relevant… it will take you away in a very right-now way.”
What you did: Something irrelevant, I’m sure.
February 2, 2015.
What Leon did: Was the focus of a Dallas Observer piece that begged us to stop calling him “The Truth.” Hey, he’s good and all, they argued, but let’s tap the breaks a bit, eh?
What you did: Read yet another Dallas Observer list.
February 17, 2015.
What Leon did: Began his first U.S. tour at New York City’s Mercury Lounge, then followed that up with a string of dates opening for Sharon Van Etten.
What you did: Began watching Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl on Netflix.
February 23, 2015.
What Leon did: Premiered “Lisa Sawyer” via Gorilla vs Bear, a song English pop star Jessie Ware had tweeted was her favorite jam.
What you did: Got into an argument with your arch nemesis on Twitter. Felt dirty afterwards.
March 2, 2015.
What Leon did: Premiered his first-ever music video — for “Coming Home” — via The Fader.
What you did: Returned that thing to Target that’s been sitting in your closet for two months, and just in the nick of time before the return policy precluded you from doing so.
March 19, 2015.
What Leon did: Played his first SXSW show, which some folks from Billboard caught and said was surprisingly good, though they weren’t necessarily ready to declare him the winner of anything.
What you did: Waited in line at SXSW to see Leon Bridges, didn’t get in.
March 19, 2015.
What Leon did: Got cock-blocked while trying to get into The Fader Fort as Grantland’s Rembert Browne was watching him get famous in real time.
What you did: Got cock-blocked while trying to get into The Fader Fort.
March 23, 2015.
What Leon did: Was finally declared the winner of SXSW by Billboard, which had since had some time to reflect on it. A bunch of other publications agreed with that assessment.
What you did: Filed your taxes, all by yourself.
March 25, 2015.
What Leon did: Made his television debut by performing “Better Man” during James Corden’s first week hosting The Late Late Show.
What you did: Farted.
April 12, 2015.
What Leon did: Headlined the Dallas Art Fair, causing D Magazine to wonder if he was the next Norah Jones.
What you did: Quit smoking… again.
April 15, 2015.
What Leon did: Tweeted that he was in the studio making some jams with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
What you did: Popped some tags, despite only having $20 in your pocket.
April 19, 2015.
What Leon did: Performed at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony, singing “Dedicated to the One I Love” in honor of The “5” Royales, and then “When a Man Loves a Woman” in honor of the recently deceased Percy Sledge., and capped off the evening’s proceedings by joining both surviving members of The Beatles (plus Beck, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Green Day, Dave Grohl, Karen O and a whole mess of other megastars) onstage for a rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
What you did: Got high with a little help from your friends.
April 29, 2015.
What Leon did: Officially released “The River” as a single.
What you did: Picked up that book you said you were gonna read. Read 11 pages and fell asleep while scrolling through Instagram.
April 30, 2015.
What Leon did: Landed a placement for “The River” in a Beats By Dre commercial that played damn near every commercial break of the NFL Draft.
What you did: Finally finished watching Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl on Netflix.
May 1, 2015.
What Leon did: Got profiled by Texas Monthly, which called him music’s rookie of the year.
What you did: Spent your income tax return on rent.
May 10, 2015.
What Leon did: Opened for Lord Huron at the South Side Music Hall while the two were on tour together. He was good, though, perhaps not “superstar” good quite yet.
What you did: Finally got around to opening up some of that mail that had been piling up on the kitchen table.
June 1, 2015.
What Leon did: Landed another high-profile placement, this time having “Coming Home” in an iPhone 6 commercial.
What you did: Cracked your third iPhone screen of the year, goddammit.
June 20, 2015
What Leon did: Performed a pair of sold-out release shows at Fort Worth’s 200-capacity Scat Lounge to roomfuls of people that figured it’d be the last time to ever catch him playing in such an intimate space.
What you did: Bugged that friend of a friend of a friend that claimed he was tight with Leon about getting on “the list.”
June 22, 2015.
What Leon did: Played The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, thus making his second late-night television appearance before his debut album was even released.
What you did: Took out the trash, which was starting to smell bad.
June 23, 2015.
What Leon did: Got profiled in Vogue, which said that not only is Leon’s music was hot, but so is his fashion sense.
What you did: Went to the DMV, looked terrible in your new driver’s license photo.
July 11, 2015.
What Leon did: Saw his debut LP, Coming Home, hit No. 6 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of sales, and reach No. 1 on the R&B chart.
What you did: Thought you saw Omar Epps at the bar, but it was actually Mekhi Phifer.
July 29, 2015.
What Leon did: Got caught busking on the streets of Deep Ellum by D Magazine after keeping it real and stuff.
What you did: Refused to give any change to that damn guitar playing bum you passed on the way to the bar.
August 5, 2015.
What Leon did: Appeared on Conan, turning in his third late-night performance in five months.
What you did: Showed up late for work for the third time in five weeks.
September 1, 2015.
What Leon did: Dropped a somewhat unnecessary surprise new mixtape that saw seven cuts from his debut LP reworked by Brooklyn DJ Mick (formerly Mick Boogie), complete with UGK and Slim Thug samples, among others. It showed off a different side of the singer, who had been frequently pegged as a one-trick pony, which is to say he sounds just as glorious doing more modern R&B and as he does biting Sam Cooke.
What you did: Dropped some kids off at the pool.
September 8, 2015.
What Leon did: Awed NPR’s Bob Boilen with a Tiny Desk Concert. Said Boilen of the performance: “We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There’s purity in his soulful voice that’s unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop.”
What you did: Worked in your boring office at your boring desk, which didn’t even have any bands playing on it.
September 15, 2015.
What Leon did: After a number of glowing write-ups, NPR did an about-face on Leon, over-analyzing every move the man’s ever made in a hatchet piece that attempted to answer the question, “Do we even need new old soul music?” The answer? If you like it, sure. If not, you should probably just move on.
What you did: Posted that NPR article about Leon Bridges to your Facebook wall saying you were just “saving it for later,” even though you never actually got around to reading it like you promised.
September 26, 2015.
What Leon did: Played London’s Roundhouse with Pharrell as part of the Apple Music Festival.
What you did: Canceled your free trial Tidal subscription for a free trial Apple Music subscription.
October 2, 2015.
What Leon did: Killed it with his ACL performance, causing the Austin Chronicle to write: “The Ft. Worth soulman didn’t so much electrify the sea of likely first-timer witnesses on one of the Festival’s pair of main stages as flat-out hypnotize them.”
What you did: Spent 36 minutes looking for the right movie to watch on Netflix. Added 17 movies to your queue, none of which you’ve yet watched even two months later.
October 19, 2015.
What Leon did: Premiered via Variety “So Long,” a song he wrote for the closing credits of Will Smith’s Concussion movie.
What you did: Watched a bunch of those Buzzfeed videos on Facebook.
November 14, 2015.
What Leon did: Turned in a flawless, sold-out performance at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre.
What you did: Got FOMO when you missed out tickets to the Leon Bridges show.
November 18, 2015.
What Leon did: Performed with Neil Young, Paul Simon and Willie Nelson at Willie’s Gershwin Prize presentation.
What you did: Got excited about the fact that Tony Romo would return from his injury and play in the next game because the 2-7 Cowboys were definitely ready to make a playoff run.
November 20, 2015.
What Leon did: Got called “The Truth” by Will Friggin’ Smith, who apparently didn’t get the Dallas Observer memo.
What you did: High-fived a buddy, yelling about how you were right about that whole “The Truth” thing all along.
November 22-23, 2015.
What Leon did: Debuted “Kevin,” that new song he recorded with Macklemore, during a performance at the American Music Awards, and premiered the recorded version the next day via NPR.
What you did: A whole bunch of prescription drugs.
December 5, 2015.
What Leon did: Live from New York, he made his fourth late-night TV appearance of the year by appearing on SNL, where he dabbed.
What you did: Added “knocker stuff” to your permanent lexicon.
December 7, 2015.
What Leon did: Did a little dance after finding out Coming Home would go up against D’Angelo’s Black Messiah at next year’s Grammy’s.
What you did: Did a little dance when you managed to get out of jury duty.
December 9, 2015.
What Leon did: Was included on a list of artists for whom Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli said he’d be willing to buy private albums.
What you did: Somehow still held out hopes of a Cowboys playoff run after that win over the Redskins.
December 10, 2015.
What Leon did: Earned the No. 3 spot in Newsweek‘s albums of the year list, one of many year-end lists the album appears on.
What you did: Almost remembered to grab every item on your grocery list. Maybe next time!
December 18, 2015.
What Leon did: Made yet another late-night television appearance by performing a couple more songs, including a Sam Cooke cover, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to nearly complete the late-night cycle. (It’s your move, Seth Meyers.)
What you did: Finally remembered to call your grandmother and thank her for those socks she got you last year.
December 21, 2015.
What Leon did: Called out all the haters back home in a Rolling Stone profile.
What you did: Got called out for being a hater by Leon “Bad Motherfucker” Bridges.
H. Drew Blackburn contributed numerous jokes to this piece.