Sources: The Straits Times – By Gurveen Kaur
When the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, told a then 10-year-old Leandra Leandra that she sounded just like him and would definitely become a singer after listening to her belt out two of his songs, she took heed.
The soulful crooner, whose real name is Leandra Gfrerer, says: “When he said those words to me, it became all the more concrete that singing was what I was supposed to do.”
A relative who was in the music business had arranged for the meeting and she sang Ben and You Are Not Alone to the star after his concert here in 1996.
The raspy-voiced 28-year-old, whose father is African-American and mother is Dutch-Eurasian, has been in and out of the local music scene since she first started performing at the age of three.
At age 17, she was one of the top five finalists in the first season of Singapore Idol but she felt she was “too young for the competition although it was a good experience”.
Since then, she has put out three singles on iTunes and sung at private events and music venues.
She is married and has a three-year-old boy.
After a four-year hiatus, during which she stayed with relatives in California and Austria, she returned to Singapore last September, re-energised and pumped to move her music career into high gear.
She performed at the Singapore International Jazz Festival, or SingJazz, in March and will be singing in a concert, La Vie En Rose, at the end of the month.
To celebrate 100 years since the birth of French singer Edith Piaf, theatre company Sing’theatre is holding a 90-minute musical journey through contemporary interpretations of her songs, including the 1946 hit, La Vie En Rose.
Leandra will be joined by actors Lim Kay Siu and Sebastian Tan, jazz singer Rani Singam and foreign names, including Cirque du Soleil vocalist L.A. Benjamin.
This is a turning point in her career, she says. She performs at SingJazz Club with her band once a month and describes her style as a mix of Motown, rock ‘n’ roll and soul.
She says: “Music is my life and this is me coming out as a more mature and self-assured entertainer.”
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