'80s star Leee John at Broadway

WHETHER it s belting out the hits, working on cutting-edge dance music or wowing America with his jazz album, Imagination star Leee John is still loving the music and lights, writes MATT TROLLOPE. Leee performs a live set of Imagination anthems at The Bro

WHETHER it's belting out the hits, working on cutting-edge dance music or wowing America with his jazz album, Imagination star Leee John is still loving the music and lights, writes MATT TROLLOPE.

Leee performs a live set of Imagination anthems at The Broadway theatre, Barking on Saturday, February 13 on the back of Mariah Carey reworking one of his biggest tracks, Just An Illusion, for her last album, Can I Get Your Number?

When I caught up with him he joked that the royalties from the Carey track "was paying my tax bill and keeping me in rough diamonds".

But it's hard to pin the singer down on one bit of his busy life, and if you go to his website it's difficult to know where to start.


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Leee is as passionate about his work with SOS Children, an international orphan charity, or Flashback, a documentary he's working on about the British black music scene of the '70s and '80s that he was so much a part of.

And he still regularly works with leading house and electro producers.

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He explained: "The Imagination stuff is still hugely popular, and it never ceases to amaze me what corners of the world I still get fan mail from.

"And the success of the Feel My Soul jazz project was really fulfilling too."

Imagination tours of France, Italy and Brazil are still frequent, and the Broadway show is a great chance to see Leee perform all his hits closer to home.

He first burst on to the British music scene in his early 20s in 1981, with Imagination's debut album, Body Talk, which only had seven tracks, but included five hits - an unprecedented achievement to this day.

As well as the title cut, Flashback, So Good, So Right, In And Out Of Love and Burning Up were all chart and club hits, and the band quickly followed those successes with a second album in 1982 called In The Heat Of The Night, which most notably included Just An Illusion, Changes and Music And Lights.

Rarely has such an impressive body of work been delivered in such a short space of time, and it's a collection of British soul and funk music which just seems to get better with time.

Leee, who claims "not to do ages, just champagne", was born in Hackney and is now based in west London. He says: "I've never sung a song that I haven't written, and I'm extremely proud of that."

And this guy has written and sung some truly great songs!

For ticket availability and details go to www.thebroadwaybarking,com or www.leeejohn.com.

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