• Emily Prescott

The Londoner: Black session musicians matter too, says singer


Many talented black music artists remain as backing vocalists because they “feel they will never have a fair or real opportunity at making it themselves due to the lack of support in our industry,” a south London-based singer says.

Artist Kelli-Leigh, who has been a backing vocalist for Adele and sung on two UK number ones, added on Twitter, “that’s a real sadness and a real issue”.


Worldwide protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter have focused a spotlight on injustices and barriers faced by black and minority ethnic citizens. Now Kelli-Leigh tells the Londoner that lack of crediting “is common and it’s mainly people from my kind of background”. She added that although a variety of session musicians “have just not been credited for the work they have done … it’s mainly been black singers or mixed-race singers”.


However, following Blackout Tuesday and the protests, Kelli-Leigh sounded a positive note, telling us: “I feel optimistic that finally the conversation is being able to be had. I know it’s been an extremely difficult time for all skin colours really having to talk about this. It depends if people remember. We just want a fair opportunity.”

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© 2019 Emily Prescott.