Leela James has been on the scene for a number of years, racking up awards and mid-sized hits without quite managing to achieve household name status. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether her upcoming album Fall for You will bring her the crossover success she deserves, but based on the title track, it seems like she might finally have a pretty good shot.
Smartly understated, “Fall for You” uses a sweetly mournful melody and sparse, slow-building arrangement to highlight James’ most powerful weapon — her attention-getting vocals — without ever being excessively showy about it. As a result, the song shines with a level of warmth and vulnerability you don’t often hear these days; it doesn’t sound like a single so much as it sounds like one half of a conversation, and one that leaves you wanting to hear more of what James has to say. Keep an ear out for Fall for You, due July 8.