Lambeth’s Leo the Lion aims to inspire a generation through new music academy


The Voice star wants to give back to the community.


By Rebecca Taylor

The Voice star Leo the Lion has announced plans to open an academy in Lambeth to help young singers break into the industry.

The ex-Streets star, real name Leo Ihenacho, plans to give back to the borough which has inspired his writing for many years.

“The great thing about Lambeth is that it’s real, it’s down to earth,” he said.

“You step out of your house and are inspired by all the different cultures – it definitely helps with creativity.

“It inspired my album Big Trouble in London.”

And that creativity will be on tap for other youngsters in Lambeth who have dreams of making it in the music industry.    

Leo says his academy will be a ‘one-stop shop’ for artists, offering audition training and styling to help them become a full music package.

Leo became one of Kylie’s hopefuls on The Voice this year, after he had to make the difficult choice between Tom Jones and Ms Minogue.

His audition, where he performed ‘Holding Back the Years’ had the judges fighting over him, something he said was ‘pretty surreal’.

They were really passionate about me coming on their teams – at one stage, they were both holding each other’s hands in the hope I would pick them.

“But the passion Kylie showed was so immense there was no way I could say no. Plus, it’s Kylie! I’m thinking maybe we could do a duet…”

Leo has drawn attention from Streatham MP and shadow cabinet member Chuka Umunna too, who tweeted  his support as the star auditioned.

@iAMLeoTheLion tore it up on @BBCTheVoiceUK tonight!! – superb and done us all so proud # justsayin # Streatham ”

Leo was attracted to the show because of its focus on talent over stories.

He said: “I really love the concept as you are being judged purely on your voice and nothing else. It’s basically all about the talent.

“Doing this show gives me the opportunity to showcase my talents to a huge audience, something every artist wants.

“This is a show that gives you that opportunity and which focuses more on the talent than sob stories.”

Leo will have stiff competition from the rest of the Voice contestants, but says he is focussed on being the best he can be.

“And if anyone is a threat, I will lock them in the dressing room!”

Photo courtesy of TheLionRawTV, with thanks.

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