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Artist: Leon Bridges

From: Fort Worth

Online: Artist website; official SXSW page

SXSW showcase: TBA; also at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul Jan. 30-31

About the artist

Leon Bridges / Photo by Riley Ralmuto

“It’s like, damn, every year since I started playing guitar, something better happens,” Leon Bridges modestly remarked to his hometown paper Fort Worth Weekly last month in discussing his rise from open-mic upstart to Texas music’s new it-kid.

When the 25-year-old classic soul singer and songwriter recorded a few songs with Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of Austin band White Denim last year, he could not have imagined that two of the tracks would soon attract more than a million listens on SoundCloud in just three months. The posted versions of “Coming Home” and “Better Man” are officially listed as demos, but there’s a warmth and magic to both tracks that suggests a timeless quality, as if Bridges could be singing these songs 50 years ago, or 50 years from now.

White Denim’s management also took on Bridges as a client, and soon he had a record deal with Columbia for a debut due out later this year. If Bridges feels like each year has been better than the last, he ain’t seen nothing yet given how his 2015 appears to be shaping up.

Could share a bill with: Raphael Saadiq, Patty Griffin, Smokey Robinson, Norah Jones