"Singer Leela James holds the torch high for soul music with her new album," writes essence.com in its review of "Thought U Knew". According to the website, the album serves as a reminder that R&B is far from dead, and that the "Goddaughter of Soul" still deserves her title.
"One of the consistently top-notch artists in modern soul who continues to elevate her game" - Soul Bounce "Vital, modern soul" - Chicago Reader
Regarding the song "Right Back In It," which is part of the album, she says, "This song emphasizes the importance of getting back to yourself, getting back to love, and getting back to what makes you feel good." About her songwriting in general, James says, "Life inspires me!"
"She has Tina Turner in her, she has Betty Lavette" - Rex Ridenout, songwriter
Leela James is an R&B powerhouse known for her soulful yet deeply impactful performances. Regarding her status as the "Goddaughter of Soul," James herself says, "I believe I've been able to maintain this status by being soulful and true to who I am."
Originally, it was Etta James who held the honorary title, and after her passing, James made the album "Loving you More…In the Spirit of Etta James." In a review on Singersroom, it states: "When a young artist can ignite the spark in an older predecessor's music in their own creative way and through the use of diverse genres, it's commendable."
"Leela James is one of the few soul singers from the southern states who can still deliver hits" - The Rolling Stone