ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Leigh Jones will entertain and visit with members of Warrior Transition Units and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers May 6 at the Fort Belvoir Community Center.

The Army Entertainment Division-backed meet and greet for photographs and autographs is set for 9:15-10:15 a.m., followed by Jones' performance.

"I'll stay there for as long as they want," she said. "That's something that's fun for me to do. We'll just have fun."

She will meet with local military commanders at 11 a.m., followed by another meet and greet open to all Soldiers at the Fort Belvoir dining facility from 11:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.

"I'm excited," Jones said. "It's absolutely incredible just to give back anything - a little bit of entertainment, a little bit of fun, just something to help these guys out. They've done such an incredible job fighting for our country, so this is really, really exciting."

Jones will be in town for May 5 shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Blues Alley in Washington. Having previously performed with Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, John Legend and Eric Benet, she will be accompanied on this solo tour by her manager, Kerry Gordy, son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

A third D.C. performance has been added May 6 at 8 p.m. at Station 9, in conjunction with WHUR, Howard University's radio station. Military personnel with a valid identification card will be admitted to that $25 show for $10, said Rob Meeko, marketing director for Kerry Gordy Enterprises.

"Music in My Soul," featuring the single "Free Fall," is the debut album for Jones, whose jazz and R&B flair create a distinct retro sound that is sultry, sexy and insightful. Her wide-ranging musical influences range from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Marvin Gaye to D'Angelo, Jill Scott and Joss Stone.

Born and raised in North Hollywood, Jones was introduced to music at a very early age.

"My grandpa used to play in a military band when he was younger," Jones said. "He played the trumpet. I come from a family of entertainers, and we love to support.

"My dad taught voice lessons, as well as being a studio singer singing backup for Frank Sinatra and Natalie Cole, among many others. My mother told me I would hum along with the scales, which I could hear in the next room, and would sing myself to sleep. This was all before I was able to talk."

Years later, Jones became known as "the little white girl with the big soulful voice" and enrolled in Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

Jones won over Gordy, a former executive producer for Motown, Paisley Park and Warner Bros. Records, at first sight.

"In my initial meeting with Leigh, she was so cool, intelligent, attractive and talented, that I felt excited and privileged to have the opportunity to be involved with someone I believed could make a significant impact in the music industry," Kerry Gordy said. "Her qualifications have far surpassed my expectations."

Berry Gordy seconded that sentiment.

"Throughout my career I have been blessed to discover many great musical talents," he said. "I feel Leigh Jones is destined to be one of the next great stars. She can do it all - pop, R&B, jazz and blues. She's awesome."

Smooth jazz giant Wayman Tisdale collaborated with Jones to put a contemporary spin on the DeBarge classic "All This Love." Songwriting legend Bruce Fisher, composer of "You Are So Beautiful," worked with Jones on nearly half the songs on her debut album.

Getting Jones to more installations to entertain Soldiers is in the discussion stage, along with talks about the possibility of a New Year's Eve appearance in Japan.

"I heard Kerry mention something about that," Jones said. "I'm totally up for it. I love the thought of all this. I just can't wait. I'm so excited."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16