Leon Bridges' first strides as a retro-soul artist prompted comparisons to R&B legends like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. A singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Bridges performed in and around Fort Worth, Texas and stirred up music industry interest with analog recordings, produced by Justin Block and Austin Jenkins of White Denim, which were uploaded to his Soundcloud page. Signed to major-label Columbia, his first singles — including a rich ballad written about his mother — appeared in February 2015 with a sound that evoked mid- to late-'60s soul. The following month, Bridges caught more attention with a performance at the South by Southwest Festival, roughly 200 miles south of his home base. His debut album was expected later in the year.