Formed in Baytown, Texas, in 2005 Leeland is headed up by lead singer, guitarist, and frontman, Leeland Mooring, keyboard player/vocalist Jack Mooring, guitarist Austin Tirado, bass player Jake Holtz, and drummer Mike Smith. The group released its debut, Sound of Melodies, on Essential Records in 2006.
“The heartbeat of Sound of Melodies is the heartbeat of our ministry," states lead singer and guitarist Leedland. "A lot of the songs came out of prayer, so while trying to stay fresh musically, we endeavored to match the music with an intensity for seeking after God. The main purpose of the album is to inspire those who listen, both young and old, to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“What people hear on the record is five young guys that have hearts to glorify God,” says Leeland’s brother Jack, who is also a youth minister. “That’s what it’s all about for us: Declaring to God and to people how amazing He is.” Youth services at the Baytown, Texas “Celebration of Life” church where the band formed, have recently been moved from Thursday nights to Sunday nights in order for Jack to be back in town from the road to lead the service.
Passionate, progressive and worshipful are just a few adjectives to describe the band Leeland, and the heart behind its sophomore album, Opposite Way (2008). Not only does the GRAMMY and four-time Dove Award nominated band live up to the buzz from Christian music's most influential artists (including Michael W. Smith, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin and Switchfoot to name a few), but the Baytown, Texas-bred five piece exceeds expectations through eleven gems of prayerful power, and life-changing substance.
"A major theme on our new album is to encourage our generation to live passionately for the Lord, even when it means going the 'opposite way' of the world," muses front man Leeland Mooring, (also a respected songwriter outside of the band, who prominently contributed to Michael W. Smith's recent album, Stand). "It's OK to be different. It's OK to 'live out loud' for God. Our goal is to be a creative outlet, helping to raise up a new generation of worshippers who do whatever it takes to make that 'opposite way' a reality in their lives."
The band's age-range is 19-24 years old, giving them an ability to speak to high school and college age listeners, not to mention adults of all associations interested in artful musical expressions and a spirit of revitalization. On Opposite Way, the gang builds upon the astute musical influences first addressed on 2006's Sound of Melodies, including Travis, Coldplay, David Gray and U2, while tapping into its original blend of dynamic ebbs and flows. Yet that complexity is merely the initial platform for a more involved message, which centers on witnessing to the world at large.
"The underlying theme is to act out in faith and reach out to the world," the front man continues. "It's all about keeping your eyes open and looking for opportunities, whether coming across a lady at the store who looks stressed out and praying for her, or reaching out to a homeless person on the side of the street. When we worship, we feel the presence of God in a powerful way, but one of the biggest ways you can encounter Him is through acting out in faith on a daily basis, and living out the love of Jesus."