press photo of Leon Timbo
Jace Kartye

Leon Timbo's 'Galaxy' is About the Powerful 'Forever Love' of Fatherhood [Interview]

Last year, singer-songwriter Leon Timbo released his debut Americana album Lovers and Fools, a stunning, soul-searching album that examined grief, healing and relationships.

Timbo's latest release, "Galaxy," continues that search by celebrating how the love for — and from — his daughters has saved him.

"I am unapologetically a girl dad. My daughters have saved my heart and my definition of love," Timbo says in a press statement. "In the 'We Were' song  I referenced my daughters' love making me feel like Superman. In light of the complexities of life and relationships, success and failure, their love has found me at my worst. I can't 'undad' myself and sometimes I wish i could because they deserve better. So I stand here devoting this song to my forever love affair with my girls."

Timbo, who co-wrote "Galaxy" with Alex Marion, says the song expresses how his role as a father has changed him for the better.

"On the first EP Lovers and Fools, I wrote a song and it was talking about my story with my father and my mother and the process of that. 'Galaxy' was kind of the second chapter of that space," Timbo tells Wide Open Country. "I kind of spoke to what I was missing in my relationship with my parents and how that kind of brought me to be the man that I am. Then, in giving that love, however damaged and tampered it was, to my daughters and how that's been my world, 'Galaxy' really speaks to the fact that, the older you get as a parent, the more you realize that the greatest gift to your life are the people you're able to pour [love] into...or just give extensions of yourself to."

Lovers and Fools

Timbo grew up in in Jacksonville, Fla., the son of two pastors. Inspired by artists such as James Taylor, Bill Withers and Andraé Crouch, Timbo began singing and playing guitar at 17. Though he grew up surrounded by gospel music, Timbo says he felt drawn to telling different stories about the human experience — stories of pain and personal introspection that didn't always have a clear-cut, positive ending.

"I think gospel music —my faith kind of made it home, but I didn't fit those years ago when I picked up the guitar and wanted to express songs about pain and process," Timbo says. "I needed a space to understand myself in wanting to tell those stories, but I needed a genre and a context that would accept it. Gospel music gave me a home and then it told me that there was more to me than just that space. So indirectly, it definitely did speak to my identity.  I still sneak into a gospel song every now and then because you never leave that. You never leave home. I think that faith is always in your heart. You just find different ways to express it."

Timbo combined his love for country, vintage soul, gospel, folk and R&B to create his debut Americana album, Lovers and Fools.

"I saw Americana as a place that I didn't have to hide any part of me if I wanted to just be. Without jumping any hoops...I just wanted to be," Timbo says. "I know Americana is evolving itself as well. I think being a person of color, it has shown me a lot of opportunity and a lot of curiousity. Americana says, 'Okay, yeah, bring your soul, bring your gospel, bring your story. Cuss a little bit if you want to. Just tell your truth and leave it on the table.' And Americana gave me the freedom to do that."

Timbo is currently working on new music, including a re-imagining of a Luther Vandross- penned song, "Never Too Much. ("[It's] a classic Soul song for the purpose of bringing the prime story of the song to life for a new audience and a reintroduction of its greatness to the old," Timbo says.)

"Lovers and Fools part two is already done...I'm expressing a lot more pain and I feel a lot better about being honest in those respects. I speak to my country. I speak to my relationships that are dear that I processed through. I speak to myself, the man that I am today," Timbo says. "I started writing my first full Americana album. I've done some writing with Ron Pope. I've done some writing with Michael Trotter from The War and Treaty. I'm excited about telling my story in what I call a bare-bones, honest approach. So it's going to be just a simplified expression of my heart."

For more information on Leon Timbo, visit his official website.