Adryon de Léon's Soul Journey
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because she’s one more reason to stop stereotyping admins.
By Carl Pettit
Adryon de León’s voice sizzles with soul, and a fair amount of attitude, yet still clings to a sweeter timbre beneath all that vocal bravado. When she bares her soul for a song, you can be sure that the world of funk music is very much alive — and maybe even itching for a fight. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the track “Don’t Push Your Luck,” which she recorded with the band Orgone.
Raised in an artists’ community in Ojai, a town about 80 miles outside Los Angeles, de León began performing with church choirs when she was only 4 or 5. Although she demonstrated vocal talent early on, belting out jazz and soul wasn’t her initial career path as an adult. What she really dug, in fact, was … office management. As unglamorous as that might sound, the singer confesses she took great pleasure in (and was good at) working as an administrative professional. Even now, when she’s on tour with Orgone, de León delights in the nitty-gritty of putting together set lists and band travel arrangements on Excel spreadsheets, which she says helps “ground her.”
With encouragement from her boyfriend — now husband — Luke, de León transitioned from office worker to professional singer. She cut her chops in L.A. with bands like Upstart, figuring out how to “interact with people” and work a crowd. She also cranked out jazz favorites as a featured vocalist at Disneyland, and got to “hang out with Goofy” on a regular basis. Whether working on her various musical projects or putting together a killer cover version of Nikka Costa’s “Nylons in a Rip” for a competition (an artist de León admits she’s “kind of obsessed with”), this vocal powerhouse kept pushing for more opportunities to sing. The hard work eventually paid off when Dan Hastie, Orgone’s keyboardist, stumbled across a video of her singing with Upstart. He was so taken with her sound, he sent her an email and asked if she’d like to join Orgone as its lead singer, sight unseen.
At first, de León wasn’t sure what to make of the offer. She wasn’t all that familiar with the band — and suddenly being invited to join, and then hit the road with, a bunch of guys she didn’t know made her a little uneasy. Thanks to a push to follow up with Hastie from, oddly enough, the DJ at her wedding, de León decided to go for it, and she began gigging with the funk outfit.
She lent her voice to the band’s new album, Beyond the Sun, as well as her composing skills, co-writing roughly half the tracks. While Danny Chaimson — a longtime friend of the group — penned the makes-you-want-to-dance “Don’t Push Your Luck,” de León’s work ethic, not to mention her incredible vocal presence, stamps the tune with a searing soul vibe all her own.