Leeland is an American Christian rock band from Baytown, Texas. The band was formed in 2004, although lead singer Leeland Mooring had been writing songs beforehand. Leeland is comprised of Leeland Mooring (lead vocals, guitar), Jack Mooring (backing vocals, keyboard), Matt Campbell (guitar), Jake Holtz (bass) and Mike Smith (drums). The band's original line-up included Jeremiah Wood, but he left the band in late 2006, and was replaced by guitarist Matt Campbell in late spring of 2007. Leeland has released two studio albums, and has received a Grammy Award nomination and two Dove Award nominations for their debut album Sound of Melodies (2006).
The band name "Leeland" is a usage of lead singer Leeland Mooring's first name.
Lead singer Leeland Mooring wrote his first song "Shine" at the age of 11. After having a successful performance of the song at a church in Illinois, the Mooring family began touring the United States. When he was 14, Mooring entered into Embassy Music’s Ultimate Talent Search contest in Nashville, Tennessee, where he became a finalist in the songwriting and artist divisions. Although he did not win the competition, one of the contest's judges, Kent Coley, now the band's manager, took interest in the young teen. A year later, Eddie DeGarmo, President of EMI CMG Publishing, also was interested in Mooring, and the two signed a songwriting contract on EMI/Capitol Music Group. Less than a year later, Leeland Mooring, his older brother Jack Mooring, their cousin Jake Holtz, and friends Jeremiah Wood and Mike Smith, who the Moorings had known for several years, officially signed as a band onto their record label Essential Records, a subsidiary of Sony BMG's Provident Label Group. The five members began practicing at night in their church's building after youth group, which doubled as a funeral home. Leeland Mooring's first name was used as the band's name because the members said that "it sounded cool".
Leeland began recording for their debut release, Sound of Melodies, in 2005, with Matt Bronleewe, Marc Byrd, and Steve Hindalong producing the album. It was released in the USA on August 15, 2006. The album At the 49th Grammy Awards on December 7, 2006, the album was nominated for "Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album". In 2007 the band received five GMA Dove Award nominations, including "New Artist of the Year and two nominations for their debut album Sound of Melodies. The album was also released in Japan on March 21, 2007, with the title song "Sound of Melodies" peaking at #6 on the general Japan radio chart.
The band has worked closely with Christian music legend Michael W. Smith. Smith has said that "Leeland is the best thing I have heard in a long, long time". Leeland Mooring co-wrote six songs on Smith's latest album, Stand, and wrote one song by himself. Later on, Jack Mooring married Smith's daughter Whitney Smith-Mooring on June 1, 2007.
After being with Leeland for four years, Jeremiah Wood left the band in October 2006 to pursue other endeavors. Although never an official member, Austin Tirado was hired on as a temporary guitar player until February 2007. In February, Matt Campbell was also originally hired as a temporary guitarist for three months, however he was added as an official band member after those three months.
The band's song "Tears of the Saints" from their debut album received two Dove Award nominations in 2008. Also, lead singer Leeland Mooring was nominated for "Songwriter of the Year" and co-writer of the song "Be Lifted High" with Michael W. Smith.
Their song "Brighter Days" from the Opposite Way album was featured in the June 22, 2008 episode of the television show Army Wives. The show's music supervisor Frankie Pine said, "We thought the use of 'Brighter Days' in this episode of Army Wives was moving, and was the perfect fit for what we were looking for".
Their first album, Sound of Melodies, has been described as a "sometimes worshipful, always melodic". Leeland's style moved in a more rock direction with their second album Opposite Way. Allmusic reviewer Jared Johnson noted that the band "cemented their sound by creating electrifying walls of guitar" with their second release, having the same "energetic and melodic" sound as their first album.
|US Billboard 200||US Heatseekers||US Top Independent Albums||Top Christian albums|
|2006||Sound of Melodies||Essential||#2||#14|
|Year||Title||Peak Chart Positions||Album|
|2006||"Sound of Melodies"||Sound of Melodies|
|"Tears of the Saints"|
|"Yes You Have"|
|"Count Me In"||#10 on CHR Radio (March 5, 2008)||Opposite Way|