Leo Napier's new EP, The Philly Gritz, showcases his latest metamorphosis in its experimental and soul-infused sound.

Soul artist Leo Orlando Napier has been a music fanatic his whole life, but it wasn’t until seven months ago, when he was nearly pronounced dead, that he realised how much vigour music gave him. Now, seven months into recovery from a serious heart infection, he has crafted a vivid five-track EP, The Philly Gritz. Grounded by his omnipotent, smokey vocals, the EP takes listeners on a journey through his life, expressed through rich sonic experimentation.


With a sprawling map of influences, this genre-defying project ebbs through soul, funk, gospel, hip-hop, and electro-pop notes. The Philly Gritz is a space where Leo opens up about the existentialism and self-reflection he has experienced over the past year. His second chance at life has sparked an undeniable positivity; the fourth track, ‘Music & Love’, takes on an almost celestial tone, with deep soulful vocals contrasted by a funk-infused cadence, solidifying his elevated take on life.


Leo’s time spent in the belly of the New York music scene during its ’10s heyday reinforced his love of music and opened doors for collaboration with music legends like Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon. The final track on the EP, ‘Get Back Up,’ is a paradoxically upbeat funk throwback with sleek production, marking the resurrection of his passions. On the track, Leo tells us: “I was predicting my own downfall when I wrote ‘Get Back Up.’ Then I went about implementing it. Eventually, I did get back up, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m Glad I wrote that chorus with a happy ending.”

Listen to The Philly Gritz now: