"Coming Home" Singer Leon Bridges Just Curated the Perfect Spotify Playlist for Your Wedding
You know a wedding playlist is legit when singer-songwriter Leon Bridges signs off on it. That's right, Bridges and Columbia Records teamed up with Spotify and The Knot to curate the most romantic wedding playlist you'll want to dance to all night long.
The R&B singer, whose Grammy-nominated debut album gave us first-dance-worthy hits like "River" and "Coming Home," added his favorite romantic tunes to Spotify's Wedding Bells playlist. And not to be dramatic or anything, but this playlist of wedding tunes might be our favorite one yet.
Bridges's picks for the Wedding Bells playlist are the ideal mix of both past and present hits (think, "P.Y.T.," by Michael Jackson and "Best Part," by up-and-comer Daniel Caesar featuring H.E.R.)
Listen to the full Wedding Bells playlist below, then read our exclusive interview with Bridges, where he shares his ideal reception playlist, what tunes make his do-not-play list, and the stories behind his hits "River" and "Beyond."
With "River" becoming more well-known after it was featured on HBO's Big Little Lies, what do you think of the uptick of people choosing it for their first dance song?
I love it. We've had so many special moments with "River"—I got to perform it on Saturday Night Live, the video was nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Video and then that Big Little Lies moment. Early on, when I first put my album out and was touring smaller venues, Reese Witherspoon posted a picture of my album cover to her Instagram and said she was loving it. I couldn't believe this powerful woman was listening to my album and took time out of her day to do that. I'm super grateful for her support.
"River" was a song I wrote when I was struggling. I was dreaming of becoming a working musician and at the time, it just seemed so far away. I was working two kitchen jobs, trying to support myself and help my mom. "River" was about wanting to be a better person, about wanting to be cleansed and refreshed and about believing. Rivers are a staple in gospel music; they symbolize salvation—there's always hope at the end of the tunnel.
I think people are drawn to it because it has emotion in it: wanting to love and be loved, to work through the struggle, to be hopeful. I feel honored that my music is part of people's lives. The idea that couples would choose my music to be part of what is one of their major life milestones is really cool. There are millions of songs out there—if people like a song enough to share it with their friends and family, and include it as part of the soundtrack of their lives, that's the dream.
True story, I was in Los Angeles having breakfast and the waiter told me I had no bill because someone had already paid it. The woman who paid it was a wedding planner who said she had many couples walk down the aisle or have their first dance to my music, and she wanted to say thanks—it was really dope.
You said "Beyond" is your favorite song on your new album Good Thing. What makes it the perfect wedding song?
My crew—Niles City Sound—and I went to work with Ricky Reed in Los Angeles while making Good Thing. We'd sit around jamming and writing all day, and I knew "Beyond" was going to be special when we were workshopping it. It's about me telling my mom I've met the one and that I'm in love, and also marveling at how great love is and how wonderful this person is. It's all those emotions when you're enchanted and excited. It's fitting for a wedding—the day when you look at your person and get to say, 'Wow, I love you, and we're going to spend our lives together.' It's also uptempo and modern, but sweet enough so it won't disappoint your parents.
What's your favorite wedding reception song?
String quartets are nice, but I prefer when weddings have a big dance party. I'm a trained dancer so I want to hear music that gets you moving. You can't go wrong with Ginuwine and Usher. Everybody loves R&B and the best R&B songs are all about love. The more people can sing along together and lose their inhibitions on a dance floor, the more fun everyone will have. I also like Drake, Young Thug, Migos and Lil Baby for the after-party. The later the night, the wilder the playlist should be.
What's your least favorite wedding reception song?
I'm not into the "Funky Chicken" or the "Hokey Pokey." There's no need for either of those songs.
What's the top quality couples should look for in their wedding band or DJ?
Look for someone who understands the music you love or has good ideas about music that are tailored to you. Just because someone is the "best" DJ or band in town doesn't mean they're the best for you. Be honest about what you like, what you don't like, what playlists you listen to and what radio stations you like. The more info you give, the better. And make your own playlist as a backup.