Leonard King, Jr. was born
February 14, 1948 and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He was musically inspired very early in life and received his first phonograph player at age two. "I' ve been told that I used to bother the family record player all the time so my parents bought me my own. It played on 78's until my father converted it to play all three speeds—78, 45, and 33 1.3."
He began his life in music as a singer. His early vocal influences were Jackie Wilson, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, and Chuck Berry. His interest in rhythm patterns began to blossom soon afterwards. During this period many drummers were prominent bandleaders in the U.S. and several of them had popular recordings such as Art Blakey, Gene Krupa, Cozy Cole, Buddy Rich, Max Roach, and Louie Bellson. "I would use anything that was available in our house to make rhythm sounds including spoons, rulers, paint cans, and chairs. Once I started making dents in the chairs then my parents asked me if I wanted to take drum lessons and I said 'yes'." Eventually he learned to sing AND play simultaneously.
The Detroit music scene was very fertile in his youth and Leonard had the opportunity to meet Chico Hamilton, Art Blakey, and Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. and the MG's. He formed a neighborhood band with his two brothers Gregory, and Atiba King that became known as Leonard King and the Soul Messengers and remained together for ten years.
King plays with Kevin Carter and James Carter
He formed his own record company entitled Uuquipleu (yoo-kee-ploo) Records and has recorded several CD's with OOPAPADA
featuring Dr. Prof. Leonard King, guitarist Robert Tye, and organist Chris Codish. Additionally, King has released a CD featuring
the James Carter Organ Trio (under King's leadership) with Carter, Gerard Gibbs, and himself.
Recently King has implemented his "Drum Fun and Vocals, Too" program throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul and other cities in Minnesota, and tours the world regularly with James Carter.
Also he is a co-music director for the Southpaw Isle Steelband and
is featured on the group's most recent CD, "The Music of Astor
Piazzolla Plus Five Composers"