Writer Spotlight: Leon Haywood

Funk, R&B and soul sensation Leon Haywood was an American singer, songwriter and record producer. He rose to fame in the 70s with the seductive lyrics and hypnotic groove of his sensual song “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You” (1975). Originally reaching No.15 in the US Pop Charts and No.7 in the US R&B Charts, the song has since been sampled in an incredible 50 songs by a range of popular artists including worldwide superstars Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey.

Fun fact: the 2010 comedy film Date Night starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell famously synced the Haywood classic in a scene that showed Mark Wahlberg answering the door with his top off to Fey’s delight! The instrumental version of the song can be heard in the background. Click here to watch

In the 80s, Haywood wrote and produced a bass-heavy R&B track for singer Carl Carlton that, when released in ’81, became the smash hit “She’s A Bad Mama Jama”, spending an impressive 8 weeks at No. 2 in the US Billboard Soul Singles chart, only being pipped to the post by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ song “Endless Love”.

After a total of 21 weeks in the American charts it became a gold record and is now a staple on soundtracks as well as one of the most sampled songs in rap and hip hop music to date. The track was so successful that it earned Carlton the Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

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