Leah LaBelle Vladowski (September 8, 1986 – January 31, 2018), known professionally as Leah LaBelle, was a Canadian-born American R&B singer, signed to Epic Records/So So Def Recordings. LaBelle was the twelfth place finalist on the third season of American Idol, as the wild card selection of Paula Abdul. In April of 2012 she was reportedly recording her debut studio album and a single was released. She also gained popularity and a large following by posting cover videos on YouTube for several years.
She was born Leah LaBelle Vladowski on September 8, 1986 in, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the only child of Troshan and Anastasia Vladowski. Troshan and Anastasia, musicians and immigrants to the United States, defected from communist Bulgaria during a tour of Western Europe in 1979 with the Bulgarian pop music groups Srebyrnite grivni and Tonika. LaBelle graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington in 2005 and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. LaBelle began singing and dancing publicly in 1990 but marked 1993 as the start of her pursuit of a music career. In 1997 she won the Washington State Pre-teen Miss American Coed Pageant Talent Competition (run by Steve and Kathleen Mayes, who are now directors of National American Miss) singing “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” and was first runner-up in Talent at the National Pageant. In 1998, she joined Total Experience Gospel Choir and the Langston Hughes musical, Black Nativity over the following five years. In 2000, LaBelle was part of the WAM Network children’s reality show, Caught in the Middle and continued on the show for two seasons. In 2002, LaBelle won the Grand Prize at KUBE 93.3 Summer Jam Idol and was the opening act at Summer Jam 20.
I first heard of her in 2012 with the song “sexify” which by the way, I still listen to while cleaning up my house. I knew she was going be the next big thing, her voice was soulful an yet familiar. Her tone and control were something very few singers can achieve to reach. When I heard the news she passed I was deeply sadden. I will end this with; Rest in Heaven beautiful! singing in the heavenly choir.