It’s not everyday you come across a kind soul like that of Malissa ‘Mali’ Hunter. But it’s also a rare occurrence witnessing a youth with such talent as Lee England Jr.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience a dinner at Tree Sound Studios, you need to make that happen. It’s an ATL “must” if you’re a resident. Above being a well-connected, beautiful spirit, Mali is about positive vibes, family, and extending herself to others. This is what happened with LEJ.
Both hailing from Chicago, we were able to hear his story before he performed for a packed audience in a room commonly known as “the cave.” LEJ is a classically trained violinist who holds three music degrees, including: BS in Music Education, BS in Audio Engineering and a BA in Violin Performance, all from Southern Illinois University.
In collaboration with R&B singer, K’Jon, LEJ found himself traveling the country performing as a soloist and member of the band. During this time, he was a featured act, in which he was given time on the stage by himself. One tour stop was at a dinner celebration, during All-Star Weekend for Michael Jordan’s birthday. By the end of Lee’s solo, an audience including Spike Lee, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union, Russell Simmons and Michael Jordan, himself were on their feet applauding. Immediately following the performance, Jordan offered Lee an endorsement through the Jordan Brand to support his artistic endeavors. This made him one of four non-athletes to represent the brand. On the subject LEJ said, “When I decided to walk the path that was meant for me, Michael Jordan gave me shoes that made me fly.”*
It was after the networking, socializing, Mali’s cooking, and the Courvoisier flowing from the heavens, that we were able to hear LEJ for ourselves. With a building overflowing with inquisitive minds he gave two performances that night. Back in ‘the cave’ we heard LEJ and his band perform ballads from both old school and new school and even original tracks they’ve been working on.
Part of the Tree Sound experience and dinners that Mali produces are the people. It is impossible to attend her events and not have a sense of family. I myself met five newcomers who had never attended her dinners and all of them noted how nice the crowd was.
Another cool part of the Mali Effect is that you’ll never know who will show up. Mali and LEJ received support and love from music and entertainment talent such as Ed Lover, Terri J Vaughn, Angie Stone, Ariane (Love and Hip-Hop ATL), Jasmine Guy, and many others. Kwanza Hall was also in attendance to announce that night was officially marked as “Tree Sound Music Day.”
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Photo: Kent Foster