Our WorldArts Spotlight Artist of the Month is Leonelle! This hard-working urban pop artist has a brand new single out called Tears In My Head that will absolutely be your summer anthem. Check out our exclusive Q&A with her to hear about the inspiration behind it, her background, and why you should text her big bro the next time you need encouragement! (data rates may apply, Ben)
1) Tell us about that moment when you decided not to attend college back home, but to head to L.A. and pursue your music dreams?
I went to orientation at Miami University of Ohio and just hated it. No offense, it’s an amazing school, it just wasn’t for me. I locked myself in the dorm (I was so grateful I didn’t have to share the room) and recorded myself singing on garage band practically the whole time or until I had one of those college meeting things. When I got home I remember talking to my big brother Ben and him reassuring me that if i really wanted to move to L.A. for my music, I should and that college will always be there. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I went downstairs to tell my parents my heart was with L.A. and my music. They were nervous, as any parent would be, but so supportive.
2) You have studied many forms of dance, and are a student of many genres of music. How do these different elements influence your sound?
I grew up listening to a lot of pop, R&B, and hip hop. Not to mention Broadway and so many different forms of rock. My music is a reflection of all that in one way or another. Whether it’s in my melodies or in the drums or something else. I’ll be in the car and hear a song and out of the blue receive a concept or melody idea. It’ll hit me and really have nothing to do with that particular song but it just inspires something within me. So grateful for artists that have walked before me and given me the gift of inspiration.
3) What was the music scene like in your hometown of Columbus, OH when you were growing up?
I grew up in a small town outside of Columbus. There wasn’t much of a music scene at all. At 9 years old I started performing in stage groups based in the Columbus area as well as dance competitions, musicals and whatnot. At 12, I started to write and record my own demo which I had worked on all throughout middle and high school. I just knew I loved music and performance and auditioned for everything I could get my hands on. I’m really grateful for groups like Kids of Broadway, Ohio Youth Entertainers and Park Street Players which enabled me to put my passion of music and dance to use.
4) If you could go on tour with any artist (past or present) who would it be?
Too many!! Britney in the late 90’s early 00’s, Aaliyah, Coldplay, Kendrick, Fall Out Boy, NERD, Gaga…the list continues!!
5) What’s your ‘go-to’ karaoke song?
Any Ashanti song.
6) WorldArts is all about giving tools and opportunities to artists. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Rather than focusing on how you’re going to get to where you want or get what you want, put your energy toward giving to others and sharing your gift. Let go of how you think things should look and just be. We are too human to try to predict our future or what is best for us. Your talent, experiences, struggles and honesty are a gift to others.
7) If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Social media. It’s a hate/love relationship. It’s great because I get to market my music but it can be too much at times.
8) What is the best way you’ve found to market yourself as an artist?
I’m still figuring that out as I go but of course social media. Playlisting on outlets like Spotify and Apple Music and collaborating with other brands have been great marketing tools for me as well.
9) Tell us about your newest single “Tears In My Head” and the inspiration behind it?
I was in the booth laying down melodies to a guitar melody and the words “tears in my head” just fell out. I loved how weird it sounded. It inspired me to write about all the fear and negative chatter that my head can tell me. I used to think those struggles and fears were “bad” but they’re not necessarily. They’re honest and human and we have a choice to let them go and give way to growth. Just because I have a feeling, doesn’t make it a fact.
10) What next on the horizon for you?
I’m working on my project right now so lots of studio time. A compilation of music that I will release as an EP, I guess you could call it. I’m about to release multiple remixes for my single “Tears in my Head’ which I cannot wait for. We got some great DJ’s from all over the world to attach their vision and talent to this record. I’ll also be performing around LA toward the end of this month/early next month and continue to grind and open myself to whatever opportunities are meant for me.
Listen to Tears In My Head and download it on iTunes now!