Jul 7, 2020
Recently named a “One To Watch” artist of 2019, Swedish singer LÉON possesses the immense power to send us headfirst into the deepest depths of our feels. Even for those of us who are reputably single, somehow, we’re still weeping over the loss of a lover we never had to begin with. Composed of glowing contemporary pop, her latest trio of tracks, “And It Breaks my Heart,” “Who You Lovin,” and “In a Stranger’s Arms” prove LÉON is an irresistible musical force.
This 27-year-old Stockholm native has been sweeping the music industry since 2015, selling out headline shows across the world and making stage appearances at festival giants such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza.
Alongside her candid, intrinsic lyrics, it’s no wonder fans flock to the stage of this indie-pop goddess. LÉON live shows are far from exuding “sad-girl-vibes.” Expect to be serenaded with smoky, heaven-sent vocals while simultaneously imitating LÉON’s contagious dance-breaks mighty enough to shake away any heartbreak thanks to the early tracks of “You and I” and “Tired of Talking.” Once it’s safe to coexist in a room of more than ten people, you can expect us to be front row at one of LÉON’s magical live sets.
For today’s Popular Play feature, we had the great honor of speaking with this gem-of-a-human about her *pinch-me, I’m dreaming* moments, releasing music amid a global pandemic, and a highly anticipated upcoming project in the works.
1. Many artists have been delaying albums and shelving singles for fear their music won’t be successful during the pandemic. Yet here you are, having released several incredible singles over the past few months. Did you have any hesitations about releasing music at first, or has life in quarantine provoked inspiration?
Thank you so much! I was definitely thinking a lot about how this year would turn out because of the situation we’re in right now. But I’ve actually felt more inspired and creative than in a long time for some reason. Maybe because I haven’t felt any pressure, I don’t know. I’ve been doing a lot of writing from my home, which has been really good for me, kind of going back to how I used to write—figuring out what I want to say on my own. I’ve mainly been working with one of my best friends and producer in Stockholm, and working with someone who really knows you makes the whole process pretty relaxed. Overall I’m just happy that I still get to create and release music! I guess it could have looked very different.
2. Do your new songs, ‘And It Breaks My Heart,’ ‘Who You Lovin,’ and ‘In A Stranger’s Arms’ correlate in any way with one another? How did they transpire?
They do! They’re all a part of a new project which I’m really excited about. “Who You Lovin” is a pretty old song that I wrote around the same time I made my third EP, years ago. I always wanted to put it out, but I didn’t think it would fit in on my first album. It had more of a rough sound compared to the rest. So I waited for the right timing for it to come out.
3. Your lyrics have resonated deeply with many of your fans. What lyric of yours, and from what song, is a personal favorite, and why?
This is tricky; it’s hard to say. I guess it always changes – how you feel about your own songs, and right now, my favourite line would probably be from a song that I haven’t released yet. But if I have to pick a lyric, it would be from a song called “Hope Is A Heartache”; “All the moments that I ran from, always thought you’d wait for me, now this hope is but a heartache that lives inside of me.” SO intense. Lol.
4. Which theme have you found is easier to write about: falling in love or falling out of love?
I mean, my songs aren’t the happiest. Lol. So maybe I have to say falling out? I tend to write about what hurts the most to me, and that can be both falling in or falling out of love. It always depends on the situation—falling in love with someone that doesn’t want it as much as you or regretting your own mistakes. I’ve been looking harder at myself and my own flaws more so now when I’ve been writing new music and being more critical of my own behavior.
5. Tell us about your musical upbringing in Sweden. Has music always been a part of your life? Who or what initially influenced you to pursue music?
I grew up in a family where everybody’s working with music in one way or another, so I guess it came pretty naturally! I was singing in a lot of choirs and played cello for a long time, so music was always around me. My mom introduced me to a lot of classical music, and at one point, I wanted to become a cellist or sing opera. And then my dad introduced me to so many great artists and bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Etta James, Joni Mitchell, and so on. That’s when I really got into the idea of writing my own songs. I love lyrics and the story telling-part. I guess it all really came from them, letting me try different things and playing around.
6. What has been your most memorable experience while writing music or performing live?
There have been many moments where I’ve felt like pinching myself. Like playing at Coachella. That was just insane. It had been a dream of mine since I was maybe 16 or so, and then it happened, and I couldn’t really take it all in. All my best friends were standing in the audience crying, and I felt like crying too. But last year, kicking off my North American tour in Washington, D.C. was crazy. I had never played a room that big. The audience! The energy in the room! I’ll never forget it.
7. It’s easy to note you’re incredibly passionate about performing based on the contagious energy you radiate while live on stage. Once it’s safe to do so again, what are you most looking forward to about touring?
Performing live with my band is the best thing I know. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most, being back on a bus with my tour family again. I can’t wait to rehearse new music, and I’m so excited to create a new show. To sing together with a crowd again. Hopefully, artists and bands can tour next year, but everything feels very uncertain right now.
8. Are there many differences between performing in the United States versus the shows you’ve played in Europe?
I think there might be a difference? For some reason, I get more nervous when I play in Europe. I don’t know why! And to play in my hometown is nerve-racking. You see people in the crowd that you went to high school with, friends and family, and it just makes me nervous in a different way. But don’t get me wrong; I love playing in Europe! Some of my favourite shows we did last year were in Paris, London, and Copenhagen, and the crowd was so loud and fun. But sometimes it feels like the energy is slightly different when I play in the US. It feels like people go out to party and to sing and dance and make a full night of it. But I like that it feels different wherever you go.
9. Lastly, tell us something your fans would be fascinated to know about you.
Wow, I have no idea. I love to cook, but I don’t know how fascinating that is? Ha! I’ve turned into a real plant-lady, like my mom. She’s always telling me all these names for different flowers in Latin, which I used to think was so boring. And now my apartment doesn’t have room for any more plants.
Everybody needs a little bit of LÉON in their life. Go stream her latest releases And It Breaks My Heart / Who You Lovin’ / In a Stranger’s Arms available on all music platforms and watch the latest music video for “And It Breaks My Heart.”