Leon Else is a new artist on my radar, but I know he’s going to be on so many people’s soon, too. His debut single, “Signs” just released and it’s the lead coming off his EP Beautiful World set to drop in June. His history really empowered him to be the artist he is today. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to him and share his story.
Tell me about the single and the inspiration behind it.
Leon: "Signs" was created from a place of mental exhaustion. I was so tired. Tired of life and tired of waking up every day and facing the same old shit. Feeling depressed and feeling alone. I felt lost. I was confused. It just became too much. I had been recently diagnosed with bipolar. I felt there wasn’t a lot of hope for me. I felt like my life was kind of fucked. This song was my song asking for a sign to carry on. It was my song to explain what was happening in my head out loud, and how I needed hope, a light at the end of what seemed like a long dark tunnel. It was just me being honest and open and I hope that it encourages others to know they aren’t alone and to hopefully start a much-needed conversation through music.
Can you tell us about the EP and the creation behind that?
Leon: The creative process behind my up-and-coming releases is simple. It was and is my truth. No bullshit, no exaggeration, just plain and simple honesty. I was literally going through it all as we created these songs. it was one of the most painful creative processes that I've ever experienced, as these weren’t stories of something I had gone through, these were stories about what I was going through in the moment. It literally was therapy, I don't think I have ever been so honest. I didn’t care - I just needed to release this pain I had. We didn’t think about what people wanted or what my label at the time wanted. I just opened my heart, let it all pour out, hoping that this would somehow help me. You can’t deny the truth. I would tell JT, my long time collaborator, what was going on and we would use that as a topic and then just see what musically felt right.
What are you most excited about this year?
Leon: The thing that I'm most excited about this year is that I get to share my story and my journey. I also hope me speaking out about my mental health journey will help others and give them strength and encouragement. I want to show them that they are not alone and that there is a way out that will help you live a better quality of life. I am also excited about being able to finally put out a body of work that I'm very proud of. It's been a quiet few years for me, so I'm just grateful I get this chance again. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me.
Any challenges you've faced in the industry?
Leon: The music industry is full of challenges. So many so, it's sometimes hard to remember the reasons why you do it. It's enough to make you doubt yourself, compare yourself, and just feel like maybe you just are not good enough and your dream won’t happen. But I think with any business in life, you face challenges. It's very difficult at times but I've learned to become adaptable. Not everyone is lucky! You have to fight tooth and nail to be in this business, and boy is it tough. I've thought about giving up a few times, but this burning desire inside me will just not let go. For anyone out there looking to be in music, don't take no for an answer. Fuck those who doubt you-you don't need them. Keep the faith and remind yourself daily why you do things. Just don't give up. You've got one life so chase that dream and don't let the “business side” of things ruin that for you.