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INTERVIEW: Samantha Leon

1. How would you classify your music?

This is a hard question to answer because I’ve absorbed sounds and singing styles from many different genres and artists that have influenced me over my life and filtered them through my own lens. I have a sweet voice but often times a sailor’s mouth of lyrics. Next time I record a project I have to make sure more of my songs pass for FCC, haha. All the songs are from different pages of my diary over the years; glimpses of my daydreams, and the crazy emotions under my skin while I keep a straight face at my desk job.

2. Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

1) My Mom

2) Fleetwood Mac (I get two bonuses here. I am crazy about Stevie and Lindsey.)

3) Amos Lee

4) Mariah Carey (especially from the 90s)

5) Kendrick Lamar

3. What do you want fans to take from your music?

If you wonder why I put Kendrick as #5 despite not being a Hip Hop artist (except in the shower. Oh, and peep “Perfect” on my EP featuring Danny Matos who spits the craziest verse), it’s because I am deeply moved and inspired by how he chooses to position himself as a highly influential artist in our society. We both believe that as musicians we have a responsibility to people who may listen. We hold up the mirror to reflect humanity, validate feelings, successes and struggles by digging deeper into ourselves and finding the purest ways to express what we find. I believe in the transformative and healing powers of music. I want to help move the needle of our society to a more conscious place starting by helping others not feel alone. The purer and more honest I can deliver my music, the more potential is created for a deeper connection with others. It’s bigger and beyond just me and my music. It’s about love, compassion, and fraternity.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your latest album? When will it be released and how does it differ from your previous work?

This is my first recorded project. It took me a very, very long time to embrace my calling to pursue music. I think it was because as a calling it required me to offer the purer parts of my heart and it took me a long time to sort out how to access those wells of data, to find myself. I was never a trendy person so I couldn’t exactly attempt to be just another trendy songwriter. I had to go through some stuff, and grow from some stuff, you know? Music lives on a deeper plane for me. The songs on this project are mostly about longing, beckoning or resentment towards a lover. Unrequited love. A lot of these songs are older, too. “Bright Yellow Shoes” was a song I wrote about a crush around 7 years ago. This is a project of songs that came from a very timid, young and nervous, delicate but bold version of me.

5. What do you love and hate about the Music Business?

The music business is a bit difficult for me to navigate here at the beginning of my career. You can’t exactly just look up a job opening for “acclaimed singer/songwriter” and apply. As of right now, It’s more like being in a relationship with a really hot and brilliant but somewhat emotionally unavailable guy, haha. I make him feel emotions he hasn’t felt in a long time but everyone knows he mostly only goes for young girls in their teens and 20s. I’ll always call but I know I can’t expect him to ever get back to me, so it pushes me to be independent which is fine but it’s a little tough to do all the heavy lifting by myself sometimes. And any time I tell him I give up, he does something amazing and I can’t help but come back, haha.

Okay, I’m just kidding. I know that not the entire music business is like the above and I won’t ever give up. As you can see we’re just in the dating phase so I’ll let you know what him and I have “the talk” after some time. What I love about the music business of course, is having an avenue to express my heart in the most honest ways to large amounts of people (Question 3 :).

6. What is the best concert you have been to?

The best concert I’ve gone to was one of Amos Lee’s in Port Chester back in 2014. The entire show was amazing! Mutlu opened for him and announced he was playing another set at Rockwood Music Hall the following weekend. Come that weekend, I was hanging out solo and thought ‘Hell, you’re boring right now. Get some fresh air and go see Mutlu’s set.’ Living in NY, I popped over to Rockwood where I very surprisingly found Amos and Mutlu standing a whole 20 feet away from me. I, of course felt awkward attending alone and had to use the bathroom but that meant asking Amos Lee to move away from the bathroom door. Not quite brave enough to do the deed. Anyway, I was able to meet the both of them outside of the venue after Mutlu’s set was over which was pretty awesome.

7. What do you like most about playing live?

It’s feels like freedom for me. It’s where I’m the happiest and where I feel best fit to serve. It’s the opportunity to release all the emotions I never get to show that run my body. I feel like I transport to another realm and I bring the whole crowd with me and I just hope it’s great for them like it is for me.

8. Is there a song on this latest CD that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

All the songs are my favorites for various reasons, but ‘Run Away’ was one of the first songs I’d written where I was able to paint a pretty extensive lyrical picture of my feelings about a situationship. And it has a real groove to it. It was also one of the first songs I’d written while completely drenched in tears.

9. How have you evolved as an artist over the last few years?

Over the years, I’ve become more deeply rooted with conviction in my journey as a musician. I am more unapologetic when I write and have written many songs since recording this EP. Also, my relationship with my older songs have evolved; the ties I had with the people I wrote them about have become more abstract. I learned that the songs become less about you and more about its potential connection with others. Songs are living and breathing things that grow and change and manifest different lives over time.

10. If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, get drunk with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Gosh, it would be in my wildest dreams to write a poem or a song with Stevie Nicks. The colors of her words and the raw honesty about her life through her music was (and still is) so transformative for my own life (which is a similar effect that Lindsey and Amos have on me), but Stevie is like a sister North Star I never had.

11. So tell us what’s next?

Promote the EP. Wherever the wind takes us, me and my band go. And begin to explore project number #2 :).

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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