Hi Leena, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I am very well thank you, considering the times. Thanks for covering my track and the story! I am still constantly working on my music at home, but I do miss the days when we could just go out and live without masks.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “My Hair”?
The song is about bullying I was exposed to during my teenage years at school. When I was in my teens, I did not really think I was being bullied. I found it hard to form relationships at school and just felt ‘different’. I was already tall in my early teens, about a head taller than pupils my age, including the boys. I was an easy target to poke fun of and wondered why the others don’t like me. What’s wrong with me? I felt I was excluded from things, it used to upset me and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions such as insecurity, anger, frustration and I cried about it.
I called the song ‘My Hair’ because girls at school used to pick on me about my hair quite a bit. I had long hair and I used to wear it quite thick, whereas other girls mostly used hair straighteners to make their hair thin.
As you grow up and get through the teenage years, you can see things more clearly and analyse situations differently. It was only later that I realised that this is a form of bullying that goes on a lot at schools. There are the cheerleaders and then there are the followers who are just part of that group out of fear of being the rabbit in the headlights themselves.
The song is about me narrating my experience as I see it today. I go through different emotions and I am directly addressing the bullies. I am hoping that the track will generate positive discussion and help change things for the better. What I want to say to young people is that there is nothing wrong with you. We are all different and we all need to deal with our insecurities and whatever issues we have.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I am not sure it was any particular event; I think some things come to you over time as you get older. For example, five years ago I would not have thought about writing a song about bullying or really recognised bullying the way I see it now. I have seen much discussion about it, and I think it is that discussion that has helped me relate to the issue through my own experience. I suppose it is some kind of self-therapy you go through as you process the events of your past.
Often songwriters talk about being ‘honest’ in your songs, which I thought was a bit of a cliche. I feel that I really opened up in this song and tried to be as honest as possible. It is not that I was hiding or avoiding the issue before – I just hadn’t processed or understood it.
How was the recording and writing process?
My songwriting process usually starts with emotion or feeling and I play with melodic ideas. I go with a chord progression and come up with an instrumental track on Logic Pro. This song was born differently. When I started thinking about doing a song about bullying, I came up with the initial lyrics in a day. I worked on the melodies and the structure after that. I created my rough recording of vocals and went to Tile Yard where I worked with Andrew Kingslow on the track. I was meant to release the track in September, but the pandemic delayed that plan. In the UK, they had anti-bullying week from 16-20 November, which seemed like the right time to release the track.
What role does London play in your music?
When I moved to London many years ago, it opened up a whole new world to me. I had a quick access to all the music venues and I was doing loads of acoustic gigs all around London. I also have access to studios, events and collaboration opportunities over here. But London is quite expensive and now that the world has moved online, it matters less where you are. I used to do only rough vocal recording at home, but I have better equipment at home now, and I can record my final takes at home as well. I am really grateful for someone I am working with for helping me in that area.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I am working on a number of songs right now, collaborating with an exceptional young producer from the Midlands in the UK. We have never actually met in person, but I feel that we are working really well together and I expect something really great to come out of that experience. Watch this space!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
I am not really sure at this point. I initially thought of bringing a new track out in January, but I may push it to February or March instead. I will have a number of songs to release when we get started though. I have been releasing music through my own label, but I want to explore the opportunities out there. If you know any great labels, put a word out for me!
What else is happening next in Leena Voxx’s world?
I really wanted to go out performing this year, but the pandemic put a stop to that. I am hoping that next year will be different and that by summer the performance opportunities are back. I don’t like the overused term ‘new normal’; instead, I am hoping for the old normal to return.