Name: Lea G
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Recent release: Lea G's new single "DEMONS (ONLY HUMAN)" is out now.
Recommendations: As I am writing this I am listening to Florence + the Machine's new album. It is an incredible masterpiece and my favourite song on it is “King”.
My favourite book I've read recently was Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown. It looks at all kinds of emotions we experience in the course of our life and what they mean and how to communicate them, how they affect us etc. It definitely inspired me to write more songs about specific feelings such as regret or pride.
If you enjoyed this interview with Lea G and would like to find out more about her work, visit her on Instagram.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
It all started when I was 6 and was singing in my school choir back in Austria, where I am from. I was obsessed with classical music until I was about 11 and picked up the guitar for the first time.
Before I wrote songs I always wrote short stories. I originally wanted to be an author of Fantasy novels, then I found Ed Sheeran and I thought if he can do it, maybe I can! So I started writing songs just for fun and then I just never stopped. For me, music has always been something to express my feelings with and connect with others through it.
When I was 16 I did an exchange year on the South Coast of England for 10 months and after I had completed my A-levels back in Austria, I decided it was time for the big move to London to do music full time.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
Music just feels like it fills me up everytime I hear it - especially melodies and words just make my body feel so alive.
I also see colours and that is why it is especially important for me to have little music videos and other content for my music - to bring the colours, aesthetics and patterns together.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I think everyone has to start somewhere and looking back, the first song I ever wrote is definitely not the best. However, I think looking back, what's always been unique about my music has been the way I write melodies and what I write about.
Writing about the stuff that matters most to me has evolved a lot over the years and the more I have matured as a woman, the more I have found what I want to talk about. I want to make music that makes my fanbase feel something. Sometimes it’s the good stuff and sometimes it’s stuff that's harder to look at.
It's always been about connecting with others that drew me to music and writing it.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I never fit in growing up and once I embraced that and started loving myself for exactly that, things just kind of fell into place. I feel more myself than ever and confident in everything I want to talk about and connect through with my audience. I think an identity as an artist comes with building confidence by doing things and seeing if they work.
Since I was 16, I knew I wanted to do music and so I just started doing it. Today I can't talk about identity without talking about music. A big part of my identity is also activism. When I was 18 I wrote a climate song for the Fridays For Future Movement and even Greta Thunberg loved it.
I guess as much as I want people to feel an emotion, sometimes I want to provoke them to think, too.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
I guess making something that is uniquely mine but that I know others will recognise themselves in so we can all share the experience of being alive today on this planet.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think different genres of music have always come back, but when they do, they'll always sound like back then but with a breeze of something new. I believe that is what I love so much about finding old or new music. I am always curious what inspiration I can draw from it and where that artist might have taken their inspiration from.
Of course there will always be the timeless classics but I believe in that case it's more about the artist and the message of the song that made it big rather than the music itself.
Sticking to tradition in any way has never been a good idea in my eyes. There are rules that need to be broken over and over again to create something unique and new that will connect with people, in whatever way.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I always use my guitar or piano for songwriting. I would say talent is nothing without practise and the 10k hour rule is definitely true. To do anything well, you'll need to stick to it.
In the course of my career I always tried to be fearless and just give interesting things a go while trying to figure out how they work. Sometimes they inspired a new way of making music or connecting myself with.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I like getting up early to journal and do some yoga after waking up. Then I make some tea, look at my to-dos for the day and make a plan of how I’ll do it all. Then after a nice vegan breakfast I start working.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My EP “Survival Mode”, which I am releasing this year, is my favourite project to date because it is the most personal I've ever been in my music.
Most of the songs started as a small lyric idea or melody that I took to my friend and producer BROOKFIELD. We recorded the record together and he helped me write it. One of the songs I also wrote is with a friend from Nashville, an amazing songwriter who always brings out the best in my writing called Blake Densmore.
Once the songs are in demo format, I start planning the release and what I imagine for the visuals etc. For DEMONS for example, I wanted to look different and show a side of me that I haven't yet - the shadow of me, my dark side.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
These days I write with lots of different people for other artists or to pitches but I am very picky when it comes to writing on my own music.
My favourite people to work with on my music are BROOKFIELD and Blake Densmore. Mostly because they are incredibly talented and just get me. But also because I know they see my potential and will always try and push me out of my comfort zone to be the best artist and songwriter I can be. That way I can be the most honest and vulnerable.
However, most initial ideas come from what I write when I am alone in my studio just jamming or writing down little lyric ideas during the day.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Music was always meant to bring people together - whether that be in a way of emotional exchange or starting a revolution. It's the voice of a Generation and everything that comes with it can influence the way society evolves.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
This is always the case when I write. When I feel any strong emotion, I write about it and it helps me understand myself and those around me better in return.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Music can heal. Music is innovative. Music helps process and communicate feelings. I believe music is underrated but all you have to do is imagine what might have happened without music to listen to during lockdown.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I am an inherently creative person so any day that I don't listen to music is wasted in my eyes.
Music helps me focus and it makes mundane tasks feel magical sometimes. I believe it connects us to the deeper part within us that we don't usually look at as much as when we consume music.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I think it has to do with how it touches the heart. May that be through the actual music or the lyrics or even just the setting of the performance. I believe it's very unique to every person and the situation.