Photo Credit: Jeff Buckholz
If I were an investor looking to bring a band to Broadway, I’d put my money into LEONE. Everything from the vocals to the theatrics of the music is there, but of course, they’d have to be up for it. Find out if that’s something this Brooklyn-based group would be up for because it is something that came up when discussing their 2023 release, ‘GTFOH,’ out on August 18th. That, breakups, and more await in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: This isn’t your first musical endeavor seeing as you were in a glam rock band, Deitre, before. It’s not uncommon for artists to explore new avenues. Just look at Taylor Swift! Alas, I’m curious as to what was the sort of catalyst that led you down this new path in Leone?
LEONE: The pandemic was very much the catalyst for LEONE. DEITRE decided to take a break due to obvious reasons and I was left with no musical outlet. I was put into a position where I had no choice but to rely on myself, pick up the guitar, and REALLY take the time to learn it.
Kendra: It’s a new path but I felt like elements of your past were still ever present in “Kiss ‘Em Bye Bye.” This song, right out of the gate, hit me with next-level theatrics that felt very rock and roll still. I think it’s because your vocals sound like they belong on Broadway. Were you ever involved in the theater realm?
LEONE: That’s a huge compliment! Thank you so much. I attempted theater, and have done a couple of things in high school, but realized at a young age that songwriting is very much my passion and telling someone else’s story and using someone else’s words doesn’t fulfill me in the way it fulfills other people. However, I would never close that opportunity if it were to be presented and I felt like it was a role I resonated with.
Kendra: But yes, let’s talk more about “Kiss ‘Em Bye Bye” because I love it so much, especially the no-holds-bar lyrics. I love a song that just gives it to you straight and this song is just that. There is no hiding what this song is about, but it did make me wonder – was this based on a singular breakup or was it the culmination of relationships gone sour?
LEONE: Yes, “Kiss ‘Em Bye Bye” is based on a singular breakup. The breakup I sang about on the first EP. It was important for me to paint the picture of what happened because it was so burnt into my memory.
Kendra: In this, you sing, “…when I finally found the strength to leave you, I left that night.” Not everyone winds up finding that strength though. What’s your advice to those still searching for that in themselves to move on from those not-so-great situations?
LEONE: Oh god. It’s so much easier being said than actually done. I was presented with red flags that whole relationship and chose to still stay and fight for what I thought was worth it. I guess my advice would be that ONLY YOU know if something doesn’t feel right; and if you choose to ignore it, you will continue having your gut scream at you until you change your situation. Trust… I’ve tried to ignore it. You’ll make yourself sick.
Kendra: Another line from this song that had me obsessed was, “Hope that ass pic was worth losing mine.” It felt like a line that the TikTok generation would attach itself to and make videos for. You may not have given something like that a second thought when writing, but do you think that artists today do try and weave in possible viral moments into their music since social media plays such a huge role in marketing now?
LEONE: I mean, I’m sure some people do that, but I like to believe not everyone is that calculated.
Kendra: As for the record, ‘GTFOH’ is an EP that centers around reclaiming power. When you realized that it was time to take control of your life again, did you immediately turn to making music?
LEONE: Every single aspect of my life immediately turns to music. It’s a sick obsession.
Kendra: Time for a side note – this month we’re asking everyone to pick a song for our ‘ZO Summer 2023’ playlist. So what summer anthem would you add, and why?
LEONE: Any song by TVOD; not only are they friends, but they’re fucking baddies who make kickass music.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘GTFOH’ out on August 18th, what else is on the horizon for you at the moment?
LEONE: We are continuing to grow our sound and are already working on songs for the next album. So stay tuned!