IN CONVERSATION WITH LEO
Interview by Jana Letonja
Korean-Australian artist Leo made his highly-anticipated global solo debut this summer. His mission is to introduce the world to the vibrant culture and music of Korea. Alongside honing his skills in music production and songwriting, he holds a deep fondness for pop and R&B.
Leo, how did yoou develop interest and passion for music?
I feel like it came quite naturally. Music was always playing in the house and I found myself wanting to be a musician from as early on as I can remember.
Why did your passion from music lead you from Australia to South Korea?
I was amazed by the entertainment scene here in Korea. It was growing so quickly and I knew I needed to be a part of it. I was really desperate to leave my mark here.
This summer, you made your global solo debut, where you showcased your soft and low-pitched vocals. How did you develop your singing skills? Have you taken any lessons to work on it?
I spent years as a trainee in the K-pop system, where you learn bits and pieces of everything. Vocal training was a part of the process too, although I prefer practicing alone.
full look MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION
rings DAVID YURMAN
How exciting is it to have your debut song out in the world? Have the reactions from the fans exceeded your expectations?
It was such a surreal feeling. To finally get myself out there, it meant a lot. To see the fans showing the song a lot of love meant even more to me.
What was the inspiration for your debut song and can we expect a similar style from your next releases?
It has several meanings, there’s different ways to interpret the song. It is a mixture of afrobeats, R&B and pop. I wanted to show my appreciation to these different genres and styles of music and I think there may be more to come in the future.
Can we expect another release anytime this year?
We’ll see. Fingers crossed. I’m always trying my best.
Is it possible for you to give us a sneak peak into some of your upcoming projects?
There will probably be a bit more of a mixture of Korean and English in my songs.
Your mission is to introduce the world to the vibrant culture and music of Korea. Why is this something that is so important to you?
Growing up overseas, I’ve always been the minority and always felt like I had to prove my worth to people. I’m very proud of my background and I hope to represent Korea as a musician, even outside of the K-pop scene.
You hold a deep fondness for pop and R&B. Why do you feel the closests to these two genres? Do you see yourself doing music outside of these genres?
I grew up listening to pop and R&B. From Michael Jackson to Chris Brown to Bryson Tiller, I’ve always had a deep connection to the genre. However, as a musician, I feel the need to challenge myself and grow, and in order for that to happen I’ll need to try various sounds and styles.
full look GIORGIO ARMANI
gloves DAVID YURMAN
You are also songwriting. What inspires you the most when writing new music?
The late night thoughts in bed inspire me the most. When I’m laying down in bed, on my phone or just staring at the window, all these random thoughts and ideas will pop up out of nowhere and I’ll gain energy to write a song.
What do you find the most exciting part of music production process?
Hearing the final mix is my favorite part. It’s the most nerve-wracking and daunting part, but it gives you a sense of thrill and adrenaline like no other.
What do you look most forward to in your rising career?
To make music that connects with as many people as possible. I cannot wait to play shows in front of my fans. I cannot wait to hold my album one day.
talent LEO @jadedstilll
photographer BEN COPE @ben_cope
stylist ORETTA CORBELLI @orettac
hair and makeup YUKINA MITSUSHASHI @makeupbyyukina
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
interview JANA LETONJA @janaletonja