Leon Power’s new release “Blind” is magical chilled downtempo R&B. Wonderland get to know him a little better.
London-born, Edinburgh-raised Leon Power has mastered the holy trinity of musician titles: singer, songwriter and producer. Not easy, but for someone of Power’s talent it’s almost like a walk in the park. Holed up in his Glasgow studio, Power has been working away for a 6-month period on his new EP, of which pulsing new track “Blind” features on. After recent sessions with Nicholas Jaar and releasing new sounds via hugely successful YouTube channel Majestic Casual’s new record label, Leon Power’s never ending talents are bringing a magical, chilled touch back R&B.
“Blind” brings together the genres that Power loves – R&B, club culture and classical – in a way that reflects his growth as a writer, singer and producer and his ambition to create a fusion of sounds that is chilled, emotional and honest. With a warm, downtempo rhythm with a fractured beat that contrasts with Power’s falsetto vocals, “Blind” pulls you in and spark all kinds of emotions. Analogue synths feature heavily, both in “Blind” and on the EP, and his move back to simpler composition and a less is more approach cements Leon Power as someone worthy of his critical acclaim; “Blind” is the perfect blissed out and emotional R&B tune.
How would you describe your sound to us?
It is always hard to describe your own sound, but if I was to have a go: downtempo-moody-pop? A lot of producers have their own styles and techniques that are identifiable but that doesn’t mean we are always aware of them ourselves. Sometimes I think I write something really different to my usual style but it is probably more different to me than anyone else. So describing my sound is probably better answered by the people listening.
Who are your musical influences?
Like most artists in this digital age I have so many influences. Frank Ocean and Matthew Young in particular were getting a lot of plays during the creation of this EP though. I think a lot of my influences must come through subconsciously in my songwriting, and sometimes as a producer you pick up stylistic things from artists and genres and bring them into your own repertoire, only to later go “oh yeh, i suppose that is kinda… Bossanova” for example. I think there was a period of time where artists took a great pride in having such an eclectic set of influences, but I think these days we all do, both listeners and artists, thanks to the ease of accessing so much music.
What’s the music scene like in Edinburgh?
I have recently returned and it is bubbling! The dance music scene feels really strong at the moment. Some mates run nights like Tweak_ and Teesh that span a good range of my favourite house and techno flavours, and venues like Sneaky Pete’s are really pioneering to make something special here. How well Young Fathers have been doing is great too, their last live show i saw was incredible.
Out of singing, songwriting and producing – which do you prefer more? Why?
They are hard to separate as I often do them all together. I suppose it is all about the state of mind at that moment; If I am feeling super focused, experimenting with production is the one. If i’ve got the sads then singing is a good therapy. All are an equally important part of the process but most of the time songwriting with the piano is the essence.
What was it like working with Nicolas Jaar? How did that come about?
I have known Nico for a while now, we met in Glasgow through a mutual friend and i went over to New York to work with him. He has a great ear and is a brilliant producer. You should check out his new record ‘Sirens’ if you haven’t already, I have had it on repeat for the last week. It is a real journey through his amazing sonic palette.
How did you get involved with Majestic Casual’s label? Is it exciting being a part of their label?
I have been in touch with Majestic for a couple of years. I have found so many great tracks and artists through their youtube channel over the years so It is wicked to be a part of it. Majestic really helped my find my focus again after a bit of a hiatus, so i am grateful for that. Thanks guys.
How would you describe “Open Up” musically? Is there a story/theme behind the song?
I suppose it is a kind of ‘anti-ballad’ about honesty. Sometimes the truth hurts too much to share. The song was actually written in Autumn last year, and as the seasons are changing at the moment a lot of those nostalgic feelings are flooding back in. I like the idea that people should make their own interpretations of the song though; we all have our own personal struggles and music is a powerful way of either escaping or embracing them.
What kind of sound can we expect from your forthcoming “Blind” EP?
Analogue Synths and falsetto vocals. It’s quite chilled and emotional. I used to write much more high energy stuff… For this EP I have pulled it back… slower tracks for stiffer joints. It is also simpler in composition and definitely takes the less is more approach. It feels more personal and honest as a release than anything I have done before
Do you have a favourite track off of the EP?
I suppose each track represents the way I felt when I wrote it. Different tracks resonate more at different times. You should decide for yourselves! But the title track Blind was probably the one i was most excited about after I wrote it…
Any exciting plans for the future?
I have been developing audio-visual concept pieces that I am really excited about; sampling video and constructing them into music. I have also been working on an EP with Sandeman which is more dance-floor orientated. Not to mention developing the live show, which we are getting really excited about. Watch this space.