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INsiders Guide Exclusive Interview with Pop Artist Leezy

Leezy is a master of contrasts.

At just 21 years old, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter exudes a wisdom far beyond her years. Leezy is unable to remember a time when she wasn’t singing — she recalls a musical childhood, surrounded by theater and the arts. She’s kept a daily journal since she was ten years old, always ready to be in touch with her internal dialogue. At first, Leezy was resistant to the idea of pursuing music seriously, considering it a refreshing hobby. In a role reversal not experienced by many young creatives, it was actually her mother who encouraged her to consider a professional route, even buying her an electric keyboard. Leezy continued writing and recorded her first song upon arriving in Chicago at age 18.

Following her youth in the Bay Area, Leezy faced (and overcame) a new challenge. Young adulthood proved to be a battlefield of depression and addiction for the artist, and she made the decision to admit herself into treatment. Her time there was healing in more ways than one: not only was Leezy able to receive professional help, she also began to see her music in a new light. From a talent show among other patients to times of introspection during outpatient treatment, Leezy realized that music was, in fact, her calling. Becoming sober at nineteen is a victory in and of itself, and Leezy was ready to dive into the next chapter of her life with enthusiasm.

Now, Leezy has worked to lock in her own sound, never relinquishing the memory of her darker chapters. Managing to incorporate the rock elements of the late 90s and early 2000s into her bright sound, Leezy matches her penchant for the gritty and authentic with her honest stories. She is inspired by the likes of Elliot Smith but speaks to a new generation with her unique life experience, hoping to make listeners feel less alone in their individual journeys, particularly other young people.

Her latest single, “Sierra,” is a hopeful, dramatic ode to the resilience of the human spirit is available everywhere now. With vocals reminiscent of Lana Del Rey, honesty in the style of Billie Eilish, and a full backing band to bring everything to life, “Sierra” is Leezy’s most vulnerable work yet — an impressive feat, considering her existing catalogue.

In her own words, Leezy describes the track as a chronicle of her journey from rock bottom to sobriety, an accomplishment for which she recently acknowledged the two-year mark. “The biggest thing is that the song is about my own personal journey, and that’s where I drew inspiration from — but regardless of if you’ve struggled with addiction, everyone has struggled with something, and everyone can relate to the feeling of wanting to get better.”

Leezy, welcome to OLC! It’s a pleasure to have you here, how are you and how have you been?

Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been doing well! I’ve been writing a lot as I wait for the weather to warm up in Chicago— lots of time spent at home with my piano.

You’ve just released your brand new single ‘Sierra’, can you tell me a bit about it and what inspired you to write it?

I struggled with substance abuse in my early teens and after some heavy self reflection, I sought treatment. I wrote this song on the piano in the cafeteria of my rehab facility, about two weeks into my stay. I was beginning to feel more hopeful about my recovery. The idea behind the song was that it would reflect my journey to sobriety. It starts with me at the piano, I’m timid and unsure, but also willing; when the drums come in it’s a battle between myself and chaos. The struggle between the vocals and the instrumental is meant to evoke the struggle between me and my addiction.

I love the video for this song. Where did the idea come from and was it shot in Chicago?

I wanted to portray the battle I underwent with myself while getting sober. The director and I had a vision of a white silk, which represents sobriety and freedom. The idea behind the video is that I am chasing this silk, and going through a number of different feelings during the chase. My feelings are represented by the setting, lighting, and styling. Everything in the video is intentional. There are good days and bad days, which is why it goes back and forth. The crescendo is my final acceptance, which is when I finally catch the silk. I had a blast working with Bluestone Pictures. We had the best time— even during our day-long outdoor shoot in the middle of a snowstorm. I loved seeing everything come together.

I love your sound, who are some of your biggest musical inspirations and what do you love about their craft?

Thank you! I grew up listening to so many different artists, so I draw inspiration from lots of genres like 90s rock, early 2000’s trip hop, and modern dream pop. One of my favorite artists right now is Connan Mockasin, who’s a psychedelic pop artist from New Zealand. I love how unique and experimental his music is —a lot of his songs don’t follow the traditional song structure which I find super satisfying. You never really know where the song is gonna go; it’s always surprising and strange and exciting. I saw him perform live a few years ago in Chicago, and it was one of my favorite shows of all time.

Can we expect another EP on the way? And if so, anything you can tell us about?

My next release will most likely be my first full-length album. It tells the story of everything I went through while I was in active addiction— messy relationships, self-loathing, processing trauma, comforting my inner-child, experiencing fear, guilt and shame… I recently celebrated 2 years of sobriety!

When you’re not making music, what do you like to do in your leisure time?

I spend a lot of time at home, hanging out with my cats and working on self care. I like to go for massages, take bubble baths, and write in my journal. Other than that, I love to attend music concerts, nature/history/art museums, plays and musicals, ballets, and improv shows. I try to surround myself with art, and stay inspired no matter what I’m doing.

What do you hope listeners and fans take away from your music?

My music is heavily inspired by my own experiences, but I would hope that the general themes can be relatable for everyone in some way. I want my listeners to feel understood when they hear my lyrics, and to feel less lonely in what they may be going through. I love hearing from my listeners, and I’ve gotten so many messages from all sorts of people thanking me for sharing my experiences.

There is a strange quality in my stories that have touched people of all ages and genders—there is something in there for everyone.

What does the rest of 2022 hold for you?

I am very excited for what’s to come! I’m planning my next release, working on putting together my live show, writing and recording… You can stay updated on my TikTok (@ leezy) and my Instagram (@ leezymusic69)!

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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