Who are your biggest influences; who inspires you?
I’m very inspired by the female R&B electro-soul genre. Artists such as Kehlani, Ariana Grande, Kiana Lede, Lolo Zouai, Ella Mai etc. I think these artists have the perfect combination of deep lyrics, strong vocals and badass attitudes. I try to mix this with my more introverted, dark and weird beats, where I talk about how sad I am, haha. When I wanna have more fun with music, the old school late 90’s/early 00’s girl bands give me my strength and inspire me to make girl power anthems that are not just “for me.”
Why did you start making music?
It’s the cliche - you guessed it: I’ve always made music. I started the Fjer alias in New York when I lived there for 5 years. This is where I came up with the name, released my first EP, found the people to work with and really started to believe in myself. It was so inspiring being around people on the constant grind. I felt accepted in a different way and started sharing my music on a bigger scale. I really owe it all to New York, for beating me down and building me back up. That city is nuts.
Your LP "You Again" was released at the end of 2018, what influenced the sound and songwriting for the tracks?
One of the first songs I made for the album was the song "You Again." I wrote it because I always had this voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. Then I really loved that theme and started writing more songs about different insecurities in life, love, my career etc. All of a sudden I had like 5-6 songs about this in different shapes and forms. Besides my own production work changing a lot I also had a revelation when I started working with producers Lennart Rasmussen (Kill J, etc) and Peter Anthony Red (Lucy Camp, owner of the label Quintic, etc). They helped me morph my sound into something a little more polished and approachable. I collected songs for the album over three years and all of a sudden it just felt like it was ready to share.
You've also released a new music video for the single, "Roll Call." How was that conceptualized and completed?
"Roll Call" was always such a fun song to me, so I really wanted to make a music video that reflected the vibe I had when I made it (with Peter Anthony Red). I was very inspired by the style of music videos and concepts from the late 90’s/early 00’s - artists like Destiny’s Child, TLC, Britney Spears, Missy Elliot, etc. That Hype Williams-era of golden videos. Then I started tracking down different items from that time online and in second hand stores. It was honestly the prep for the vid that took the longest. Try to track down an inflatable couch and UFO pants in 2018, haha. I got my girls, Alida Tull and Emilia James, to come over and be by my side - to really get the girl power vibe out. We had so much fun shooting it and I think it comes across in the video.
What's your songwriting process?
Very different from what kinda mood I’m in. Currently I do a lot of quick beats and instrumentals, 30 minute or 1 hour challenges for my self. Just to get something out of my head. I also write notes on my phone constantly when I get ideas for lyrics. I hum melodies and record them on my voice memo app. And most of the time it just all comes together when I sit down and try to collect some of the ideas. I also love collabing with other producers - the songs always come out completely different than if I made the beat. That mix of processes is so important to not just repeat yourself all the time.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Nope, not really. I write very personal lyrics, they’re almost always about something I’ve experienced. If they’re more abstract it’s usually cause they’re about a fantasy, dream or about something I picture someone else thinking.
What are your future plans for your music?
I’m releasing singles and videos from the album this year and then I might drop a new song or two in the fall. Just creating right now and trying not to get too tied up in projects. I wan’t this time to be free and open, and if I wanna drop something - I’ll do that.
Tell us something quirky about yourself.
I have a cat name Buffy (like the Vampire Slayer) and I make a mean dolphin sound. Lol… that’s really lame.
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Photos by Peter Anthony Red
Leah Vee's "The Source" is a wonderfully soothing song. Its somber rainy day type beat meshes very well with her delivery: neo-soul and R&B flair mixed with East coast production places the listener smack dab in the middle of her struggle. As an MC, Leah does a great job of maximizing her voice and gives solid, meditative, thought-provoking lyrics focused on suppression, fear, and regret. It's hard not to relate.
All in all, I feel fortunate to have listened; she reminds me of Rez (whose sound I adore) with more Hip-Hop influences. Good MC's are able to reflect on experiences in a broad sense, allowing listeners to latch onto words while applying their own meaning. It's a difficult trick, one that Leah is well on her way to mastering, if she hasn't already. One of the main ways that we connect with one another as human beings is by being vulnerable. I believe Leah understands this and takes the time to do so with a number of well-placed lyrical passages. A couple that come to mind are: "I will admit that I'm afraid" and "reluctant to begin a new phase." Being forward and upfront about this type of mental or emotional stress lets the listener know the performer is human. It's a foundation of human connection and "The Source" has begun laying the groundwork for such a connection with me, and for that I say thank you.
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