Posted On 09 Jul 2019
Get to know the pop singer-songwriter Leon Else!
He recently released his song “Beautiful World.” The song premiered exclusively on Billboard Pride. It was written by Else, along with his longtime collaborator JT Bangs. The powerful ballad was written following Else’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The artist documented his journey with his mental health in a vulnerable, new visual titled “Beautiful World: My Journey,” also recently released. The collection of personal videos offers a powerful insight to Else’s daily life, as he copes with his diagnosis on a day to day basis. With the release of this song and visual during Mental Health Awareness Month, Else hopes to start a conversation and join the fight to de-stigmatize mental health.
Based in the UK, Leon Else began writing and recording music at the age of 12 to serve as an escape from his rocky upbringing. Interested in all of the arts, Leon saved his money to attend dance school, and over the years has performed in Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet “Winter Dreams” and musicals, including “Sinatra” and “Oklahoma!” Leon decided to leave the dance world to pursue music. After releasing a series of songs online, Leon was catapulted into the music industry and in 2018, was featured on the soundtrack for Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.”
After struggling in silence for 27 years of his life with his mental health, Leon sought help. He is now reclaiming his independence as an artist and individual, and creating music he feels is authentically himself. Leon released his first song of 2019 “Change Up” in April, along with “Signs” in early May. Leon has been featured in Billboard, PAPER Magazine, People Magazine, VH1 and Galore and is managed by First Access Entertainment.
Connect With Leon Else Here:
Learn more about Leon Else in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I am in LA right now. I’ve been living here for about 3 and a half years.
Now that we are half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you?
2019 has been treating me well. There has definitely been some stressful moments that come with releases, naturally. I have been gone for a moment with music so coming back this year and starting to put new music out that has a different sound was scary but it’s all been amazing and the reactions have been awesome!
What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
I don’t really set goals. I feel life changes so much so quickly that I decided to just go with the flow. I don’t want to expect anything and just accept everything. Before I would put so much pressure on trying to attain my goals that when I didn’t hit them, it made me feel like I has failed. In reality, sometimes goals can take a really long time to achieve so for my own mental well-being I just think work hard, enjoy what you’re doing, be open, take opportunities, and try to help people. That’s it.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to sing and entertain. It was never a decision; it was something that just was going to happen one way or another. I don’t feel I had a choice.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
I have NO IDEA!!! It literally sometimes scares me because I’m like I don’t have a backup plan, i don’t have plan B so that’s why we have to make plan A work 🙂
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
I think how hard it is. You don’t realize how hard this industry is. The shit you go through as a singer/ songwriter is so testing. I had to learn to keep pushing through when it seems like it’s all going wrong. And it’s very difficult to get your music heard. It’s crazy hard, I can’t even really explain it. You have to try and remind yourself daily why you want to do this and hold onto that small glimmer of hope because damn, it tests you.
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Beautiful World.” What was the inspiration for this song? How has getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder affect influenced your latest music? What was it like documenting your journey with mental health in the visual for this song?
The inspiration for “Beautiful World” was literally what I was going through, how I was feeling, how I was thinking, my daily struggles, things that were going on in my mind that no one knew. I think since being diagnosed with bipolar, it has made me care less. It’s helped me understand myself so I can help maybe others understand themselves too. Now I get me! Before I didn’t so I can truly sing and write and talk about it all which hopefully again helps others to know they are not alone.
Documenting the journey to this song was so tough. I actually didn’t document it with this visual in mind, it just happened to be right when I decided to use the song. It’s a perfect fit though and shows the true side of my mental health. Again, with the visual, I’m hoping to shine a light and let others know they are not alone with this isolating illness.
How does “Beautiful World” compare to anything else that you have released before?
“Beautiful World” is my most vulnerable song to date lyrically. It’s truly a step inside my mind. I’ve never written about this before, in such a to the point kind of way.
When do you plan on releasing more new music and a full collection of new songs?
I’m just going to keep releasing. The next song we are gearing up to release may come out this summer. After that, I will probably just keep releasing more. I was going to do an EP but now I really just want to keep putting songs out. That’s the thing; things always change in this industry so you have to be able to change with them.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you plan to tour at all this summer or later this year? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
Right now I’m focusing on putting out new music and trying to build a really good following and expose my songs more online. I will hopefully perform more soon, potentially including this summer. As soon as I know anything, it will be up on my social platforms so follow along!
My favorite performance so far was when I played School Night in LA a few years back. I jumped into the audience and got to the back of the venue and started climbing stairs; it was epic!! People didn’t know what to do!
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started singing and writing songs?
I’m more mature. I know what I like and what I don’t. I accept myself and I have more faith in myself. I’ve definitely been tainted by the music industry, but that’s good in a way because I’m no longer naive. I understand business and I feel my craft has grown stronger. I just feel like I’m a completely different person to the boy that started. To be honest, I can’t believe how far I’ve come, with all the odds stacked against me, and I’m still here, holding on, waiting for that moment of luck to strike. 🙂
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career?
It can be draining! I love my fans so much. I make music for myself and for them. I love connecting with them, talking, sharing things, but sometimes it’s so hard to do it all. I’m on 5 platforms – insta, fb, tw, tumblr, youtube and there is pressure to continue to put out good content.
My favorite platform is Instagram. That is where I’m most active because I’m a visual person. Social media has allowed me to connect with my fans and show them who I really am. That’s what’s important; to show the real me. It can’t be twisted; it’s a direct line to me. That’s amazing! They can really follow me and get to know me because I feel like I’m 100 percent myself on insta! Crazy scary warts and all!!
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Prince, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West, David Bowie, Queen, Elton John, Nicki Minaj, Calvin Harris, Zedd, Julia Michaels, so so many.
I would love to work with Kanye, and this dope new artist 070shake; she is so sick. I would also love to work with Zedd or Calvin or an EDM producer as I love dance music too. I would be open to working with most people if it felt real and felt right, ya know!
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
OMG! I wouldn’t even know where to begin. A lot of dancing, a lot of locations around the world, maybe the seven wonders, actually maybe even go dance on the moon!!
Where would you absolutely love to hear one of your songs? On a TV show, in a movie or elsewhere? I know that you did have a song on the soundtrack for Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why.” What does that mean to you?
13 Reasons Why means a lot to me because mental health is so close to my heart and it’s what I stand for. This was a dream and an honor. I love Pose on FX sooooooo much so I would love to get a song in that. It would also be awesome to a theme tune song; that would be so sick!
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Truth. Hope. Honesty. To feel less alone and inspired to make a change.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Go stream “Beautiful World”! Go share it! Tell ya friends, tell ya wife, ya kids, ya grand parents, tell everyone!! I want to do more good together!!
k thanks byeeeeeeeeeeeeee