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Lea Anderson: “Music is a lifeline for me”

One should approach Lea Anderson’s artistry with an open heart, getting ready to be inspired and hypnotized by the American songstress’ authenticity and fragility. A multi-talented creative, Anderson is a gifted singer, songwriter and musician, boasting a powerful soprano voice and the ability to play flute. It all plays a part in Lea’s artistic universe, often built on heart-shaking ballads and acoustic matter, drenched in romantic and nostalgic lyricism.

‘Heaven Knows’ is her latest effort, a slice of pure, unfiltered poignancy developed over an elegant and evocative piano arrangement. Anderson’s luscious vocals crown the single with charisma and confidence, showcasing their massively hypnotising character and Lea’s musical prowess. 

Intrigued by the project, we caught up with Anderson to find out more about her artistry and future goals… interview below!

Hey Lea, how is it going? You are clearly a very skilful and talented singer and musician. Can you tell us what music means for you? Is creating art making your reality better?

Music is a lifeline for me. Writing my story and aligning it with instrumentation is therapeutic. Through art, I can convey my grief, excitement about a new love, or fight for a cause in a constructive way. With music, I could spread the messages further than my speaking voice could. The best part is that it may help someone who may be going through something larger than me.

Your current work is the result of a long journey; What first drew you to making music?

I remember watching Mariah Carey on television when I was young. I’ll never forget how I felt when I heard her sing “Can’t Let Go.” I wanted to make people feel the way she made me feel. From the first moment I touched the stage, I knew that’s where I wanted to be forever. Anything that I’ve ever tried to do, or if I tried to be anything other than a musician, would slip through my fingers. The universe would take me out of that position and offer a performance opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Making music is my divine purpose.

If you had the opportunity to pick any artists in the world for a collaboration, who would be your first choice? (and second choice, perhaps?)

If KES the Band invited me to sing along with them, I would say yes without hesitation. I am currently spending a lot of time in the Caribbean, and I am mesmerized by the island sounds I am finding here. There is so much passion and love in every chord. There’s musical inspiration in the ocean waves and the birds chirping. The rhythm of the land got me belting in Spanish these days.

You recently released an evocative single, ‘Heaven Knows’, a gentle and soft acoustic gem built on a poignant piano and crowned by your stunning vocals. How did the song come across?

I saw Donna Summers before I heard her voice. In my grandmother’s house in Southeast DC, in the basement, there was a poster of her on the wall. I was so young and thought, “WOW! Her voice must be so incredible that one would want to hang her up on their wall!” I grew up singing and hoping one day someone would put me on their wall. As I got older, I was introduced to her mature sultry sound. I understood the captivation. I loved the airy shapes she would create with her notes. It was so different than any voice I’ve heard before and it motivated me.

So, I began to study her technique. As I took a deep dive into the internet, I read that “Heaven Knows” was meant to be a ballad written for her soon-to-be second husband. I thought, “Hmmmm… That would be interesting to hear.” Now it has come to life, I am very proud of how it came out. I think it is so important to honour those who came before us. Especially as a black woman, there is a stigma that “we” don’t have any history. That negates the effect that black people had on the country, and we made it with our hands. It’s evident in hip-hop, it’s in jazz, it’s in rock and roll. It’s in disco. My history is Donna Summers. That’s where I came from.

Do you feel at home in such a stripped-back format? We’d say it suits you very well, as we are able to notice all the nuances in your voice 🙂

I love all genres of music and experimenting with them makes me feel at home. I have an interesting tone. I don’t sound like anyone. I release tracks with one instrument so that people can experience the colour of my unique voice. Especially since I hear people complain about everyone in the music industry sounding the same. I stay away from melodyne or autotune. If you take a listen to my debut album, Pronounced Lee Deluxe, I have a multitude of different genres on there. Songs like “Wait 4 U” and “Save the Rain” were all recorded with a live band. “More Than I Could” has a live cellist. I actually beatbox on “Mine.” “Love Yah” sounds like that just because I just wanted a song that sounded like that lol.

Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?

I am always pretty confident lol. But I prefer to tell my story alone so that no one else can tell me how it was or what it should be. Basically, I write my own lyrics. However, a musical team introduces new perspectives that I couldn’t have noticed by myself. Every artist is different and could add seasonings to the overall sound, significantly enhancing it. So, if I have the opportunity to work with someone else, I take it. Besides, there are so many hella talented people I want to work with!

Artistically speaking, what challenges have the last two years presented you with?

When I recorded “Heaven Knows” I was a Main Stage Performer on Disney’s Wonder Cruise Ship. I only had a small window to record in Vancouver, British Columbia. It almost didn’t happen, but I was determined. With our busy schedule, getting in the studio was tough. I only went to a studio two days in 2023. Luckily, I finished an hour before my all-aboard time. It was a fun challenge. I had to make sure I had everything recorded exactly how I needed it. I could not waste time because all I had was six hours at port. I probably won’t ever come back. But it all worked out, and we got pictures to prove it! Shout out to Blue Light Studio.

What are the next steps for your project? Anything exciting on the horizon?

This winter, I purged a lot of emotion. I did a lot of healing really fast. Therefore, I wrote very fast. So please, make sure to follow me on Instagram. That is where I announce all of my upcoming releases.


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