EXCLUSIVE: CelebMix Interview with Bars and Melody

CelebMix speaks to Bars and Melody’s Charlie Lenehan ahead of 2019’s ‘Choke’ and about what fans can expect from the new era. 

In 2014 Bars and Melody broke the internet with their Britain’s Got Talent audition. That audition, the first time the public heard the infamous single ‘Hopeful’, now approaches 200 million views on YouTube.

Nearly five years on and Charlie Lenehan and Leondre Devries are no longer inexperienced teenagers. The 20-year-old and 18-year-old are young adults who are ready to take full control of their musical direction.

The group’s sophomore, and most impressive record to date, Generation Z was released just over a year ago. Its 13 tracks marked a departure from 2015’s 123, their debut album, which was very much two teenagers finding their feet.

In both its lyrical content and production, Generation Z is an album dripping with originality. It went down a treat with fans, led to a European tour and, quite frankly, deserved to reach an even bigger audience. However, for Lenehan, that record “was not 100% what we wanted to be doing”.

“Generation Z was a transition album. It’s going from the pop cheesy boy-band that we were before, into a new age.”

“We love that album but we couldn’t just jump to what we are doing now, we had to give it time.”

What Bars and Melody are doing now is preparing for the release of upcoming record, Choke, in early 2019. Whilst speaking with Lenehan, it is clear that fans have a heck of a lot to be excited about – Choke is Bars and Melody fully taking the reigns.

“It’s a lot more of a mature vibe. A mixed range of music and styles. We’ve worked with a few different producers, we don’t just stick to one producer.”

“People aren’t going to expect what’s coming”, he tells CelebMix. When pushed to boil Choke down to three words, “diverse”, “different” and “unexpected” are the ones he chooses.

Fans have already had a one track preview of the Bars and Melody era. Current single, ‘Put Ü First’, was released last month and is an electronically-charged comeback track that packs one mighty punch.

“‘Put Ü Frist was done with the producer Danny Shah, he’s a good friend of ours. I just sat down with him and went over what was going on in my life at the time and we wrote the song together.”

The single comes with a new music video, which sees Charlie and Leo fight their inner demons. “The concept was Leo’s idea”, Lenehan tells us, “it was to do with beating yourself up and feeling beaten up all the time”.

As phenomenal as Generation Z is, it is already clear that ‘Put Ü First’ is that maturer sound that Lenehan talks of. He points to Lil Peep as an inspiration for Leo and “R&B singers like Bryson Tiller and Chris Brown” as his own. These are two boys who know the directions they want to move in.

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Grass ain’t greener @chrisbrownofficial

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“It’s developing as an artist and trying to find where you want to be. It’s important for us to find that now and we want our fan base to grow with us.”

“That’s the priority with this album. We’ve been going for four years now so fans that were 15, are now 19 and are getting older as well.”

It is easy to see that the fan-base is something Lenehan holds close to his heart. He speaks of Bars and Melody embarking on the new era and it is a journey that they want to take the fans on.

“A lot of artists are big now of days because they are so in people’s faces and they just fall in love with them and not their music. That’s not the vibe me and Leo are going for. We’re musicians, we are artists.”

“I genuinely believe, I know all the artist say it, but I genuinely believe we have one of the strongest fan bases out there. How devoted they are, how patient they are. They are incredible. A lot of people who are even bigger than us are surprised at how great it is.”

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Signed a coffee cup today. Going up in the world

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Bars and Melody are one of a few hugely talented younger artists who are starting to make a big impression on the music industry. Lenehan points to his friends and fellow young music makers as other inspirations.

“It’s good to see so many other young artists doing well. HRVY I grew up with, I was living with him at one point. Last time I saw HRVY he was under the radar, no one really knew him, knew what he was doing, I haven’t seen him in two years for and all of a sudden he’s huge all over the radio with millions of followers and hundreds of thousands of likes on his photos. It’s a good feeling, he’s a good kid, he’s really talented. I hit him up recently and just said, ‘Yo, how is the family and stuff. Good to see you’re doing well.'”

“Marcus & Martinus we know really well too, they are good kids. Johnny Orlando we have spent so much time with, a really nice family. It’s good to see someone you are close with do really well.”

As Choke approaches, it’s a hugely exciting time for Bars and Melody. Charlie and Leo have a lot to say and are ready to say it – exactly how they want to.

Are you looking forward to Choke as much as us? Bars and Melody are also heading out on tour in 2019, check out the dates below and tell us which ones you’ll be going to @CelebMix on Twitter!

Written by Toby Bryant

Student journalist: music, sport, culture and just about anything in-between… Have worked for The Courier, NME, Daily Mirror, FourFourTwo & British Rowing, amongst others.
@toby_bryant_ on Instagram and Twitter.