EXCLUSIVE: CelebMix chats to Leonelle

Leonelle is a Los Angeles based singer and dancer who’s been destined for success since she was a little girl.

Dedicating her younger years to music and performing, she joined numerous stage groups and musicals whilst also filming her own shows at home. At the age of 12, Leonelle was already writing her own music as well as training in many forms of dance. With a love for pop music, in addition to RnB, hip hop and more, she became inspired by all kinds of artists.

In 2010, Leonelle took the plunge and made the brave decision to move to LA to pursue her musical dreams. Since then she has been grafting hard, taking inspiration from her life and everything around her in order to create her own blend of urban pop.

Her latest offering, ‘Tears In My Head’, is a fusion of pop and RnB. Leonelle’s unique vocal flows over the fresh beat, creating a slick track which is bound to be stuck in your head after one listen. The track is personal to Leonelle and comes from the heart, however, it’s also a song which many people will resonate with.

We recently spoke to Leonelle on the phone and discussed ‘Tears In My Head’, how LA has influenced her as a person, how she likes to relax and more. Check it out below!


Hi, Leonelle! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. How’s your week been so far?

It’s been good! I’ve been in the studio a lot which is always nice. 

So we should start with your latest single ‘Tears In My Head’, which we’re loving here at CelebMix! What was the inspiration behind the song?

Thank you! ‘Tears In My Head’ is pretty much about acknowledging all of the crazy s*** that goes on in our heads. I know I struggle with that, whether it’s insecurity or fear, all of those voices which are completely not real. It’s about acknowledging them and knowing it’s okay and letting them go. It’s a very ‘let go’ record. 

What was the creative process like? How did you go about writing it?

I got into the studio, we had no direction or anything in mind, which usually is the coolest way to go in, as what comes out is natural. I was just in there working with the guitarist laying down melodies and the words ‘tears in my head’ came out. I was like, “oh, I actually really like that, let’s go with this!”. That kind of inspired me to write about how I struggle with talking back to those voices in my head.

Do you have any plans for a music video? If so, do you have any ideas for the concept?

I would love to shoot a music video but it hasn’t happened yet obviously. Being an independent artist, it isn’t as easy to shoot a video right away but it’s in the works for our future plans. When it does get solidified I’d like to sit down and really go through the concept. I want it to be really meaningful, personal and intimate so when I do solidify a video I will go back and brainstorm.

We hear you’re working on releasing remixes of ‘Tears In My Head’. How is the process coming along, and how do you go about finding the right people to put their stamp on your track?

I’m super excited about the remixes! I love letting people put their vision and talent on the song, it’s really interesting to hear what they come up with. My manager knows a lot of DJs, one of which is all the way out in South Africa named Euphonik who will be releasing a remix. I think each remix is different and that’s what I wanted, different sounds for each remix. We’re working on the release of that right now. 

We can’t wait to hear them! Music has been a huge part of your life since you were a child. Have you always wanted a career in music, or did you have other plans in mind?

I have ALWAYS wanted a career in music since I can remember and I remember my whole life being like “okay, you’re just preparing for this future in music”. When I was younger I gravitated towards TV and the radio and I would come home and make up my own dance routines and record music videos. I started getting into voice lessons at nine years old, and dance competitions, musicals and what not. I was always drawn to that and I nurtured that growing up. I’ve always known, even through high school, I went to college orientation but I went there and thought “this isn’t for me”, so I moved to LA where I previously worked with some people. I came out here and started working non-stop, following my dream!

As you mentioned, you moved to LA to pursue your music career. How has the city influenced you musically and as a person?

It’s influenced me a lot…who knows how much really, but I know that when I came out here, I was young and hadn’t been on my own so I really feel like I became a woman in LA. I moved here when I was 18, I’d been so confident my whole life and I really just went after it and did what I needed to do but there was a lot of fear and compare and despair, all the things that came along with that. I definitely learned through a lot of my experiences and struggles with thinking that I needed to be a certain way, that I needed to be good enough to make it. I overcame a lot of those things, and now I feel like I’m at this place where I am me, and I don’t really care what other people think. I’ve learned to embrace myself and my imperfections, just to let go and let the universe show me the way. Los Angeles has been hard at times, and I definitely wanted to give up at times but it’s made me stronger and more self-aware for sure.

Musically, I came out here and started working with some people every day all day – we’d just get into the studio and write. That happened for a while and it was just a beautiful experience. The writer that I worked with passed away a year ago, so I got to reflect on that recently too. As every artist I’m sure knows, it takes a while to find yourself and your sound and direction. Sometimes you think you know and you don’t know, so I’ve been finding more of my sound and who I am during this process.

You’re always writing new material – can you tell us one of your favourite lyrics that you’ve ever written?

I really like starting off my songs with intense lyrics. For ‘Tears In My Head’ it was “the sunshine feels like rain on my skin” so maybe that!

Which three artists would you say have had the biggest musical influence on you?

When I was younger, definitely Britney Spears. She initially magnetized me, I was so drawn to her! I’m inspired by so many different artists. Some that come to mind are Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, and Usher.

You’ve trained in forms of dance, and you incorporate dance routines into your performances. What does dance mean to you?

Growing up, all I knew was dance. I joined a bunch of stage performance groups and that’s where I fell in love with dance. From there, I started taking dance classes and what not, and it’s just what I know when it comes to music.  It goes together and it sets the vibe for me for a show, by using dance and music. 

You also practice muay thai and weight training – when you’re not busy with your musical or physical activity, how do you like to relax?

Moving to LA, I’ve definitely become more spiritual so I practice that, meditating and I do yoga which has been an amazing experience for me. I like to relax by just hanging out with my friends and my boyfriend. I love a good flick or Showtime HBO series, a glass of wine, a nice dinner. Just homebody stuff!

View this post on Instagram

Just expressing how much I love wine. Which is a lot. ??

A post shared by Leonelle (@iamleonelle) on

What’s the one thing you hope people will take away from your music?

To feel like they are not alone. To feel that they can relate and that they can be inspired by what my experiences and struggles were and what my hopes are. That’s what I hear when I’m listening to music, I want to feel related to and feel inspired.

What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you?

Definitely, definitely new music. I don’t know what 2017 really has in store for me. I’ve come to learn to just dedicate myself and leave the results up to some power bigger than me. I plan to collaborate with more amazing people so that is on the radar.

Do you have any gigs planned?

Not as of right now. I’m in the studio right now but I’m going to get back into performing here soon and I’m super excited because ‘Tears In My Head’ was all live music. We recorded drums and guitar all live, so I’m excited to do a live gig!

Hopefully, we’ll get to catch you live soon! Thank you for your time and good luck with ‘Tears In My Head’.

Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it!

Thank you to Leonelle for chatting with us! Keep up to date with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

‘Tears In My Head’ is available now.

Share your thoughts on our interview with Leonelle on Twitter @CelebMix








Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina
Email: katrinanaomirees@gmail.com