In a society that tends to shy away from taboo topics, Leo Law strays from the path. In fact, he’s forging his own way in the music industry. The creative London artist is not afraid to address the darker aspects of humanity.
His single ‘Let Your Guard Down‘ is inspired by his first experiences on gay dating apps. ‘Let Your Guard Down’ incorporates Leo Law’s rich vocals with an evocative message. The accompanying music video depicts a disturbing alternate society where dating is treated as a sport. ‘Let Your Guard Down’ confronts the threat that social media can pose to modern-day relationships.
His track ‘Buried‘ explores the dangers of addiction. The song begins with heavy synths and a gloomy tone but gradually descends into an upbeat pop melody. The song is paired with visuals that allude to films and other music videos like Donnie Darko and Freddie Mercury.
I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Leo about his musical inspirations, his experience in the industry so far, and what’s next for his career.
Mia Vittimberga: So what drew you to music? Have you always wanted to be a singer?
Leo Law: I’ve always loved singing, and I’ve always wanted to be involved in music in some way. I guess it was a natural progression. I love how singing allows me to express myself, and I grew up loving early 90s pop groups. But it’s one of those things that’s hard to explain. I just love it.
Can you describe what your music-making process is like?
I don’t really have a specific process when it comes to writing. It varies from song to song. There’s always one starting point though. A catchy lyric, a set of chords, or a melody. Usually, that starting point comes from an experience I’ve had. That helps me decide what I want the rest of the song to be about. After that, I just write it. No specific process. But I do love working with other writers and producers. I think that my best work comes from collaboration.
If you didn’t become a musician, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
It’s always been music to me, I’ve never really had a Plan B. But I’ve sometimes thought about alternatives. I’d probably work as a dog groomer or something. Love dogs.
What do you love most about working in the music industry?
I love the whole creative aspect of it. Writing, producing, working in the studio, collaborating with different artists – it just feels really, really, good. It’s a super rewarding thing to be a part of. Finishing a song, and being happy with the result, is so satisfying for me. I also love performing live and seeing how everyone reacts to my music.
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, what do you hate most about it?
I wouldn’t say I hate it, but I resent social media slightly. I think it’s amazing to connect with people who enjoy my music, but I’m naturally quite introverted. I don’t enjoy the pressure to post regularly and the expectation that I should be putting my whole life on display. Sometimes it feels like a necessary evil to be successful in this industry, so I kind of resent that.
How do you think your music style has evolved over time?
As I’ve gotten older and continued to write, I guess my music style has gradually evolved and matured. I think I just figure out what kind of artist I want to be as I go along. I’m still figuring things out, and I’m constantly developing. My work is always inspired by my emotional state and life experiences. So maybe the different things I’ve gone through have caused my style to unconsciously evolve.
What artists do you think have had the most influence on your music?
I like to say that I’m influenced by everything I’ve ever heard. Everything we listen to, whether we enjoy it or not, can influence how and what we write. But I’d say that my influences are an eclectic mix of James Blake, Sade, Amy Winehouse, and Jeff Buckley.
If you could collaborate on a song with any artist, living or dead, who would you pick?
I’d love to collaborate with Bjork. I find her songwriting, vocals, and visuals so inspiring and so unique. I think that would be a really interesting collaboration.
What are some of your favorite songs by other artists?
My current top three are ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker’ by Prince, ‘Didn’t Cha Know’ by Erykah Badu, and ‘Into You’ by Ariana Grande.
Have you done any live performances? If so, which one has been the most memorable?
I haven’t done any recently, but I’ve performed live, for sure. There was a show I played a while ago at ‘The Social’ on Little Portland Street which stuck out to me. I hadn’t played live in a while so the audience was full of supportive friends. At one point I forgot the lyrics to one of my songs and my friend at the front sung them back to me. It just felt really good to be back on stage after a long time.
What do you feel is your best, or favorite, song that you’ve ever written?
I can’t say specifically. But I will say I’m verrrrrry excited about some of the stuff I’ve got coming.
Have you faced any difficulties as an LGBT artist? What’s your experience been like?
In the music industry itself, I’m not sure. I’ve sometimes felt that people have been reluctant to work with me because I’m gay, but that’s about it. In general though, for sure I’ve faced obstacles. Those have mainly occurred in the form of internalized homophobia and self hatred. I’m working on it, and I’m improving, but for a long time I felt so ashamed of who I was. And that shame led to many years of insomnia and depression. So I’d say that’s a pretty significant obstacle.
I’d also love to talk about your music videos. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the visuals for ‘Let Your Guard Down’ and ‘Buried’?
I collaborated on the visuals for both those videos with my good friend Dottee Simone. We’ve known each other for about 13 or 14 years so we’re super comfortable with each other and work really well together. Our initial thought is always to take the message of the song and enhance it with the visual. We like to start by brainstorming what we would create in an ideal world where we had unlimited funds and then scaling it back to a point where it’s achievable for us to do totally DIY on a limited budget. In terms of visual inspiration, Dottee pulls from artists like Juno Calypso, Pipilloti Rist, and James Turrell who all use color in a really emotive way. I watch a lot of anime and dystopian stuff like Black Mirror. So we kind of combine those influences and create something colorful and slightly absurdist.
What do you see yourself doing in a few years?
My goal has always been to travel and play my music to people around the world. Beyond that, I don’t really have any goals… but I’d be grateful for any amount of success.
Is there anything you’re currently working on that you’d like to talk about?
I’ll have some more music out later this year but I haven’t decided what yet! Keep an eye out.
Featured image via Spotify