Meet The Artist - Leonard Friend

Here at Jay Swag we love to introduce you to new artists! Our friends over at Sneak Attack Media called our attention to Leonard Friend. Jay Swag's senior journalist Jeff Skomsky recently chatted with Leonard Friend to get you guys all the information you need! Check out their interview below.

 First off can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself?
 “Sure.  My name is Alex.  I write songs.  I dance.  I have improbably tall hair.”

 Let’s talk about Leonard Friend, your “alter- ego,” what is the back story behind him?
 “Leonard Friend is my grandfather's name.  After my former band broke up I wanted to step outside myself a little bit as a means of stretching what I'm capable of.  This is my way of doing that.  My grandfather's dream was to be a musician but he grew up in a family where it simply wasn't possible.  So I guess I'm using his his memory to test my boundaries a little and see how far I can take both of our dreams.”     

Your music is described as a hybrid of R&B, Pop and Indie, where did this combination of music come from?
“It's really what came naturally for me.  I've always listened to a wide variety of music, always played in rock bands and R&B groups.  For this record I wanted to make songs that felt like they had big club grooves but were still more personal and raw than your average pop record. “

 After your career in New York, as the front man of the XYZ Affair, what influenced your decision to move across the country and become “Leonard Friend?”
  “I did XYZ for so long, I just knew it was time for a change.  I felt exhausted and my creative interests were in a different place.  The decision came pretty suddenly.  I was thinking things over in the shower and I just felt very definitively that I needed to end XYZ and start Leonard Friend.”

Your debut EP, Lynyrd Frynd, is going to be released electronically on January 31, what was your inspiration behind it.
  “I can't say there was one specific inspiration except that I wanted music through which I could express myself lyrically, but also music that made me want to dance so I could express myself that way.  I hope it makes other people want to dance as well, and I hope other people find meaning in the lyrics as well.”  

 What does Lynyrd Frynd mean to you as an artist?
 “I consider this EP to be a new beginning.  The change in creative process has taken a lot of getting used to, which is why the record took me so long to finish.  I demoed things, redemoed them, recorded them, rerecorded them, mixed them, remixed them, etc.  I feel really thrilled with it.  I also feel really thrilled with where it's left me creatively as I begin working on more music.  It flows much more easily for me now.”  
Looking back at your musical career, who or what would you say is your biggest influence?
“I feel like 50% of pop singers would say this, but Michael Jackson is and always has been my biggest influence, bar none.  He's an incredible dancer and his timing is impeccable.  He's an unbelievable singer and the emotion with which he songs his songs is unreal.  He's an amazing songwriter and his albums are solid from start to finish.  The man was the complete package and yet he never stopped working to improve himself, and THAT is what inspires me the most.  I could probably practice singing and dancing until the day I die and never be as incredible as he was, but I'll keep working to get as close as I humanly can!”

 If you had the chance to make a duet with any other artist or person who would that be?
 “I've actually never thought about this before, but my answer is Linda Rondstadt.  My favorite movie was the film adaptation of "The Pirates of Penzance," starring Linda Rondstadt as Mabel, the female lead.  The music from that show is gorgeous, and there are a couple amazing duets between her and Rex Smith, the male lead.  So I think in an effort to live out my childhood dream, I'd like to record something with Linda Rondstadt.”
Lastly is there anything you would like to tell the JaySwag audience, about yourself or your music? 
“Keep an eye out!  2012 is going to be a wonderful year.”

-Jay P & Jeff Skomsky- 


Anonymous said...

Im going to have to listen to his music now. Hope it's good ;)

Anonymous said...

wow he's pretty good actually. It's respectable that he's doing it for his grandpop. I lost my grandparents and now I just want to make em proud of me do I get where he's coming from.

TaylorX0 said...

Aw so adorable. Glad u introduced him

Kristina said...

Def feeling the music. Good interview. Is Jeff gnna be doing more things now.

Anonymous said...

this guys pretty good jeff did a good job haha. hopefully 2012 is good for Leonard Friend

Anonymous said...

Seems like a cool guy