Both sweet and sultry, much like herself, Leerone's Heart Shaped Bullets
(released at the end of 2012) takes on an empowering aspect of songwriting and singing reminiscent of singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple and Nancy Sinatra.
The Los Angeles songstress by way of Israel has always been a fan of recording ballads, but wanted to take her sound in a different, edgier direction with Heart Shaped Bullets
. Her take on soulful rock music results in catchy songs with memorable hooks.
We spoke with Leerone about feminism, growing up and going back to Israel and finding a deeper meaning in music.
Is Leerone your real name?
Yeah, it actually is my birth given name.
And you're from Israel?
Yeah. Born in Israel. I lived there for about nine months and then my parents moved to Los Angeles. I have a lot of family there. We used to go back for the whole summer and sometimes for winter break. I spent a lot of time growing up there. Hebrew was my first language.
I went to Israel a few years ago. It was beautiful! I had an awesome time. Just to get right into it, Heart Shaped Bullets has a tinge of Riot Grrl in it. Do you consider yourself a big feminist or very much into women empowerment?
Wow! I consider myself it's just so fascinating to hear other people's perspectives I consider myself a human empowerment person. I definitely connected with feminism in passing when I first starting reading feminist literature. It spoke to me. It was like someone's articulating how I feel. I would say that it's in my DNA; there's no way to escape it. The album itself isn't meant to be about female empowerment in a feminist sense. At least my intention about it was about feeling alive: connecting with the part of myself that hadn't been expressed fully in past albums. It's the part that's more fiery and bad ass. It's more about feeling alive and connecting with aliveness, sexuality and fire. Does that make sense?
It definitely does. Who have some musical influences been for you?
That's a good question. So many influences. My first love boyfriend was definitely a huge influence. He still makes music. It's called The Cairo Gang. His music was very influential. It is interesting because when I heard his music, I was so moved by it that it helped me realize that I wanted to make my own music. I connected with it so much, I was like "oh my God, I want to make music." Not, "I want," but "I need, I need to make music." I remember hearing it for the first time in high school. I could tell he was connecting with something that felt like it was not from this world, like there was a deeper aspect to it. It really touched me.
So, which song was the most meaningful to you on the album?
That's a good question. They're all meaningful. They all represent a different perspective. Let me think about that. They're all babies: which of your kids do you like better? They're all special in their own way. Let's go over the song titles. Okay, I'm going through it in my head. Yeah. Okay, same answer.
How did you come up with the name Heart Shaped Bullets?
With this album, I really wanted to connect with that other part of myself, the fiery, feisty, bad ass part of myself because to me, heartfelt ballads come very naturally. I play piano, and I can sit at the piano and have this gushy, heartfelt thing come out. It's sweet. I was looking at my past work and all of the songs that I had written; there was a lot of sweetness, which is definitely an aspect of my personality. I was really feeling like there was this part of me that was dying to be expressed. So, I wanted the title to be reflective of that fire, but I also wanted it to be reflective of that sweetness. It's not the music itself, and my personality, that is not just sweet or just feisty. As people, we have infinite layers of our personalities. I wanted the title to be reflective of these aspects. Heart Shaped Bullets
just came to me while I was driving. I loved it because I think it reflects the sweet and the fire: the juxtaposition of opposites. It's like, I'm going to fucking kill you with love.
"She's Your Bird" reflects Leerone's penchant for the retro-feel of music with jazzy vocals. Hear it below.
It's called Follow Friday for a reason. We urge you to keep track of Leerone via Facebook and Twitter.