By Allison Scuderi
LeLe XO is a young, rising star whose freshness and contagious lyrics easily bring about a smile and a hip- sway. Thought she is considered a pop artist, her musicality spans a variety of genres with a wide audience and youthful appeal. She draws influences from hardcore music, life and an extended stay Los Angeles. Lately LeLe XO is gathering attention – far beyond the reaches of the Midwest from where she hails.
Come and get to know Lele XO.
A: What was the first concert you attended?
L: I think it was actually Britney Spears. I was a huge fan of hers throughout my childhood. I don’t really remember the concert since I was so young, but I remember the Hillary Duff and Avril Lavigne concerts. My mom made an outfit just like Avril’s for me to wear.
A: What other artists have influenced your sound?
L: I love so many different genres of music and I think that creates a different sound for me. I’ve loved hardcore bands for years and there’s a few I still listen to like Memphis May Fire and Volumes. During my teenage years, I was all about Lady Gaga and Paramore, who I still love today along with Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse, and the Weeknd. I’m currently getting into some classics like Led Zeppelin, Elvis, etc…
A: Tell me about your artistic process.
L: I’ve tried a few different approaches with song writing, but I noticed what works best for me is to be in my room by myself on my computer.
A: Do you see yourself as a role model for young women? If so, how?
L: It’s hard to see yourself in that kind of light, but I’ve had multiple fans come to me for advice, so I feel like it’s my job to take on that role. I’ve always struggled with weight issues and I think that’s something super relatable for young women.
A: When you are writing your lyrics, do you feel as if it’s a way for you to express who you are as a person, or more of a character portrayal? Do you write all of your lyrics or do you collaborate? How do you choose the material you sing about?
L: I write all of my songs, but I’ve also had some collaborations where they have altered a few sentences or helped me finish it. My way of writing is usually through a character explaining my story. I don’t get super emotional in my songs. I kind of have a theme that I like to continue throughout my music and visuals. I’m super big with titles: if I like how something sounds as a title, I hear a song.
A: How has your sound evolved over time? How do you envision your music changing in the future?
L: I go through different phases. A few songs will sound like this, then a few songs will sound like that. I’m the same way with my style: I can’t just have one. I think I’ll always be changing, whether it’s growing or experimenting. I love so many genres of music so I definitely think that’s how my music will change. You can see a variety of work on my website: iamlelexo.com.
A: How do you feel about acting as opposed to singing on stage? Do you think an acting career could happen for you? Is that something you would like to achieve?
L: I’ve always loved the theatrical aspect of certain performances and portraying a character. Plus being in the studio and feeling a specific emotion is a part of acting, along with music videos.I’ve also done some background work as an extra on TV shows in which I do enjoy and would be curious to do more. My IMDB online lists some of the shows I’ve been in http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6970435/
A: Your music has been described as both pop and R&B but I also hear electronic influences – how would you sum up your musical style?
L: Sometimes I don’t know how to describe it because there are so many different elements in it. I classify it as pop but I notice when I introduce myself as pop to most people, they give me this look of “oh, just pop”. Then they hear my music and can feel that it’s something different. I definitely have a darker, mysterious, alternative side and I think that peeps through.
A: How do you keep mentally and physically fit for your performances?
L: You have to surround yourself with good people, which isn’t always the case, but you just learn to get in the zone and sometimes a drink helps. I like cute little Martinis lol. Getting back into the gym again is a really good way to feel mentally and physically prepared, strong and confident.
A: You are very savvy with social media: how do you stay up with trends and adapt to the different mediums? How do you handle any potential negative feedback that comes to you?
L: It’s easy to watch what other people are doing and throw some of that in your own process, but it’s better to be organic. The platforms are always changing and it gets frustrating to manage all of these accounts, you kind of have to pick up on which one is more useful. Negative feedback can be digested or ignored. It depends if it’s a rude comment or an honest opinion. I get a little bit of advice from our mentor at Why Blue Matters, a creative branding solutions agency.
A: Did your nine-month stint in LA open your eyes to a different side of the music industry? What did you learn and what are you still striving to learn more about?
L: It opened my eyes to a whole different lifestyle. There’s definitely always something to learn in this industry, but it really, really taught me a lot. I realize how naive I was then and it’s crazy to look back and think about how different my mindset was at the time. I’ve learned so many things, but the end result is always putting yourself out there and meeting the right people. The amazing part is I put most of the LA experience into songs if you listen carefully to the lyrics. But Shhh, not naming any names (wink).
A: Is there a tour in your future? Tell me more about what’s ahead for yourself and your fans.
L: The main thing about my fans, of course, as with any artist, the fans give me life and fuel my ambition to keep creating. We are currently putting together the LELE XO X OUT TOUR and then I will eventually (collaborate) on a bigger tour with a well-known artist. I have several dates booked for August in Flint, Michigan at Flintiest on August 7th and in Downtown Detroit for Detroit Hug Fest August 28 (https://www.facebook.com/HugdetroitWithalittlelove).
I am also in the midst of working on my album! We will be releasing the rollout when I finish the last few songs. You can stay updated on IAMLELEXO.COM and follow my twitter and instagram @iamleleXO for more information or just email me and say Hello!!