The streets of Los Angeles should be flooded with the sounds of LÉA THE LEOX, a genre-defying artist with East Coast ties and West Coast vibes. The 23-year-old LA based singer/songwriter has teamed up with Genius Distro to create her debut EP, following a rollout of strong singles including “When You’re Lonely” and “Purpose.” With the production and mix done by her long-time collaborator ObieIII and the support of Kayvan Daragheh of Genius Distro, “PURPOSE” looks to set a new standard for LÉA THE LEOX’s music. The project blends R&B, Folk and Pop into a harmonious collection of songs. Each track flows into the next and LÉA THE LEOX does an excellent job of telling her story. This is one of the most cohesive projects I’ve heard this year and it genuinely gives inspiration to all who listen, including fellow artists.
The EP showcases LÉA THE LEOX’s smooth tone and soft harmonies that take inspiration from Yebba and Moses Sumney, adding to her growing catalog that is flushed with diversity, reminiscent of Kehlani and Lucky Daye’s work. LÉA is able to draw on her real-life experiences and uses those moments to relate to her fans. The lyrics in each track are deep and meaningful, all while being easy to comprehend and understand. Her words touch on the duality of the human and spiritual experience, highlighting her vulnerability and passion. LÉA THE LEOX owns her identity as a queer woman of color and brings her takes on everyday themes to the forefront within her music. Prior to the release of LÉA THE LEOX’s EP “PURPOSE,” LÉA has garnered some recent attention with her inclusion on MTV’s Bop Shop and Spotify’s “Fresh Finds R&B” Playlist. Her last lead-up single “Purpose” also peaked as #3 on Audiomack. With the help of the Dolby Atmos Accelerator Program, LÉA THE LEOX made a name for herself at SXSW performing at Dolby House. She has also hit the stage at Highland Park Bowl, Culver Hotel LA, Adults Only LA, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Viper Room, Drom NYC, The Rookery Chicago, and more.
“PURPOSE” starts off with the popular “When You’re Lonely” which dropped earlier this year. The ambience this song creates is matched perfectly with its visuals. The track focuses on boldness, surrounded by a cinematic soundscape and strong vocal effects. Pain and resilience is the topic of this track with production that sets the bar high for the rest of the project. “You just want to get inside, but you never want to hear what’s on my mind.” Relatability is something we’ve always known LÉA THE LEOX would excel at, but this song hits so many people deep in their hearts. The heartbreak and betrayal this song gives is the perfect set up to the next track in the project.
From pain, comes an opportunity for growth and rebirth. LÉA THE LEOX takes a lighter approach on “Topanga Blues” which showcases brighter sounds with space for LÉA’s vocals to flourish. The song captures the journey of transitioning from one’s past self to the future. “Topanga Blues” is set against the backdrop of moving from the East Coast to the West Coast. The physical journey is prominent, but not enough to overshadow the spiritual journey within. LÉA THE LEOX finds herself searching for inner peace through change, balancing her yearning for the past with acknowledgement of the need to face challenges ahead. The guitar and drums in the song’s production is meant to resemble the transcontinental railroad, adding a sense of wanderlust to LÉA’s take on Americana. The build ups and smooth transitions make this track a favorite for sure.
The interlude “Quiet” delivers a soft and youthful undertone, to an otherwise mature and deep project. The track serves as a poignant and emotionally charged flashback to LÉA THE LEOX’s younger self. The song features stripped-down instrumentals with only campfire effects and an acoustic guitar left, favoring LÉA’s extensive vocal range along with further vocal manipulation. LÉA THE LEOX sits center stage in this song, allowing her to transport listeners back in time. The simplistic sound creates a more genuine connection between artist and fan. The tone and warmth masks the power of the lyrics in which LÉA delves into her inability to communicate clearly, often settling into silence rather than risk being further misunderstood. The short and sweet track offers listeners an opportunity to connect with their own inner child and reflect on how they can grow from their own insecurities. “Quiet” serves as the perfect bridge to the next track.
“Over Again” touches on love and toxicity, paying homage to R&B and delving into more mature topics. The emotional balance between the song’s production, energy, and vocals makes “Over Again” memorable. In this song, LÉA THE LEOX explores a relationship in which both parties weren’t what the other needed. The heartfelt lyrics show LÉA taking accountability for her own flaws, expressing her vulnerability and honesty once again. LÉA THE LEOX is quickly developing the right reputation, enhancing her sound with deep introspection. Drawing inspiration from We Are KING, H.E.R., and Tianna Major9, the juxtaposition of vulnerable lyrics and exotic grooves makes for a powerful combination. The cyclical nature of this toxic relationship is highlighted in the a cappella outro, where LÉA realizes that everything is in fact, over again.
Picking up the pace this time, “Unspoken” is LÉA THE LEOX’s take on folk-pop. The energetic cadence of the beat contrasts nicely with LÉA’s soft and paced vocals. Filled with harmony and a simple guitar backdrop, “Unspoken” is an example of excellence in simplicity. In it, LÉA reflects on the many things that were left unsaid, and the struggle to reconcile her actions with her true intentions. Upon the realization that sometimes closure isn’t always as easily attainable as one would like, the word “anyway” echoes throughout the track pulling LÉA and the listener back to the present moment. “Overall, ’Unspoken’ is a powerful reminder that sometimes, in order to move forward, we need to take a step back and reflect on our past experiences.” Now with the song that brings this project to a close, LÉA THE LEOX delivers a track that is not only sonically amazing but has also built up her buzz is recent months. The over all-encompassing theme of the song is all bout the topic of purpose and like the first line of the song says “Just wanna be here in this moment.” LÉA expands on her vulnerability and lets fans into her mind and soul. The prosody continues when the background vocals enter in the chorus, giving the feeling that the voice of her loved ones are supporting her. “Purpose” focuses on LÉA as the subject of its story. After an emotional string interlude, LÉA THE LEOX sees herself surrendering ownership of the narrative and sings directly to the listener in a captivating performance. LÉA states “this song is fueled by the love I get from my family” as she sings “My daddy thinks I’m perfect. My friends think I deserve the world. My mother says I’m worth it. I’m just tryna find my purpose.”
The “PURPOSE” EP is one for the books and we’ll be looking back at it throughout the year. LÉA THE LEOX seems to have discovered her sound along with knowledge and wisdom. As the narrative ends, LÉA finds that while looking for closure about her past, she found herself. The EP serves its purpose (no pun intended) of self-reflection in the form of music. The project has allowed us a glimpse into LÉA’s life as she continues on this amazing journey. We will forever be big fans of LÉA and look forward to what the future holds.