Today on our Hot Seat we have Mr. Leon, a very talented up and coming artist. He has been attached to music since a very young age. And the time has polished him into a highly skilled musician. Let’s have a chat with him.
Twist Online : Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Mr. Leon : Well hey, I’m Josh! Most people know me as Mr. Leon. I am 22 and currently enrolled at Berklee College of Music. I was born and raised from Raleigh, NC, but now I’m living in the mountains in my homestate recording my debut LP! I started writing and recording constantly since I was about 13 or 14 years old and have never let this passion go from my heart!
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to get into music at a very young age?
Mr. Leon : I had a father who went to Woodstock and as a child played various types of music from Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd to The Beatles, Santana and Steve Winwood for starters. My first concert ever that I can remember going to is Sting, my favorite might have been Coldplay or Shabazz Palaces, but the most inspiring was easily Santana or Dave Matthews! I’m jealous I’ll never get to see Jimi Hendrix. From 6th to 8th grade however, I played in my middle school band as a percussionist which kick-started me to continue music down my own path following a rhythm and beat that felt right for me to flourish from.
Twist Online : You started to perform at various places and venues since you were 17, was it a tough task at such a young age?
Mr. Leon : No, I wouldn’t say it was a tough task more so a journey of experience and networking to open other gates or fields to cross paths in making shows happen even becoming lifelong friends with people. When you travel long distances when your unknown it blows minds that there are some willing to put in such a grind and dedication to there art on limited finances (helped me learn how to budget properly). It honestly made me mature and grow as an artist to begin learning the ins and outs of the business as well as giving me the feel of how life on the road is.
Twist Online : Our readers would like to know about your recent release?
Mr. Leon : On November 8th 2016 I released a single called “Run this Country” on all digital platforms itunes/apple music, spotify, google play, amazon etc. It had some real grit I felt I was missing and lacking for awhile which propelled the emotion needed to uplift the track with the instrumentation, especially the horns and backing vocals to my own voice. As it was election day I was speaking my mind in the verse invoking thought, delivering a raw hard hitting message to spark change as well as making it catchy/appealing to a larger crowd then just my usual conscious rap routine. It can be found on soundcloud with a buy link too
Twist Online :Are you working on any new projects?
Mr. Leon : Yes, many! I plan to follow up “Run this Country” with a freebie mixtape called “Rebels at War with a group I’m in called 5 Points Mafia. It is more of a gem we are letting go of after 4 or so years of recording it so it is special to us and a symbol of moving forward to the future. After that maybe 1 more single then a side project called “The Curse of Leon” before I think about releasing the debut LP which is called “Vision & Soul”. I am still currently recording the LP at the moment though! It has been a fun and challenging album for myself as I am pushing myself to new levels and heights. The diversity within the sound of the music is a different scope allowing me to find a wider range of
notes singing wise comparably to the cadences or flows I rap with.
Twist Online : Are you influenced by any particular music genre?
Mr. Leon : Not one in particularly, but I do try and fuse a lot of different sounds together. Some of my favorite genres are probably jazz or funk, but I also hear and feel a lot of blues, soul and alternative in my music.
Twist Online : Have you set some goals to achieve as a music artist?
Mr. Leon : I have so many to count it is ridiculous! I want a degree without a doubt. In the long term I would like to own my night lounge, a thriving record label and recording studio! The short term is to keep promoting/marketing myself to the right audience and begin playing out more again as I finish up the recording process of the LP. A personal goal is to print “Vision & Soul” up on vinyl then even produce a soundtrack to an anime. I’d also like to start some kind of charity involving music which I do have a few ideas for right now.
Twist Online : Are you active on social media? What’s the best way to follow you online?
Mr. Leon : I’m fairly active as I try to balance school, recording, my daily job and traveling around. Since I am a do it yourself type of person building a supportive team around me has been crucial and an ongoing process thus far in my young career. The best way to follow me online with that said is @JLeonMusic on Twitter/Insta/Snap. I’m currently fixing up my youtube account which can also be found under JLeonMusic. My personal website is under remodeling and down at the moment, but in the meantime you can find all of my discography on jleon.bandcamp.com