EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MULTI-TALENTED SINGER/ SONGWRITER LEAIR
POSTED OCT. 15TH, 2017 | BY MICHAELA P. SHELTON
Leair ,27, is an artist, songwriter, composer and producer who currently resides in Oakland, CA. He took the time to chat with CSUITEMUSIC Managing Editor Michaela Shelton.
How long have you been making music and how did you get into the industry?
I have been making music since 2007 which was 10 years ago. I got into it because in high school I'd get in trouble for listening to music in my head phones and then one day I walked by the music class and I heard my friend playing Diary by Alicia Keys and I was like yo that sounds ill . After that happened, I learned how to make music. Singing and playing instruments, that wasn't even on my radar yet, I just knew i wanted to make music.
Once I decided I wanted to sing, I purchased the Singing Success Kit online for $200. Everybody thought it was a scam until I was hitting Maxwell notes and everyone was like how Sway? *Laughs*
Your first EP the Musician Next Door was released last year. Tell us about it's conception and what kind of tracks listeners can expect.
Well the EP was created, because people in the Bay Area knew I was in the music scene but I was under the radar and no one knew how much I was into it behind closed doors.
Every song is diverse and different from the last one. I produced the whole thing, played most of the instruments and wrote all the songs. The cover was to show that I have no gimmicky attire and that next door you'll find out that your neighbor is a musician who loves his arts and appreciates his arts *Smiles*. I picked this title, because people know me in traffic but they don’t know I'm a musician.
What inspired your song I've Changed? It is by far my favorite song on the EP.
How I grew up was a lot different than my life now. I was always a good dude, but I would get into trouble, because of my environment at times. So I made the song to share with everyone don't be afraid to change as a person, you can grow up it's okay. It's an empowerment song I wrote it for myself and anyone else so they know don't be afraid, you gotta level up in life eventually. It's me and I'm embracing who I am, who I am becoming and I'm loving ever step of it. I also made it, because people see the positive life but they don't understand everything I went through to get here.
Your music video for "Earth" is very simple, but still very expressive and communicative. What was your vision for this music video?
I wanted to project a message similiar to how it is when people will take someone through Oakland to the hunnids, the east, the west telling them don't go down this street it goes down.The people in the video are travelers and I'm singing to them about the area relating to how the world can get as a whole. There's also another projection; I'm hanging out with some friends and they're travelers and I'm not even aware that they aren't from this planet. My vision was to match the video with the story telling of the song *Smiles*. Shout out to my boy TK, he's a talented videographer.
Have you released any other projects since your first EP The Musician of the Earth? If so can you tell us about them?
My latest single I released was Moonrise, but since then I haven't released a big project. There's been studio issues and I'm currently looking for a studio I can call home. I am looking to be able to do it myself and not have to rely on a studio. because there's been times my music hasn't sounded right after a studio session and I'm not going to release it if it doesn't sound right.
We would love to know as an artist, what are your views on the popular music today?
Umm *Laughs* I'm gonna keep it 100, I don't really vibe with popular music. I feel like it isn't real or relating to people's common stories or struggles. It's the same narrative and everyone sounds the same and tries to ride peoples' waves. Popular music is numbing, the beats are clean, but there's no substance.
With that being said, where do you see your career in 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself really doing it [music] as my passion and traveling to other countries, because that's one thing I really want to do connect R&B and soul. I feel like it's so much bigger than where I'm at.
I see myself having music as a real career, hustling and being in love with it. Also not just being an artist, but behind the scenes writing for people and writing scores for films and commercials. There are so many other outlets to make money that people don't look into. That way, if my music ever gets whack or I lose my voice *Laughs*, I'll still get my residuals. Ultimately,I want to be successful and go wherever I'm leaded on this musical journey :).
We see that you play the guitar. How did you learn to play the guitar?And can you play any other instruments?
So the guitar and piano I learned in high school from taking basic classes and at home I'd try to play like Alicia Keys and research other artists. I wasn't like learning to play Mary Had a Little Lamb *Laughs*, I didn't want to play what the teacher wanted to teach .
I learned how to play the guitar by ear and with techniques the class didn't teach. I took it upon myself to learn more. There's also a secret instrument I learned how to play I ain't came out the cuts with yet *Laughs*. And I also consider my voice as an instrument.
What artists inspire you? If you could get one artist featured on a track, what artist would it be?
Of course for story telling and the aspect of being yourself Tupac, because I relate to him a lot. Also, Stevie Wonder, Lyfe Jennings, Alicia Keys, Musiq Soulchild, Tony!Toni!Tone', John Legend, those are my foundation of artists that inspired me.
That is a hard question only one artist... that's a hard question to answer, because my music touches on certain messages and certain feelings and I'd want to use certain artists for certain types of music so I can't pick, I plead the fifth *Laughs*.
What advice do you have for talented young artists who don't know where to start?
I'd say it's the information age. Research everything, that's how I learned to do everything. I learned to sing by researching, I didn't grow up singing. Google step one and go from there.
Lastly what are you currently working on? Any EPs, albums or upcoming performances for our readers to look forward to?
I'm working on new songs and there's a private show for breast cancer awareness I did this past Saturday. But I definitely have some new music coming soon. I ultimately want to make music that people feel and can relate to, that tell narratives and approach song topics in different angles and perspectives.