INTERVIEW – Canadian musician Leanna Oki just released her brand new single, Sink, and the video for this single debuted Friday, April 9th!
NEW Video for the newly released single SINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27b-EHq5URo
From the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, Leanna Oki is an indie singer-songwriter who has gravitated towards music from an early age. After picking up the guitar in her freshman year of University, she had the compelling inclination to start writing her own songs. From that point on, she has been continuously performing for 5 years at local events to build her craft and stage presence as an artist and performer. Creating music has evolved into her form of self-expression and therapy, serving as a way to release her inexplicable feelings and experiences. Her voice has been described as sharing similar deep and rich tones with Adele and Phoebe Bridgers, while still maintaining her unique vocal presence. Drawing inspiration from the emotionally freeing pop music of Maggie Rogers and the moody resonance of Banks and Lorde, she aspires to be another prominent female musician that uses passion and pain to propel herself as an artist. Through the fusion of alternative pop, R&B, and electronic dance elements, she derives her signature music style. She utilizes the strong projection of her voice, hard-hitting basslines, and an abundance of vocal layers to create the bold and rich sound in her music. Since 2018, she has been working in the studio to record her own hand-written tracks and continues to create music that narrates her journey of heartbreak and healing throughout her young-adult life. She released her debut single “HEISENBERG” in August 2020, which was inspired by the main character from the hit show Breaking Bad. Here is a teaser sample of Heisenberg – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyH2TFJ-xp
DEB: Q. 1 Leanna, you entered the entertainment industry at a young age. How old were you when you 1st started out? Also, do you recall that magical moment when you personally realized that acting, singing, and songwriting were going to be a huge part of your life? LEANNA: ” I started acting when I was 11 yrs old, but I have gravitated towards drama and music for as long as I can remember. I used to be a lot more involved with acting during my childhood and teenage years, but music totally took over my life during my freshman year of university when I picked up the guitar and started writing my own songs. The process happened so naturally, and I knew from that point on that making music was going to be a main passion of mine.“
The up-and-coming artist blends R&B, soul, and pop flawlessly to create her unique and captivating sound. Finding her emotional outlet in music, Leanna uses songwriting and song creation to express feelings she otherwise has trouble communicating. Using the metaphor of water, Leanna’s lyrics and musical arrangement on Sink express her experience feeling like she, herself was trapped underwater during a particularly challenging time in her life. The recent University of Toronto graduate is immensely creative and well versed in music writing, production, and operating almost completely independently to create her music until it nears the very final stages. Drawing inspiration for Sink from personal struggles.
“The song is centered around the imagery of sinking into the sea as a metaphor for giving into my internal conflict. I was compelled to write this song as a way to express my feelings of numbness and pain that I couldn’t put into words. I believe that a lot of people can relate to this feeling, so I hope this song can connect with others going through any sort of personal struggle and help them feel more understood,” states Leanna Oki.
Leanna leaned on songwriting as a way to express what she was feeling when she felt otherwise unable to communicate her emotions. She found the metaphor of sinking underwater to be particularly inspiring, as she felt it was an accurate way to describe the emotions she was feeling at that time. DEB: Q. 2. Tell us all about your songwriting process and how your single, Sink, came to be? LEANNA: “I decided to write Sink to express my inexplicable feelings during a difficult time in my life, which I thought could be best expressed by using the metaphor of sinking underwater. While I was writing this song, I imagined myself being alone by the water and calling out to the sea as a cry for help. I started singing along to a simple piano melody I created, and the lyrics began to flow very quickly.“
Recorded at Toronto’s Sandbox Studios and co-produced by KR Moore, Sink has a water-like flow and features both Leanna’s songwriting talent and vocal stylings. The song features beautiful, intricate harmonies that showcase not only Leanna’s vocal talent but her advanced, self-taught, production abilities as well. https://sandboxstudios.ca
The video for Sink was filmed at Bluffer’s Park Beach in Toronto and is the perfect complement to the song, showing Leanna performing the tune on a snowy beach on a cold, windy, winter’s day. Fulfilling her goal of capturing the aesthetic and emotional essence of the song, Leanna knew the video would need to incorporate water and be somewhat minimalistic to purely convey the various feelings that inspired the lyrics.
“Throughout the video, there are various shots of me singing out to the water and directly at the camera as a call for help. You can see the pain and desperation in my face, which was definitely enhanced by the frigid weather. At the end of the video, there is an underwater backdrop that appears to visually represent the metaphor of sinking into the sea, but it fades away at the end as I stand in silence. I wanted to show that while all of this emotional chaos was going on internally, I still remained unchanged on the outside,” shared Leanna.
Some of the most historical and revered music always plays a deeper role in the transformation of societies. Some consider how their work relates to the current sociopolitical landscape or how the music can address these themes. DEB: Q. 3. Do you think your originals touch on current social or political issues? LEANNA: “Yes, I felt compelled to write a few songs about topics such as racial injustice and social inequality after all the unfortunate events that happened in the world over the past year. It has been quite overwhelming, but writing these songs helped me process and express my feelings about these issues. I haven’t released them yet, but I hope to share them in the near future when I feel the time is right.”
DEB: Q. 4. Who would you say has musically influenced you the most? LEANNA: “That’s a tough one because I’ve drawn inspiration from so many different artists over the years, but I would say Adele has strongly influenced my singing and songwriting. I really resonate with her music and have deeply connected with many of her songs. In fact, the vision for my future EP is definitely inspired by her album 21, as many of my songs are also based on heartbreak and overcoming past relationships.”
Some artists seem reluctant to speak of just how frustrating and baffling the whole experience of navigating the general music realm is, let alone add in Covid-19 and how hard they try to still be ambitious about getting their artwork seen, heard, and or sold. DEB: Q. 5. What are some other ways you’ve chosen lately to engage with your legions of fans, whether that’s within the top echelon of international art circles or based on your involvement with your local community, despite the challenges of trying to bring your art to the new formatted audiences at home thanks to the Corona Virus? LEANNA: “Lately, I have been trying to be more present on social media to share my music journey with my followers and thank everyone who has been supporting me as an artist. It’s a bit challenging to keep it up as I tend to be more of a private person, but I understand the value of maintaining an online presence as an artist, especially during this time. I am also planning to do some live/virtual performances later this year to create a more interactive and engaging experience for my listeners.“
DEB: Q. 6. What does success mean to you? LEANNA: “I would define success as creating music that genuinely connects and resonates with people in some way, whether it helps them feel less alone or more understood. It will also be a huge success for me when I am able to sustain a full-time career as a musician!“
“Leanne’s got a strong ability to describe the emotions of life with her pen as she captures the essential feelings of the human soul. Inside the video for SINK, each scene so richly atmospheric combined with her soft soaring stratospheric vocals, truly hypnotic! I was mesmerized by her angelic voice that soared while she gave life to a compelling narrative that I can totally relate to, instantly. Her sound is deeply rich in passion with a powerful complexity, a true introspective delight,” Deb Draper ~The Wire MEGAzine.
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Thank you Leanna for your time today.