A couple month or so ago we shared a video from an artist named Leslie Laine. The video was her cover of Kodaline’s “All I Want” and dare I say, it is as good, if not better than the original. Thankfully I was able to get in touch with the lovely, talented, multi-instrumental Leslie Laine and she was gracious enough to take some time to chat with me over Skype about her work in music, as well as her newest project, Dear Ears.
Brandon: So you’re a little bit different from other artists I’ve interviewed Leslie. There isn’t a lot about you online besides your social media accounts. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Leslie: Yeah, I actually built up my following on Vine. It’s sad because today it was announced that Vine would be shutting down.
B: I was just going to say…
L: Oh my gosh! And I haven’t really been able to process it because I just got home from work. I saw it in a text message right after work, before I was getting ready to do some after work activities. I actually started to tear up. It’s so sad.
B: It’s interesting because we’ve seen some really talented artists build up a fan base off of six second videos. Many artists have gotten their start lately off of Vine or have even resurrected their careers.
L: Right and it was kicking for a while. I was getting a lot of ad deals, it was really doing great. Like I said, it’s just sad. I my two band-mates on Vine and we’re in this band called Dear Ears. We got together because of Vine, so that’s why I have this emotional connection to it.
B: Although I had been a fan of your Vines for a while, it was your cover of Kodaline’s “All I Want” that really stood out to me. I love that song, I play that song, I just love it…
L: It’s one of my favorites too….
B: …I loved your version so much, so tell me a little bit about how social media has given you the ability to re-imagine some of these songs that aren’t necessarily Top 40.
L: I am a classically trained pianist, I have studied piano since I was in 2nd grade and studied it all through college. I actually studied music education at Michigan State University and I just recently got my masters in music education, so that’s exciting! I studied piano mostly and it was all classical music I focused on. It wasn’t until – I wanna say – my fourth year in teaching when I just needed an outlet and classical music just wasn’t satisfying that for me. I turned to Vine and I thought “this could be a kind of fun place to do music for fun” even though it was just six seconds, it was easy. Well I guess some Vines took me hours to record *laughs*, but you get the idea. Gotta get the right angle *laughs again*. It just provided a really great outlet for me to express myself musically in a non-teaching way.
B: Let’s talk a little bit about Dear Ears. I know you mentioned meeting through Vine, tell us a little more about the band.
L: Yes we did. We met a year ago in June and we made our EP together within like, two weeks. It wasn’t very highly produced, it was just kind of an in home studio recording sort of thing and it’s on bandcamp.com. Now we’ve been working on our album since December and our producer is Ian Edgerly who is also from Vine. It’s been taking longer than we would want it to, but we’re hoping to get it out before this December, because December would be the year mark. We are sort of an indie-pop folk band, it’s just the three of us girls (Whitney Galaher and Ashley Armstrong as well), but Ian has been adding some extra instruments into the songs as well. We have about 13 songs on the album I think.
B: That seems to be the style of music people are connecting to right now as well. I was at Bumbershoot in Seattle this year and there are plenty of people who want the EDM style music, but there also seems to be a large crowd that wants music that focuses a little more on lyrics.
L: I am! I teach kindergarten, which is funny because people are like “what do you teach kids that age” and it’s great because you learn music similar to how you learn a language. I sing to them all day, we sing, we do patterns, we’re improvising and creating patterns, playing instruments. It’s great. Definitely challenging, definitely more challenging than you’d think.
B: You’re from Michigan which is kind of cool since another one of our favorite artists here at Lemonade (Olivia Millerschin) is also from Michigan…
L: Woohoo, the “Mitten State”!
B: What has life been like in the “Mitten State”? Do you play a lot of venues there?
L: That’s something I would like to do more. Currently I am just kind of creating music for the album and we’re still editing that. I got to perform like two times over the summer, which isn’t a whole lot and then our band performed in New York also over the summer which was really fun. It’s something I would like to do more of, I just need to find the time.
B: Are you hoping now with the album coming out soon that Dear Ears will tour the country?
L: Actually we’re hoping to go on tour this summer! I finished my Masters last summer, so I don’t have to worry about classes anymore. I am hoping we can do some touring, because I really want to.
B: Well hopefully we’ll see you up here in Washington, we love our indie pop.
L: My best friend from grade school actually lives in Seattle.
B: Oh cool.
L: Yeah so I have connections *laughs*. I was actually over there for her wedding and we hiked Mt. Rainier, it was really nice.
B: Nice, that’s the best part of living here. This year has had a little bit of everything music-wise. What has caught your attention?
L: I don’t have time to listen *laughs*, which is so sad! I will go on Spotify though and groove to the Indie Pop playlist. Sufjan Stevens as well, I am always listening to him no matter what.
B: What is your favorite song to cover?
L: I love covering – well honestly Kodaline, that song is my favorite – I really enjoy covering Coldplay and Sufjan Stevens songs as well. I like Death Cab For Cutie also.
B: Believe it or not, they went to school in the town I live in (Bellingham).
L: Nice, nice! I am a Death Cab fan, big time.
L: Oooooh, probably…
B: I know it’s still sort of a recent wound, but with Vine on its way out, where will you be headed to on social media?
L: I’ve been really active on Instagram actually. I am going to try to start building a following on Instagram. I am going to try to post more on Facebook as well. I will be on Snapchat too! I am going to try and hit them all up.
B: As a final question, you mentioned the vibe Dear Ears is going for, but what can listeners expect from the upcoming album?
L: Expect a lot of variety, because all three of us each wrote four songs for it. We all have our own personal styles within the album, which is interesting, it’s an interesting dynamic. I personally write more slow songs I find, Whitney writes more punk sounding songs, so there is definitely a mixture, but we’re also making it cohesive through instrumentation. Ashley’s lyrics often have a double meaning as well, which is really cool.
Also make sure to check out the brand new music video from Dear Ears down below!
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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