The Congo-born singer/songwriter, and all around artist, Lenay, has been honing her craft for years. You may recognize her from her stint as the host of MTV’s 10 on Top, but what you might not remember is that she is credited with producing MTV’s mini-series Sleepover. The multi-talented artist is also working on a secret comic book series that is still in development.
But while we wait patiently for her other projects, Lenay has, again, stepped out into the spotlight by releasing her debut single, “La La Land” featuring rapper Zara Bash. Thankfully, the well-traveled musician took a few minutes to chat with us about her new song and much more! We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did and we are so honored to introduce you to Lenay!
Lemonade Magazine: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Lenay! How is it going?
Lenay: It’s going well! I’m currently in a music studio in Nashville right now, writing some new songs!
LM: Well, that is exciting! So you just released your first single, “La La Land” and it is fantastic! Tell us a little a bit about the single and your songwriting process.
Lenay: Thank you, I’m so glad you like it! I’m sooo excited about it! It basically tells the story of when I moved to LA. I drove 30 hours with my boyfriend from Minnesota to LA and broke down in Utah, then drove through the night. The first thing we did was stop by to see the Hollywood sign before we went to our Airbnb, but we didn’t realize it wasn’t lit up at night, so it was hard to see and kind of funny.
I was also inspired by the fact that everything, especially LA, is super built up and glamorized, but things like the broken, dirty stars on the Walk of Fame aren’t shown or talked about. I think there is beauty in the imperfections, and maybe a tad bit of amusement too. *laughs* Hey, that’s a cool quote I think I just invented. Sweet!
LM: I can see that line sneaking into a new song! You have lived an international life. Born in Congo, raised in Minnesota and lived in Santiago, Chile and now in LA. How have these experiences influenced your music?
Lenay: I definitely grew up loving language and music from other cultures! Every time we traveled when I was little, one of the things we did was stop by local, non touristy stores and ask people who worked there, who their favorite artist was, or what music was popular locally. Found some really cool music that way! Like ‘Fey’ from Mexico, or ‘three plus’ from Hawaii.
LM: I have to remember to do that the next time I travel. That is an amazing idea! In addition to releasing your new music. You have a comic book series coming out soon too! Could you tell us a bit about that project?
Lenay: Yes!! I was in the elevator last week and a lady stared at me for a bit before saying, “Hi! You look like a cartoon!” I laughed and was like, “Thanks!?”
Anyway, it was good vibes and I actually kind of took it as a compliment because I like cartoons. And now I get to be one in this comic, so yay! *laughs* I think my elevator story accurately answers your question about what’s in the comic. Just kidding – but I can’t tell you yet, it’s top secret US Government (and some parts of Japan) material. I just had a Red Bull.
LM: Haha! We don’t want to upset the political balance over a comic book! Between creating music, penning a comic book series and a bevy of other creative ventures like your Fanhero app. How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Lenay: A calendar and a lot of to-do lists! I love organizational apps and to-do lists. I can have my same to-do list on 5 different apps and 5 handwritten notebooks which is a bit counter-productive at times but it’s a fun way to remind myself everywhere I look what I need to do next! And then some days I crash, go MIA and watch Netflix all day.
LM: There is nothing wrong with taking a mental health day and watching Netflix! Now that you have released “La La Land” to the world. When should we expect to see your debut album?
Lenay: Ever since I arrived in LA, I’ve been hearing everywhere that “it’s a singles market”, meaning releasing singles right now and not albums might be the way to go. So I have no idea if I’m going to clump songs together and call it an album – so delicately put! *laughs* Or just release them one by one, which sounds so much more fun to me right now because I can create themes/merch/photoshoots/branding/vibes around each one and get super creative with it.
LM: Go for it! I think that sounds like a wonderful concept and we cannot wait for more. Thank you again! It has been an absolutely pleasure, Lenay! Congratulations on a stunning single!
Lenay: No, thank YOU!
Check out the brand new single, “La La Land” by Lenay featuring Zara Bash on Spotify below and purchase it: HERE.
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