Leire

13th May 2021

Photography: Owen James Vincent

Words: Amy Bell

Leire is a musician from a Basque's fisherman town. She grew up listening to country music which helped her shape her current sound. Her career started when she was busking on the streets of Leicester Square where she suddenly got to share a stage with big artists such as Rag'n'Bone Man , Tom Walker, Travis and Jake Bugg.

After releasing 3 singles that got over 64,000 streams on Spotify and gathering support from Spotify Editorial Playlists, Leire has released her debut EP 'Me, You, This World'. Each track explores a specific and current social issue. We got to talk to Leire about the new EP, about being on stage with big names and what the future holds for her.

Congrats on your new EP ‘Me, You, This World’ which was released 30th April, what was the feedback to the new EP like?

Very positive. Three of the songs, 'What We've Got', 'Box Of Chesterfield' and 'Waterfall' we're already released and the EP came out with one more song called 'In Ten Years Time'

What was the inspiration behind the songs on the new EP? 

I had this project in mind, I wanted to write songs that talk about social issues. We're so used to listening to love songs and break up songs and I'm a huge fan. But I had this moment in my life where I wanted to focus on writing songs that could make the difference, songs that I could be proud of when I'm old. And so during the last 2 years I've been writing about different topics that I was feeling strongly about. Superficiality, social media, sexual assault, anxiety, drug addiction, inequality... I wrote lots of different songs. Then I chose 4 that I felt confident with. 'What We've Got' is about the pandemic, 'Box Of Chesterfield' is about anxiety and addiction. 'Waterfall' is about inequality and 'In Ten Years Time' about climate change. 

How long did it take you to write and record ‘Me, You, This World’

I guess about 2 years. The pandemic also delayed things. But the truth is I started writing this EP back at uni, when I was studying a Master's Degree in Songwriting. 'Box Of Chesterfield' and 'In Ten Years Time' were born there, as part of my final Repertoire Project. Then the pandemic happened and I wrote 'What We've Got' and released it straight away. That's when I knew it was time to put out the EP.

The last song on the new EP ‘In Ten Years Time’ has a message behind climate change, as an important subject at the moment, why did you think it was important to include a song about climate change? 

London inspires people. If there's going to be a demonstration, London is probably included on the list. So when I wrote this song there were lots of demonstrations related to climate change and I was talking to a lot of people about it. I was absorbing information. There was this article that said that if we don’t do anything about it, in ten years time the damage will be irreversible. But I didn’t want to write a very straight forward song, so I decided to write a break up song, where my lover is ‘the Earth’.  

You were busking in Leicester Square which led you to sharing the stage with people like Tom Walker, Rag N Bone man, Jake Bugg and Travis, how did you build up a big following from busking? 

Busking is probably the best thing that happened to me since I moved to London. I would have never imagined that I would end up doing that full time, and it turns out to be the best job I could have ever had. I get to play in front of people, test them with songs and see the reaction. I get to practise everyday and people follow me on social media, send me videos, approach me to congratulate me. It’s so fulfilling. You can make someone’s day better, you can make their days, you make them happy, that’s just priceless. 

What was it like sharing the stage with the likes of them artists? 

I got offered to sing a couple of songs, sharing the stage with all of these artists and it was so surreal. I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Trafalgar Square, with Helen Mirren offering me some fruit and asking me if I was hungry. I was very nervous, but I had to get it done and so it wasn’t until later on that I really thought about what happened. 

When did you realise you had a talent for singing and that you wanted to pursue it? 

I can’t really remember. I know it was as a kid. I know I wanted to be a singer. I don’t have anyone in my family who is a musician or singer, so I don’t really know where it came from. But I sang, and I sang, and then I started to play the piano and the guitar. When I was 13 I started writing songs and all the ideas in my head started to develop. 

Who were your inspirations when you began to sing and write your songs? 

I guess there are 2 main bands/artists. One of them is a basque band called Ken Zazpi. Later on when I could understand some English I started to listen to Taylor Swift. Those were my 2 main inspirations and you can definitely still hear influences from them in my melodies. 

After the release of this new EP, what are your future endeavours looking like?

Well, my idea is to constantly release music. I want to make music everyday of my life and be able to make a living out of it. I’m already thinking about my next project, it’s going to be another EP, this time very personal, about my issues in a romantic relationship. I’m currently working on demos and writing a lot and hopefully the EP will be ready to go by the end of the year. In the meantime I’m going to put out some of my busking covers, in an acoustic format.  

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