A couple of months ago we shared this incredible sultry RnB pop artist. named Leonell and her single "Never Enough". We were so taken by her vocals and her vulnerable storytelling that we HAD to chat with her and learn more about her and this song.
Read the interview below!
Unheard Gems: Welcome Leonelle to Unheard Gems! How are you doing today?
Leonelle: Hello! Lovely to connect with you. I’m well.
Unheard Gems: For our readers who don’t know you yet can you give us a glimpse into your musical origin story, how did your music come to be?
Leonelle: Music has always magnetized me. Ever since I was a little girl, I felt very connected to it and knew on a soul level it would be my path. I moved to LA from Ohio right out of high school after going to the Miami University orientation and just felt so entirely out of place – I locked myself in the dorm room (somehow I got one to myself while everyone else was paired up - which would happen to me lol) the whole time recording myself on garage band. It’s been a rollercoasting journey ever since, but I wouldn’t change any of it. My first album, that Never Enough is off of, ‘As I Am’ has felt like the first time I’ve truly been aligned and embodied my authentic voice as an artist.
Unheard Gems: Congratulations on your new song, “Never Enough”! What inspired you to write it?
Leonelle: Thank you! I’m so happy it’s out. It was originally inspired by a friend who at the time who was going through this push & pull type of relationship. I find people & relationships so fascinating - that consistent mirror. That we, in ways, attract people who carry similar traumas/etc. It always seems like they embody the healing we still have yet to do or be free of.
Unheard Gems: What does this song mean to you and how does it feel to have it out in the world?
Leonelle: It feels like a shout out to anyone in a relationship where they’re sacrificing their truth. I hope they gain some comfort, clarity and know they’re not alone. Never Enough has always felt like my #1 baby off the project. Moving through relationships, especially romantic, has allowed me to blossom in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’m very grateful for them even though they brought me a lot of sleepless nights.
Unheard Gems: Which line from "Never Enough," do you hope listener's take away when listening?
Leonelle: “I know why I attract you, you’re the mirror in my room” + “childhood triggers, her daddy missin” + “don’t wanna love myself again, it’s never enough”
Unheard Gems: The visuals for this song are stunning, what was your favorite part of the music video to film?
Leonelle: Thank you! My fav part was being lifted into the air. There was a stuntman that assisted and it was just different & felt exciting. He told me I was wearing the same harness that’s used in action movies and I just loved that.
Unheard Gems: Your music comes from such an emotionally raw place. We were wondering what advice you might have for people who are in relationships where they feel like their partner isn't doing enough?
Leonelle: I love this question. It all depends on the situation but generally speaking & what has worked for me is to first get honest - looking at my part (for ex: are you accepting unacceptable behavior? Are you being manipulative? Are you relying on this person to fix your problems? Etc, etc.), getting clear with what’s really going on. I like to write out a “fact list” once I’ve journaled my emotions out. Writing until things become clear has been a game-changer for me. Take the time you need. Once you’ve gotten clarity on your own and say you need to communicate with them your needs/boundaries or whatever it is, I would try to bring it up in a way that doesn’t point the figure at the other person (so staying “I” focused – such a note to self ha) and then let go of the outcome. Then you’ll have gained more information on this person via how they react/move forward. People show themselves if you let them & then it’s up to us to feel out what we want and don’t want.
Unheard Gems: What about your upcoming music and projects, what can you tell us about what is next for you?
Leonelle: The next song I’m releasing off the project is called ‘Human Condition.’ Very excited for this one. I believe the entirety of ‘As I Am’ is next!
Unheard Gems: I would love to know if you have any advice for other emerging artists these days, if you could have received advice starting out what do you wish you were told or knew? You’ve been releasing music since 2016, what has kept you creating and sharing your stories in song?
Leonelle: I would say – You have everything you need inside you, looking out for the answers is just a temporary distraction. You are a true artist. Just keep experimenting and know that the low times are actually vital and shape your truth and authenticity. They are shaped into wisdom so go “fuck up,” be messy and remember to have fun.
What has kept me sharing & creating is the inner knowing that music is my calling, the main container in which I get to be of service to others and to be in my purpose. There is no other feeling like creating a song for me.
Unheard Gems: I would love to know if you have any advice for other emerging artists these days, if you could have received advice starting out what do you wish you were told or knew?
Leonelle: I would say to not being afraid to use tunnel vision. When I just focus on me and things that light me up like my art, that’s when I’m in flow & feel most inspired/ confident. When I’m focusing on what others are doing I can get in my head and second guess myself.
Unheard Gems: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music, and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions?
Leonelle: All platforms/ socials are under iamleonelle! If anyone has any requests or questions, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to reach out IG or Tik Tok.
Interview by Hannah Schneider